Tapping Into the Digital Hispanic Market
On the night of Sept. 14, 2013, the spotlight was on the MGM Grand Garden Arena as professional boxers Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez battled head to head for the knock out win. The outcome favored Mayweather, however, spectators of the digital age were able to extend their interaction on a new platform that evening.
ESPN Deportes, the Spanish-language counterpart of ESPN, launched ESPN Sync, an app that provides sports news and coverage in real time for sports enthusiasts, and used the Mayweather v. Alvarez bout as the debut event. ESPN Deportes general manager Lino Garcia said in a release that Sync is the first Spanish-language sports TV companion.
“Hispanic fans are spending more time on our digital properties and the simultaneous use of TV and mobile is rising – ESPN Sync provides a second screen experience for fans and unique marketing opportunities for advertisers.”
Many would agree that the full potential of the digital market for Hispanics in the U.S. has not been tapped. Marcos Baer (Portada), Alex Perez (Phelps Total Market) and Greg Aguilar (Augustana College) all have a deep knowledge of Hispanics in the digital space through experience, and also recognize the benefits of digital marketing inclusive of diverse demographics.
In regard to the Hispanic audience, Perez explained, “There is some level of mysticism regarding Hispanic and ethnic markets in the U.S. and how to effectively reach those consumers, which is amplified in the digital world, as the reach of the vehicles expands and the use of language and cultural cues is clearly visible. While there is a major opportunity to reach Hispanics online, they are still an underserved market. There are a limited number of new campaigns being launched that truly engage Hispanic audiences and they are quite often simplified versions of general market campaigns.”
Baer stated that industries like health and pharmaceuticals show big opportunity for the Spanish-language digital market because of the slim competition. “Hispanic digital media usage in terms of overall media usage is not mirrored by Hispanic digital ad spend in terms of overall Hispanic ad spend,” he said.
In this respect, Aguilar had a similar view, saying that many brands and products are unfamiliar with how to reach out to such a diverse market.
“The Hispanic market includes many generations of immigrants, language, and cultural preference. When the content is culturally relevant, the rest of the details do not matter as much because it will have already sparked interest.”
Perez added that brands’ lack of resources to develop digital marketing campaigns is a hindrance, in addition to Hispanic marketing agencies dealing with competition from the general market (non-specific audiences) their small budgets for reasons taking full advantage of connecting with the Hispanic market is lacking.
So who is this audience? A complex one that is for sure! So many different sub-segments make up this vast segment that taps into culture, language, family and more. Here’s how the experts broke down this group and its determinants.
Both Baer and Aguilar identified language (Spanish dominant, English dominant, bilingual) and country of origin as determining factors. Aguilar also mentioned immigrants and second generation, while Baer touched on those impacted by cultural assimilation.
Perez gave three characteristics of this group: mobile, elusive and agile. He alluded to the idea that Hispanics of the digital world are on the go and always connected.
“According to the latest Pew Research… Hispanics are more likely to go online via a mobile device,” said Perez. “It’s well documented that Hispanic consumers are engaged digitally, which is a surprising fact to many marketers. Hispanics are mobile by necessity and less reliant on landline phone service. As a result, they end up being connected and communicated to via digital and mobile platforms.”
From this scope, a huge portion of the U.S. Hispanic demographic can be viewed as multicultural, multilingual and technology friendly. Once brands know who they are talking to, the next step is figuring out how to reach out to them effectively. Authenticity and consistency were two words that seemed to continually arise that are imperative to marketing campaigns for the Hispanic audience, and really any audience.
For Perez, Red Bull has done a great job with communications for U.S. Hispanics in addition to Latin American audiences. A big reason for that is because of consistency in the company’s marketing efforts.
“They’re particularly effective because they first established a solid brand presence among the Hispanic market that is on par with that of the general market, and then subsequently extended this through multiple channels and vehicles in the digital world.”
Baer commended Chevrolet as an American auto brand that has done well with this multicultural audience. Earlier this month, Portada interviewed Maria Rohrer, director of marketing and strategy for Chevrolet Trucks, who spoke to her team’s general communications efforts for the Hispanic audience. She said the campaign targets truck buyers with emphasis on strong work ethic, dedication to family and integrity. Going one step further to make the campaign more, Rohrer discussed the elements that Chevrolet has used to engage these particular consumers.
Rohrer said, “We are trying to engage the Latino consumer authentically. We are integrating with key Latino passion points to become more relevant to buyers. For example with [Chevy] Silverado, the ads show the heart of the truck segment with images of hardworking family men and women at the center.”
Marcos Baer, Portada
Alex Perez, Phelps Total Market
Greg Aguilar, Augustana College
Director of Intercultural Student Life
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