The Next Big Market? Hispanics! 2 Steps to Marketing Success
The following is an excerpt from DirectMarketingIQ's recent report, "Selling to the Hispanic Market, 2nd Edition: Direct marketing best practices for the Hispanic market, including direct mail & email marketing, market segmentation, list selection, fulfillment, language usage, creative strategy, Web marketing and more."
Looking for a market that's growing exponentially, both in size and spending power? If you haven't already developed a strategy for winning over the Hispanic market, then consider that research from the Selig Center for Economic Growth estimates the purchasing power of Hispanics to mushroom to $1.5 trillion by 2015 — double the national rate for the past decade. And yet Hispanics continue to be underserved by companies, especially when it comes to direct marketing communications.
To tap into the potential of this rapidly expanding group — at 50.5 million, Hispanics now make up 16 percent of the U.S. population, up from 12.5 percent in 2000 — you need to educate yourself on the specifics of how to effectively reach, engage and motivate Hispanics with your direct marketing campaigns.
Here are two essential steps to marketing to U.S. Hispanics:
1. Speak the Right Language and Give the Appropriate Offer
There are three choices:
a. Use Spanish-language lists when mailing in Spanish.
b. Use English-language Hispanic-surname lists when mailing in English.
c. Use both types when using a bilingual piece.
The choice of Spanish-language generated vs. Hispanic-surname lists depends on what language you are mailing in.
Understand assimilation and acculturation and how it can affect your message. The difference is simple: Assimilation is about blending into an existing culture. Acculturation is about keeping your own identity, ethnicity and language. To market successfully to Hispanics, you need to focus on acculturation — the unique differences between your prospective markets.
Prior to printing, have your piece read by someone fluent in the nuances and idioms of the language. You want to use a "generic" Spanish because certain words or phrases are offensive or have a totally different meaning in various Spanish dialects or cultures.
Don't be surprised when your letter, brochure or other copy takes up an additional 30 percent of space when transliterated into Spanish. It takes more words to make a point in Spanish than it does in English.
Keep the offer simple: Hispanic immigrants come from countries in which direct mail is received on an extremely limited basis. They are not accustomed to the complicated offers used in the general market. What works for traditional "Anglo" direct marketers doesn't always work for Hispanics. You must make adjustments and refinements in your offer and perhaps even your product when appealing to a different culture.
2. Choosing the Best Hispanic Mailing Lists
A real challenge for the Hispanic direct mailer is locating Spanish-language generated mailing lists. These are lists whose sources are Spanish-language direct mail, TV radio or space advertising. As long as the source is Spanish, the list will be more responsive to Spanish-language offers. While the general market has more than 25,000 response lists available, the Hispanic market has less than 500; that includes Spanish-language and English-speaking Hispanic surname lists.
The benefit of so few lists is that list selection can be more casual when it comes to categories. It is not necessary to use a subscriber list for a magazine offer or a catalog buyer list for a catalog offer. Not only are there not enough lists on the market to do this, but Hispanics receive so little direct mail that it makes little difference what their past purchasing history is.
First and foremost, it is absolutely essential to use a list broker who is an expert and thoroughly experienced in the Hispanic market. Often, the broker has access to lists that generally are not available in the market.
Hispanic surname lists are generated by matching a general market list against a table of known Spanish last names. There is a huge difference in response between Spanish-language generated and Hispanic-surname lists. Surnames work for music, credit card offers and catalogs where knowing the Spanish language is not as important. They also tend to work for bilingual offers. But the greatest response is enjoyed with a Spanish-language list.
It's best to examine your results geographically as the different Hispanic cultures cluster in certain states or areas. Then adjust your state, SCF or ZIP selections accordingly.