Marketing Effectively to Hispanics Today

hispanic consumers
Companies must consider many factors when marketing to a growing Hispanic consumer market. Source: Google Images

Already making up 18% of the U.S. population, the Hispanic demographic group is expected to more than double in population within the next two generations, according to Nielson. Also, due to an increasing amount of Hispanic college graduates, the household income and buying power of this demographic is growing very quickly. The Selig Center for Economic growth estimates that the Hispanic market will reach $1.7 trillion by 2020, according to a recent Entrepreneur article. Not only is the Hispanic expenditure increasing, but also Hispanic consumers tend to be loyal to the brands they love.

It’s clear that Hispanic consumers create a valuable opportunity for brands to capture a growing, loyal consumer group. In order to do so, marketing to Hispanics must become an integral part of a brand’s marketing strategy – or one on its own. According to the Entrepreneur article, an Ipsos study determined that most third-generation Hispanics crave marketing that is specifically targeted to them – their culture, interests, and preferences.

Many brands are already targeting the Hispanic market, mostly by making marketing content available in the Spanish language. While language is an important factor when marketing to Hispanics, there is much more that must go into effectively reaching a Hispanic audience. While about half of second-generation Hispanics are bilingual, only about 23% of third-generation Hispanics speak Spanish, according to the Entrepreneur article.

With this in mind, Yahoo’s Director of Sales, Matthew Harris, shares three essential strategies for successfully marketing to Hispanic consumers in his article for Entrepreneur.

One of these strategies is using online video, especially for mobile consumption. Hispanics are increasingly watching content online, rather than on the TV, and are even now considered a mobile-first generation. According to the article, 94% of Spanish-dominant Hispanics watch online video at least once a week. When using video as a part of a larger digital content strategy, the language factor can be leveraged. Furthermore, Hispanics like video content that relate to their heritage, even if they are not bilingual.

This brings us to another key element in marketing to Hispanics, according to Mr. Harris: understanding the level of connection that each generation of Hispanic consumers has with its cultural heritage. While most Hispanics feel a connection to their cultural background, the way they connect can vary across generations. More than half of the U.S. Hispanic population is of the Millennial generation – or younger. These third-generation Hispanics are mostly English-dominant, understand the important of goal setting and obtaining a college education, and tend to feel strongly connected to both their American culture and their Hispanic heritage. When marketing to this generation, Mr. Harris says brands should use content that is mostly English and “reinforces the attainability of the ‘American Dream’”. Second-generation Hispanics, on the other hand, feel that they are “caught in between two cultures”. On order to best reach this generation, content should address their specific interests, and show relatable cultural and emotional experiences.

The third strategy that Mr. Harris suggests for marketing to Hispanics is ensuring that your content is relatable and realistic. Brands should focus their content around what being Hispanic is really about, combining the influences of both American culture and traditional Hispanic heritage – and not leaning on solely language. While Mr. Harris says that stereotypes can sometimes be effective, they must be used carefully, as improper use could have adverse effects.

From a marketing management perspective, here are some questions to consider:

  • What are some ways in which effective marketing content might differ for various Hispanic generations?
  • Provide an example of a U.S. company whose marketing targets Hispanics using these key strategies.
  • Do you believe that every brand needs to market specifically to Hispanics? Why or why not?