Business has long been aware of the importance of key influencers. Joe Girard, “the world’s best car salesman” in his book “How to Sell Anything to Anybody”, gave many examples from his career selling Chevrolets in Detroit. Giving one of the local union leaders an exceptional “deal” on a new car was always a good move because the union leader was a key influencer within Girard’s working class clientele. Joe made his money on volume as a direct result of referral business.
There are key influencers in any market, and the marketer’s challenge is to identify them. Within the Hispanic market, a cultural understanding is paramount to identifying these key influencers and enlisting them in the marketing process.
Family – The single biggest influence to Hispanic buyers in general is family. Extended family can be highly influential in buying decisions, and referral marketing tactics may be especially effective within this market segment.
Personality – Another key influencer is the local Spanish media personality. In contrast to other ethnic groups, who assimilate through English radio and television, Hispanics prefer Spanish media. In larger markets, Hispanic customers may be reached by event marketing (concert, festival, etc.) featuring these local celebrities.
Sports – Finally, the last external influencer is the local sports personality. Sports are an important part of Hispanic culture, and a local Spanish sports personality can be an effective spokesperson in reaching this market.
Within these three circles of influence, community leaders can be identified and targeted as highly desirable and significant prospects.
The circles can also overlap, multiplying their effectiveness exponentially. A festival event can have activities for all ages. Or a marketing presence may be established by sponsoring youth sports, especially soccer. These can be seen as one-two combinations supporting both strong family values and a love of sports.
While there may be local (non-Spanish) celebrities that can have some influence, the most effective spokesperson will be Hispanic, not just someone who happens to speak the language.
There are influencers within the family as well. However, it is especially important to understand Hispanic culture in targeting the immediate family. While buying decisions in Afro-American or Caucasian homes are largely made by the wife, the husband usually makes the buying decisions within the Hispanic family. Nevertheless, since many Latinas are active users of social networks, and repeat buyers of virtual goods and services, smart business owners should craft a marketing strategy that includes this sought-after demographic.
Also, the children in the Hispanic family may play a large role in the buying process, due to the fact that they may be the only family members who speak English.
Finally, it may be important for the marketer to remember that, despite the common language, there are actually three separate cultures beneath the umbrella we call “Hispanic“. The majority of Hispanics in the U.S.—63%–are of Mexican descent. The next largest group is Cuban; the remainder is a combination from Caribbean and Central American countries.
Furthermore, the median age of most Hispanics is significantly lower than other ethnic groups, which may also be a factor in marketing to this segment.
The key influencer can open doors to your marketing message—and the sales will surely follow.