by Colleen Flood*
Hola, como estan todos? Es un placer de estar aqui. Estan todos disfrutando la conferencia?
This is similiar to how David Henry, founder and president of Telenoticias and co-author of Hispanic Marketing and Public Relations: Understanding and Targeting America’s Largest Minority, started the session “A Sleeping Giant” at the PRSA Counselors Academy Conference, which BurrellesLuce sponsored, this past weekend. Henry switched back to communicating in English and asked if we understood what he had just said. Only one or two hands went up in the group. He then related this to what Hispanics understand when they are marketed to in English.
The current marketplace in the U.S. is comprised of a diverse group. There has been boom over the past few years and by 2050, it is estimated that 30 percent of the population will be Hispanic. This is a population with a purchasing power that is progressing 50 percent faster than non-Hispanic groups. (In fact, BurrellesLuce first began writing about these trends in a 2007 newsletter entitled, “Top Five Tips for Reaching the Growing Hispanic Market.”)
This is the “sleeping giant,” according to Henry, since Hispanics seem to be more of a brand-loyal and relationship-driven community. Even though U.S. Hispanics speak English, in the home many of them are only speaking Spanish and are making buying decisions and vacation choices in a family setting. Henry explained that not enough companies include Hispanic outreach as a core part of their PR and marketing plans. If we are not communicating in Spanish or speaking to their values how are they interpreting what they will purchase?
Henry also insists that Hispanic consumers need to be engaged via online and social media. They are the fastest growing in terms of online usage in the U.S. and to dispel any myths, Henry explained that 82 percent of Hispanics do have computers. Fifty-eight percent of the total Hispanic population is online and 55 percent are using Spanish language sites – this is up 41 percent according to Henry. Companies who engage with Hispanics will have success – social media is perfect for the Hispanic market.
Henry offered some ways to reach Hispanic audiences:
- Adapt to your market. Research the culture and garner an understanding before trying to market it. (This also applies to other consumer groups and niche markets as well.)
- Take a bilingual approach. This will help to send a consistent, effective message.
- Understand core values. The family dynamic plays an important role in purchasing decisions, among other values.
- Get involved in the community. Partner and communicate with Hispanic organizations.
- Employ a fluent Spanish language spokesperson. Some larger agencies even have dedicated teams. Just because you know some Spanish, does not mean you know the Hispanic market or their communication preferences.
How are you marketing en Espanol? What about in other languages or to other non-English speaking groups or niche communities? What are some of your tips for communicating and marketing to an increasing diverse group of influencers and constituents?
*Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce