Most of our clients in the legal industry market their services to the Hispanic/Latino consumer in the U.S. yet every time they plan an advertising campaign they can’t seem to get a good grasp of how to answer the question on how to drive growth within the Hispanic segment, while balancing advertising budgets – particularly whether their website, flyers, online ads should be in English or Spanish, or both.
Marketing research studies show that the number of Latinos who speak Spanish has decreased in most major U.S. metro areas and companies are tempted to assume “English is enough” when it comes to advertising.
But, it´s absolutely imperative for marketers to understand what it takes to reach such an important customer effectively and start the building of a good strategy.
US Hispanics currently have 1, 7 trillion in purchasing power, a number that´s sure to rise in the years to come.
Introduction to Marketing to the U.S. Hispanic audience
Have you ever heard a description about a Hispanic? What characterizes them in general? Their effusive and passionate way of talk, their good sense of humor, their constant social interrelation, his taste for music, dance, and above all, for communication.
This is an important fact, the Hispanic, seeks and needs a broad communication. To know where he arrives and what surrounds him. It could be called, an excess of curiosity, but it´s actually a typical and common behavior, recognized linguistically as “its roots / culture”. For example, let’s take as a base or reference, the languages. English is usually fast, direct, and precise. On the other hand, Romance languages such as French, Italian, and in this case, Spanish, carry a wider grammatical and stylistic load. It is a search for the exemplification or explanation of what is being said, beyond a general idea.
So, let’s think about a common or perhaps “daily scene”: The supermarket will be close tomorrow from 4 to 5 in the afternoon. Most customers will read the information and go home aware that, at that time, they will not be able to make their purchases. Instead, the Hispanic will look for more explanations, debates, conversations, etc. Therefore, the Hispanic client, is not only looking for an end, a product, a benefit … he wants to connect in some way with that.
How to connect with the Hispanic?
- Speak their Language
First to all, the essential for many is: the language. Recently, I was in a store. There were two lines to pay, one longer than the other. One of the clerks spoke Spanish, but not the other one. Immediately, the Hispanic group that was behind me ran for that row, which unfortunately was the longest.
Language is an essential factor to get this connection with the Hispanic public or customer. There are more than 400 million people whose maternal language is Spanish. It´s the second most spoken language in the world, and the third most studied. Almost 20 countries in the American Continent have Spanish as their official language. And according to the statistics, United States is becoming the country with the most Spanish speakers in the world; more than 41 million people speak Spanish as their maternal language. And it is the most studied in North American´s schools and universities.
Benefits of speaking Spanish language.
There is a slogan that abounds in many offices or establishments: Se habla español, which means: We speak Spanish. That simple phrase immediately attracts that large percentage of people whose official language is Spanish.
Let´s take as a reference, a legal consultation. It could be about family, work, immigration, etc. In any case, the client will feel more comfortable, explaining his point of view in his native language. Therefore, that simple phrase will be “bait” for those Hispanic people.
- Know your audience: Tap into Hispanics’ cultural connections.
It’s not just about speaking Spanish.
Studies show that second and third generation Latinos feel comfortable with both cultures, and since they grew up primarily English-dominant, they prefer to watch media and online searches using English language, often they can go back and forth between English and Spanish and they feel heavily connected to their heritage.
For this group, advertisement in Spanish that reflects their roots and family culture can be the most effective.
“One of the biggest challenges that advertisers face when trying to reach bilingual Latino audiences is figuring out which language to reach them in. Interestingly, research has found that even Spanish-dominant speakers are more likely to use English when conducting searches or consuming content online. More than half of the respondents said that they use English online, even if they generally spoke Spanish at home.1
“Six Facts About the Hispanic Market that May Surprise you”. Morse, Parker. Forbes Agency, 2018.
But, paradoxically, language is not the absolute means of communication or connection. If we think as an example on: the television ads for Spanish speakers. The debates have been around, that these ads have less profit and popularity than those made in English. But, what happens is that very often it´s just a mere translation. In other words, it becomes a “universal” product translated into several languages. On the other hand, if as a marketing strategy, we think of something more than the language to reach a certain audience, we would be facing the solution of the problem. What can it be?
– Life style
With this we attract and identify this group of people. Attraction carries with it an identification process. That will make us access to an approach. For example, music is part of the culture of each country. If a song in Spanish is added to a specific ad, the Hispanic viewer will identify himself, and will even remember the content later. On the other hand, if the ad played a song that is not so well known within the Hispanic culture, with a peculiar rhythm and lyrics, the announcement is going to be easier to forget by them.
Another important point is the idiosyncrasy. Know what characterizes them. In what way do they behave? How they differ from the others? What makes them peculiar and original? With all that, you can draw a very successful marketing strategy.
- Solve a need
Something that is universal in any marketing strategy is that it must uncover creative ways to show how a product solves the customer’s needs. Weather that customer be Hispanic or from any other ethnicity, people buy the thing that will solve their problem.
The identification and connection is of the utmost importance. But what do we call need? It is about the quality or state of being necessary. Each step we make part of a certain need. The need is equal to the search for the solution.
– A problem
– A doubt
– An objective
The customer will always touch the door of your business with a purpose that derives from these three aspects. But, depending on the characteristics or qualities, he will be satisfied, and with that, solved the solution of the problem. The strategies may vary, but the purpose is the same: close the deal. The Spanish speaker will look for a way to feel comfortable with the service that is being offered to, and this, at the beginning, is only promoted by the marketing.
- Capture their interest
Get attention. To forget what is assimilated. Achieve a goal. All this is achieved by having a good object of interest. Here we return to the point of attraction. If something attracts us, it will immediately be an object of interest. We want to
know more. Be part of it. Success depends on the interest that is around what is being done. A work of art can have enormous technical, stylistic, visual qualities, etc. But, if it does not capture the viewer’s interest, it will be doomed to failure. Achieving customer interest is not just about creating a good platform, or a good corporate structure, or an excellent website and social media. The interest is even more in getting attention to something that others do not have. Therefore, if we are assigning a product, a promotion, a company, to the Hispanic market, we must know very well what their interests are.