Understanding The Hispanic Market

Hispanic Marketing 101- chapter 4

Al Vasquez/CEO Hispanic-Image Marketing Network

Let us establish the fact that you are aware the Hispanic buying power by the year 2007 will be $926.1 billion and you understand 50% of the Coachella Valley population is Hispanic. Some Coachella Valley cities are much higher than 50%. Why is it, businesses in general do not actively pursue this market? The majority of Coachella Valley businesses enjoy the benefits of this tremendous buying power through happenstance, not by active solicitation.

Businesses positioned in the midst of Hispanic shopping areas quickly adjust to their needs and capitalize on a constant and growing source of sales. Those further away from Hispanic shopping hubs or too aloof to pay attention are not even aware of the buying vortex in select areas which cater to the Hispanic consumer. Is it any wonder the Commerce Department Census Bureau reported there are now 1.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S.? Hispanics are just beginning to understand their shopping prowess and thinking beyond having a service related business catering to gardening, landscaping and housecleaning. They are now starting in greater numbers to open up retail stores, markets, dress shops and a myriad of other Hispanic directed products.

Consumer Buying Trends Survey, clearly shows Hispanics buying at rates 1.3 to 2.5 times their percentage of the population. This is in part because so many Hispanic households are in their prime household formation years. Almost four fifths of Hispanic households are headed by someone under 35. As a documented example, for every 99 youth bedroom sets purchased by non-Hispanics, Hispanics purchase 254, for every 99 entertainment centers purchased by non-Hispanics, Hispanics purchase 221. With those purchases go accessories and the list goes on and on.

Education about the Hispanic market is obviously the first step to growing your client base. In the previous Hispanic Chamber of Commerce-Coachella Valley article we clarified the need to follow-up any radio or television advertising with minority owned community based print media. Hispanics clearly identify with their trusted source of print content. Advertising directed to the Hispanic market is a multi-facet concept. Radio or television does entice their attention. However, documented studies show if you put the same message in writing, they will be 3.5 times more likely to respond by closing the sale.

Do I reach Hispanics with English, Spanish or both?

Let us put aside the homeland, nation of origin cultural issue among Hispanics for the moment and concentrate primarily on language. First we must understand that the sudden awareness of the explosive Hispanic population is a fairly new phenomenon. There is a compelling lack of knowledge, experience and information about the culture, the language and all the marketing issues relevant to the largest minority group in the United States. The Hispanic market as referenced from Thompson Media, is broken into four separate categories.

Group 1) – The new immigrant: Less than five years in the U.S. with little or no English skills.

Group 2) – The transitional immigrant: Less than 10 years in the U.S. still Spanish dominant, more acclimated and speaks better English.

Group 3) – The acclimated Hispanic: Ten plus years in the U.S.

Group 4) – U.S. born Hispanic, second or third generation.

At a glance we can see that historically, advertisers attempt to serve all these Hispanic groups using conventional means which only coincidentally reaches groups 3 and 4. Groups 1 and 2 are totally underserved. Having media materials only translated to Spanish will not work on groups 1 and 2. The reason for this is; Hispanics in group 1 and 2 lack the basic information about the American systems and are unaware of many terms, procedures or consequences we find common place. This explains why standard advertising does not work on groups 1 and 2. It may sound ironic, but if you do not understand what a W-2 is, do not understand the concept of withholding of taxes, electronic filing is meaningless and April 15 is just another day.

Media directed to the Hispanic market must be in Spanish for group 1 and bi-lingual for groups 2 and 3. Group 4 can be reached in English. La Prensa Hispana with both Spanish and English content reaches all 4 groups. Remember the common denominators, 95% of all Hispanics respond to their parents cultural ancestry and 42% of all Hispanics in the U.S. are not from Mexico. Next week let’s focus on the seven points on selling to the Hispanic market.

Editors note: Al Vasquez is a former National executive Director of LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens, 3 million nationwide members. Producer of the television program Abriendo Puertas en la Comunidad, founder of the International Hispanic Film Festival and CEO of Hispanic-Image Marketing Network, Inc. He writes a weekly column for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce-Coachella Valley and can be reached at alvasquez@aol.com.