According to the results of the last US Census, over 45 million Hispanics now live in the United States, making that population one of the largest ethnic groupings in the US. Because this number of Hispanic consumers is so high, and growing higher each year, American businesses must be aware of the methods needed to sell products and services to this country’s Hispanic populations. And that process is not as easy as it sounds. Remember, English is not a Hispanic’s primary language. If a company’s ads are only written in English, and depend on a knowledge of English usage, then those ads may be incomprehensible to a Hispanic audience. And American humor, if written in English, may not come across as funny to Hispanic consumers.
A company that wants to sell products and services to a Hispanic population, or produce a successful social media campaign, must become familiar with Hispanic culture. Read the magazines and books of Hispanic culture to find out the interests, the needs, and the wants specific to Hispanics. Not only will this research help with the sales of services and products to Hispanics by pinpointing Hispanic cultural trends, it will also help the company figure out the next step, the use of social networking sites on the internet to reach out to, and communicate with, Hispanic customers.
* Which social networking sites are oriented toward Hispanics?
* Which sites cater to Hispanics who want to talk with each other?
* Of these sites, which ones are totally written in Spanish?
* Which of these sites are intended for Hispanics keeping in touch with their overseas relatives?
* Do some sites cater to Hispanics who may be resentful at being forced to speak English, or who prefer speaking Spanish at home or away from the job?
Ponder those strategies that make sense of what you’ve discovered about Hispanic culture, and how those answers might be translated into your company’s use of the social networking sites. Once you’ve developed that strategy into an action plan, follow through on the action items. Join in on the conversations at the social networking sites, and you’ll understand not only what the Hispanic mind is interested in, you’ll also discover what’s happening in Hispanic hearts. Engage the interest of the Hispanics you meet online — but, that’s not a plan you can accomplish overnight. You will have to learn a lot and work a lot to achieve success when engaging in a Hispanic strategy in the social media of the internet. But, the effort will be well worth it for your company, because this effort will require only one step more to translate that understanding of Hispanic culture into print ads and commercials that will appeal to Hispanics.
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.