3 Myths Sabotaging Your Hispanic Consumer Outreach

Hispanic-targeted marketing is the “Electric Car” of advertising challenges.

Like auto execs, we marketers will freely admit that our current methods are short-sighted (thanks, in our case, to a seismic shift in consumer demographics), and yet we’re hesitant to embark on a new, more future-focused path because the ROI picture remains cloudy.

Fortunately, there’s good news for fence-sitters: Hispanic-targeted marketing can be simple to implement, powerfully effective, and no more expensive than the status quo. We just haven’t been given the whole story… until now.

As with electric vehicles, there’s a host of misinformation about Hispanic consumers that’s been needlessly sabotaging our efforts. So to start, let’s debunk the three biggest misconceptions about the Hispanic market—and in the process, flesh out the contours of an “emissions free” Hispanic-targeted marketing strategy:

Myth #1: Online marketing doesn’t work well with Hispanic consumers

Proponents of this myth would have you believe that digital marketing strategies (such as Web marketing and mobile advertising) are less effective with Hispanic consumers than other demographics, when in reality the opposite is true.

On average, Hispanic Internet users spend 40% more time online than other users, and generate 50% more page views. In mobile, the numbers are even more striking: 45% of U.S. Hispanic mobile users have smartphones, compared with only 34% of the general U.S. market. Furthermore, a full 30% of U.S. Hispanics use their mobile phones as their primary access to the internet.

Hence, far from abandoning high-tech marketing methods like mobile, we should be expanding our digital efforts when targeting the growing U.S. Hispanic demographic.

Myth #2: Hispanic consumers don’t spend as much money as other demographics

This myth conveniently ignores the fact that U.S. Hispanics spent over $1T in 2011, at a growth rate twice as fast as the general economy’s. In addition, U.S. Hispanics spend, on average, more dollars than non-Hispanics on mobile products and services, while netting higher CPMs (Costs per Thousand Impressions) in online search marketing campaigns—which proves they’re more valuable than average consumers when viewing highly targeted communications.

Not only are Hispanics pouring into the middle class (e.g., 25% of the 2012 freshman college class was Hispanic), they’re quickly becoming the fastest growing and most coveted consumer group in the U.S.

As the coveted “new” customers, clients, and patients for local merchants and service providers, U.S. Hispanics represent the premier revenue growth opportunity for local businesses and national brands alike.

In other words, now is the time to be targeting this lucrative market effectively.

Myth #3: Hispanic-targeted content means regular content in Spanish

While it’s true that 80% of U.S. Hispanics still speak Spanish at home, successive generations are increasingly willing to consume Hispanic-targeted content in English.

So what do we mean by “Hispanic-targeted content”? Despite the above myth, translating content into Spanish does not make it Hispanic-targeted. Rather, both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking Hispanics want unique content with true cultural relevance.

Ultimately, this involves producing new, tailored content for Hispanic audiences, and then delivering that content in a fully bilingual fashion to satisfy both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking consumers.

Life After Myth

Now that we know some traps to avoid, let’s focus on the positive:

Because U.S. Hispanic consumers are more receptive than other demographics to social media marketing, “intent-based” inventory marketing, and especially targeted communications—there’s an enormous opportunity for advertisers to engage with Hispanic audiences in ways that maximize receptivity and ROI.

National advertisers like WalMart, 7-11, Tide and H&R Block are leading the charge on capturing and influencing U.S. Hispanic consumers. Meanwhile, online search destinations like YaSabe have found terrific receptivity from local businesses looking to target Hispanic consumers.

With more than 52 million Hispanics in the United States (and growing by more than 1M per year), the demographic shift is far too massive and widespread to treat with a status quo response. These incredibly desirable consumers account for 80% of U.S. population growth. (And a growing population coupled with rising purchasing power equals huge market opportunity.)

But don’t worry: Hispanic-targeted marketing doesn’t have to mean spending more—just spending more intelligently.

The key is focus—direct and strategic targeting. Digital marketing, search marketing, content marketing—these tactics all still apply. They just need to be tailored to meet the needs and preferences of a new market.

In other words: You don’t have to treat Hispanic consumers differently. You just have to treat them personally.