Add Hispanics Into Your Ad Mix

Sep 25, 2006  •  Post A Comment

By Adam Armbruster

Special to TelevisionWeek

If your client’s business missing the Hispanic consumer, it may need to introduce an Anglo-plus-Hispanic mix to its TV advertising budget.

But to generate the maximum return on investment, your television advertising planning must be based on what your product and service bring to the Hispanic community. In other words, you must provide real value and credibility for Hispanic consumers to consider your product.

Spanish-language television is hot. Last year the media registering most growth was not the Internet, but Spanish-language TV. According to Nielsen, Internet ad spending increased a relatively impressive 12.6 percent, while the major Spanish-language TV networks were up 15 percent. Univision and Telemundo receive more than 64 percent of all advertising dollars aimed at Hispanics.

But while Hispanics now account for nearly 14 percent of the U.S. population, only 3.2 percent of total advertising is spent on Hispanic media. There are clear reasons behind the great disparity in these numbers. The English language is gaining importance in marketing to Hispanics. The key to your success may be in using both English- and Spanish-language television, depending on your local target demographic. Case in point: Nielsen Media Research states that at any given time, roughly 60 percent of Hispanics are watching English-language television, while the remainder watches Spanish-language programs.

Younger Hispanic Americans have easily assimilated into American society and are very comfortable moving between English and Spanish in life and in television choices. Older and recently immigrated Hispanics often stay with Spanish-language television as an initial choice.

Modern Hispanic consumers are much more segmented into subsets and cannot be classified as a generic demographic.

So how do you move profitably into Anglo-plus-Hispanic television marketing? Let’s begin with a few examples.

General Motors has become an active advertiser among English-language Hispanic media. In the past four or five years it has begun to tailor campaigns to better connect with different demographic groups. “Second- and third-generation Hispanics’ use of language might be different than more recent immigrants, so we’ve had to accompany that shift by expanding our outreach,” said Felipe Herrera, GM’s director of Hispanic marketing.

GM understands that there are multiple Hispanic subsets and that these subsets of consumers do not “live” on any one television network. A smart balance is required for maximum return on investment.

Georgia-Pacific launched its first Spanish-language advertising campaign with television ads for its Brawny paper towels in Southern California. The company dedicated 10 percent of its annual marketing budget to the Hispanic effort. The campaign includes television, in-store promotions and sponsorship of community events.

How do you budget properly for a predominantly Hispanic consumer business? Your client’s needs may require that as little as 10 percent or as much as 40 percent of its television budget be allocated to Spanish-language television networks. To know the right ratio for your television plan, consider first your local target market and then make your best estimate on what market share of the Hispanic spending you could generate.

Next, identify a ratio of buying potential between modern crossover Hispanic customers versus traditional Hispanic customers. For example, if you know that most of your customers are Hispanic and within this base the majority of your consumers are younger crossover Hispanics, then it could be that a 60 percent Anglo television ratio (for younger, crossover” Hispanic viewing) and a 40 percent Spanish television ratio (for more traditional Hispanic viewing) could make sense. Of course, this important decision is always made on a case-by-case basis.

We’ve had the privilege to consult clients in high Hispanic population markets such as Miami and Los Angeles and we’ve learned that, overall, Hispanic consumers have certain predictable values.

Some of these are:

  • They are family-centric (they seek the opinions of family and friends).

  • They are fashion-driven.

  • They are brand-conscious.

  • They are loyal to retailers and brands.

  • They are prone to high referral rate tendencies.

    Here are some key points to consider when moving into Anglo-plus-Hispanic television marketing:

    Develop a relevant marketing message. Crafting a television message based exclusively on ethnicity misses the point. You first need a compelling retail offer and a product positioning statement, just as in Anglo marketing. Be careful that you do not accidentally patronize these valuable consumers.

    Hispanic consumers have a different shopping style than Anglo consumers. Hispanic consumers often make shopping a family event and thereby will often shop in groups. So a group opinion can overrule an individual opinion. This is very important for a television creative producer to understand.

    Personal style is important. Crossover Hispanic consumers often spend more than Anglo consumers on personal style items such as high-cost cosmetics and clothes, making them “fashion-forward” consumers. Overall, Hispanics said they spent on average $1,992 on clothing and accessories in the past 12 months compared with $1,153 for general-market consumers.

    Advertising can dramatically affect Hispanics. 35 percent surveyed cited ads as a factor in selecting color cosmetics, compared with 8 percent of general-market respondents. Fifty-five percent of Hispanics surveyed bought a fragrance because of a magazine scent strip, double the number of general-market respondents who did.

    Brand names matter. It’s been reported that 58 percent of Hispanics think it risky to purchase a brand they are unfamiliar with. Only 40 percent of Hispanics said they would purchase private-label and generic brands if they found themselves with less money.

    Stay the course. Marketing to Hispanics cannot be turned on and off like a spigot. It takes time to win trust from this closely knit community. Don’t expect a miracle in a month. Be committed and consistent.

    Congruency counts. Is your business really ready to handle mostly Hispanic consumers? Who will deal with them? Make it a mission to hire capable and completely fluent bilingual receptionists, salespeople and service people. Also, try to avoid the common shortcut of a voicemail message answering your main phone line with “Press 1 for English and 2 for Spanish,” which can make Hispanic customers feel like second-class customers.

    Be global. Advertise on Anglo television to reach crossover Hispanic American audiences and on Spanish-language television to reach the “traditional Hispanic consumer to ensure that you are representing your entire market. Remember, Hispanic viewers, just like Anglo viewers, watch programs, not networks. Over-buying, either Spanish-language or English-language television, could cause you to drift away from your real consumer base and result in a high CPM problem.

    Be local. Build in a support platform of local participation in the Hispanic community. Your consistent involvement in local festivals, fairs, churches and other civic organizations make you more “real” to the Hispanic consumer.

    Watch the kids. An estimated 6.3 million Latino teens have tastes and preferences in media choices very different than those of their parents. These powerful consumers spend about $20 billion a year.

    We need to create meaningful, emotional connections with these target consumers by understanding each subset’s use of culture, language and media, as well as their ability to move fearlessly and comfortably between two culture worlds.

    A move into Anglo-plus-Hispanic marketing can be daunting, but when done properly it can bring exceptional plus-market
    share to a business. Enter into this with reality-based thinking and a long-term commitment to win over Hispanic consumers, who by every definition are dream customers. 

    Adam Armbruster is a partner in Red Bank, N.J.-based retail and broadcasting consulting firm Eckstein, Summers, Armbruster and Co. and can be reached at adam@esacompany.com or 941-928-7192.

    Sources: People en Espa%F1;ol’s fourth annual Hispanic Opinion Tracker, Adweek, Arbitron, Nielsen 2006, Telemundo, Univision, HispanTelligence 2006.