Stats Recap from Part I
In 2012, the US had approximately 50 million Hispanics, an increase of almost 50% over 2002. In addition, around 10-11 million more are living here undocumented. One in six US adults is Hispanic and Hispanics have a collective buying power $1.3 trillion annually. Targeting the US Hispanic market can be a stepping stone to a larger global outreach strategy, and is certainly important on its own. And reaching the US Hispanic population can also help you spread to the other 270 million Spanish-speakers worldwide.
How to Reach Them
In decades past, marketing to Hispanics in the US was tackled simply by translating advertising into Spanish. The population was smaller then and it did not have the enormous buying power that it has today. Additionally, the challenge of marketing has been complicated by the rise of the US-born Hispanic who may prefer English materials. Giants like Wal-Mart and PepsiCo have done well in this new arena, using touches of Latino culture in their English ads and acknowledging Hispanics’ traditional culture and immigrant needs in their Spanish campaigns.
Savvy marketers may need to reconfigure their product or service according to the buying motivations of the specific niche they are targeting. Marketers must also understand the need to structure advertising to appeal to the complicated cultural and language traits of the Latino population.
Needless to say, this nuanced approach cannot be met by simply installing a Google Translate button on a website. As experienced veterans will tell you, such Machine Translation (MT) software will make comical and critical mistakes, and is at best only 70-80 percent accurate. Which 30 percent of your message do you want to jeopardize? In addition, any kind of advertising – whether for your website or your brochures – is emphatically not the best usage of MT.
As young, educated and bi-lingual Hispanics have entered the marketing field, businesses interested in reaching this audience should tap into their expertise. Additionally, the importance of using qualified, culturally-adept, professional language localization services cannot be overstated.
An interesting example of a company that has deliberately targeted the Hispanic market is a recent television ad produced for Tide laundry detergent. The ad features a Spanish-speaking “abuela”, or grandmother, who is extolling the virtues of Tide. Her granddaughter pipes in in English, offering a chance for English speakers to hear why her grandmother loves Tide so much. Viewers speaking either language can understand the ad, which also appeals to traditional Latino family roots, the new generation’s assimilation into an English-speaking culture and celebrates diversity within a family environment.
Hispanics in the United States are a presence that can no longer be ignored. They are a growing, young population with tremendous buying power and a history of strong brand loyalty. Businesses that have a long-term vision for their products and services would be wise to take strategic steps to tap into this market – whether for written ads, radio ads, brochures, mobile apps, websites, e-books, DVDs or any other marketing medium. For those with even bigger plans, effectively reaching US Hispanics can be a stepping-stone to the far larger Latin American and European Spanish markets.