ROI from blind spots in the US Hispanic market

29 Oct 2003|Felipe Korzenny

The US Hispanic market should be low hanging fruit for many marketers, but they do not know it. Marketers make assumptions about the US Hispanic Market based on hearsay and assumptions that in many cases are flawed. Clearly marketing to Hispanics, particularly Spanish dominant Hispanics, requires going beyond marketing routine and making a proactive effort.

Reaching Hispanics in Spanish has been shown to make an important difference, particularly when reaching those who prefer to communicate in Spanish (that is 60% of those 18 years of age and older). According to the 2002 HOT study of “People en Español”, a third of all US Hispanics indicate they “get more information from advertisements that are in Spanish.” Also a fourth of all US Hispanics state they “prefer to purchase brands that are advertised in Spanish.” Thirty six percent of all US Hispanics, in addition, state that they watch Spanish language television because “it is more reflective of my life and culture.” The Spanish language, then gives a strong competitive edge to advertisers that have learned how to communicate to Hispanics in the context of the culture and language.

Besides using language, as a key targeting tool that goes beyond the routine of most marketers, there are other areas that can make strong contributions to the bottom line of marketers that strategically search for Hispanic opportunities. Many marketers whose products are not currently used by Hispanics make the often erroneous assumption that Hispanics must not like their product or brand. Basic baseline research many times uncovers a common phenomenon: A large number of Hispanics are just unaware of the product category and/or brand. For example, a majority of US Hispanics are unaware of refrigerated dough products. It is not that they do not like these products but that they have passed by them many times at the store without understanding what these round cardboard containers have inside. If a marketer took the time to show the Hispanic consumer what the product is about s/he could easily add consumers to its brand franchise.

Many Hispanics come to the United States with brand loyalties and expectations. They know that cereal is Kellogg’s and that toothpaste is Colgate. This does not mean that these consumers reject offhand the offering of other brands. They just don’t know about them. Just take the case study of the cereal brand Kix. This brand was virtually unknown to the Hispanic consumer until it was introduced in the WIC (Women Infants and Children) program and now the brand is one of the most successful brands in the market.

The most productive allocation of resources is many times in areas that are easy and simple to address, but sometimes difficult to even perceive their existence. Our assumptions many times blind us to the obvious and the simple.

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