Understanding The Hispanic Market

Al Vasquez/CEO Hispanic-Image Marketing Network

Some of us still remember Sophie Tucker. She once said “if you want to make it in show business, get the hell out of Oregon.” You might ask how does this relate to advertising directed to the Hispanic consumer? Simply stated, “If you want to reach the Hispanic audience, get the heck out of the non-Hispanic media;” Relative only to Hispanic advertising of course.

For those in charge of advertising decisions, it is likely you have read up on statistics and have come across research such as the Pew Hispanic Center/Kaiser Family Foundation. Their studies coincide with what I have said in previous articles. By their statistics, 81% percent of all Hispanics prefer the term Hispanic. Also, 90% of American born Hispanics prefer to be called American. This throws many into confusion thinking the 90% can be reached through the mainstream English media.

It is not that easy, Pew Center statistics confirm, 95% of all Hispanics acknowledge they relate to their parents country of origin. Furthermore, contrary to U.S. modus of dealing with aging parents, Hispanics will have elder parents move in with them.

This identification with their parents’ country of origin and long term relationship with their parents ultimately affects the distinctive way Hispanic households respond to advertising.

The Hispanic population in the United States in varying layers of stratification and transition, tends to adopt this countries ideals and adapt to the customs and habits of the population without shedding their long held traditions and family values brought from the homeland. The following quote is from Hispanic Research, “Latinos are assimilating to prevalent U.S. culture, but they are not, and probably never will be, fully assimilated. Instead, theirs is a path of acculturation.”

Where do I advertise?

Let’s explore the real facts about media.

Hispanic Research has shown Hispanics are attracted by every type of media, with a special attraction to television and radio. It gets their attention faster. Most advertisers stop reading after this line. However, the same research shows the air-time used to identify a product or service is typically too brief, too incomplete and ineffective on its own to prompt the Hispanic shopper to “close the sale”.

Television and radio must be used in a combination with print media to prompt and make it possible to close the sale. Peculiar to Hispanics, each medium contributes a portion of the communication story which rounds off the ultimate goal of not only reaching the market, but of most importantly, “Making the sale.”

Print does what radio and television cannot, it gives the customer the name, address, phone number and specifics in writing, which is a very important factor for the Hispanic consumer. Number one, they can find you easier when it is written down for them and number two, they believe it when they see your message in writing. Excerpts from Hispanic Research, “ Minority owned and run newspapers are an inseparable part of the local minority community. They deliver what no mass medium can, news that is specifically geared to the needs and concerns of individual minority communities.

Newspaper readership skews to Adult 34-54 age group with an average Household Income of $40K plus.”

The secret to success for “convincing” Hispanics is, PUT IT IN WRITING!! Hispanic households are 3.5 times more likely to respond with a purchase to a written solicitation than non-Hispanic households. In the next few weeks let’s look at event marketing, direct mail and the ever present question “do I advertise in English or Spanish?

Editors note: Al Vasquez, former National Executive Director of LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens, Washington D.C., 3 million members nationwide, founded Hispanic-Image Marketing Network in Texas and has assisted in forming over 15 Hispanic directed corporations nationwide. He writes articles for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce-Coachella Valley, produces the daily television talk show “Abriendo Puertas en la Comunidad” along with Ana Rascon Vasquez and is a member of the Schwarzenegger transition team. 760-342-2565. alvasquez@aol.com.