I recently accepted a chair position for the marketing committee of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (HCCWM). During a recent meeting, we discussed the breakdown of the HCCWM’s membership base. Roughly half of the organization’s members are “general market” businesses seeking to connect with the region’s Latino customer base. The other half consists of Hispanic business owners. Of these, half are bi-lingual and acculturated to the U.S. way of life but still have significant connections to their Latino roots. The other half consists “recent arrivals”, primarily immigrants from Latin American that are Spanish dominant. We had a good discussion about how we will need to differentiate the HCCWM’s marketing strategies to appeal to these various members.
This discussion inspired me to consider the fact that marketers need to realize Latinos are not always a monolithic group. New data continues to surface that re-enforces how companies should differentiate between Hispanic consumers. A recent study by Motivo Insights, LLC and the New Generation Latino Consortium has found that although young Latino television viewers are not as concerned about language, they do want culturally relevant content. According to the study, 50 percent said they sought out bilingual/bicultural content while over 30 percent said they looked for English content. This is in contrast to older Hispanics that typically prefer Spanish-language content.
Hispanic use online is also differentiated. A few months ago I interviewed Juan Tornoe, owner of Hispanic Trending and asked him what marketers should know about the growth of Latinos using social media and the internet. He suggested not to assume all Hispanics are internet savvy and stated, “younger, more educated, higher income, and English dominant Latinos are the ones who are heavy users of the web.” Mr. Tornoe also mentioned that marketers seeking to connect with older, Spanish dominant Latinos on the internet should plan accordingly and realize that growing this particular base may take a longer investment of time.
Based on the above, here are some suggestions for marketers:
- Align: Research your Latino customer base and find out if your product or service is compatible to their wants and needs.
- Familiarize: Consider language but look to key cultural insights for deeper connections.
- Differentiate: Craft your message to appeal to the appropriate Latino segment while maintaining the integrity of your brand.
- Invest: Realize that some Latino customer loyalty will need to be earned over time.
This topic is bound to change. I have no doubt marketers and researchers will continue to reveal different insights as Hispanic demographics evolve in the years to come. In the meantime, we will keep paying attention and developing our strategies. Even here in West Michigan, we need to differentiate the Latino market. What have you found in your region?