The Hispanic population of the United States has been steadily growing over the last few years and is projected to keep growing rapidly. Studies indicate that U.S. Hispanic consumers spend more on a daily basis than do non-Hispanics, with their retail and consumer-packaged-goods purchases projected to amount to $1.5 trillion in 2015. Simply put, Hispanic consumers are a growing and coveted market in the U.S. Below you’ll find some tips for engaging Hispanic consumers.
Consider that Hispanic Consumers are Made up of Many Demographic Sub-Groups
It is all too easy for companies looking to market their products to Hispanics to view these potential customers as part of a single homogeneous demographic group. Consumers who identify as Hispanic or Latino, however, are actually made up of disparate demographic groups based on whether they were born in the U.S. or another country, based on their lineage (e.g., Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, etc.), and based on their language preferences (i.e., Spanish-only, English-only, Spanish and English).
Companies must remember to get in-depth knowledge of the Hispanic audience to whom they choose to pitch a product and market accordingly. Why? Hispanic sub-groups come from many different cultural backgrounds and have different consumption patterns. A message that resonates with one sub-group may fall flat with another. A Nielsen report on Hispanic consumers brings this issue into sharp relief. U.S.-born Hispanics are significantly younger (median age is 18) than foreign-born Hispanics (median age is 40), they hail from smaller households, and earn more than their foreign-born counterparts. While Hispanics as a group lead the mobile charge, the different sub-groups do so in different ways. For example, 78% of foreign-born Hispanics report purchasing an item on a mobile device, compared to 67% of US-born Hispanics. Foreign-born Hispanics are more likely to make a purchase on a tablet, while US-born Hispanics are more likely to make a purchase on a smartphone. Both groups, however, spend more per shopping trip than do non-Hispanic consumers, highlighting the fact that Hispanics as a whole represent a powerful draw for businesses, despite their different consumption patterns by sub-group.
Simple Translation of Your Content May Hinder – Not Help – Generate Business from Hispanic Consumers
1) Do not translate your marketing content verbatim from English to Spanish. Content must be culturally-relevant; it may be necessary to create totally new content for a Hispanic audience – or for multiple Hispanic audiences – that appeals to their customs and preferences. At the least, translated text has to include cultural nuances. Translated content that does not reflect the way individuals act and speak may actually put off potential customers.
2) Translations should be high quality. Do not expect machine-driven translations like those
you get through Google Translate or Babelfish to do the heavy lifting when translating your content from English to Spanish. It is important to use professional human translators in conjunction with such software to make sure the complexity of your content is not lost or mangled.
3) Make sure content aimed at Hispanic consumers can be accessed on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Hispanics are less likely than non-Hispanics to access the Internet via a desktop computer, but more likely than non-Hispanics to access the Internet via a mobile device. Consider developing a Spanish-language mobile application and make sure that your Spanish-language website is responsive, that it displays well on smartphones and other mobile devices.
Bottom line: The opportunities for marketing to Hispanic consumers are vast. Nevertheless, marketing strategies must be respectful of the fact that 1) the Hispanic demographic is made up of distinct sub-groups with different backgrounds and consumption patterns; 2) translated content must be culturally-relevant and nuanced; and 3) Hispanics are leading the mobile charge, so marketing content must be mobile-ready.