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Marketing to Hispanics: 5 Best Practices

September 24th, 2019   ||    by Oriana Schwindt

The Hispanic market in America is exploding. By 2020, this market will be worth $1.7 trillion, according to Entrepreneur. The Hispanic population is increasing far more quickly than other minority groups in the US, and by 2060, Hispanic Americans will be 28.6 percent of the population, reported CNN. Currently, 18.1 percent of the US population is Hispanic, a total of 58.9 million people for advertisers to reach.

So, what’s the best way of marketing to Hispanics? Follow these five best practices.

1. “Hispanic” Is an Umbrella Term

This is perhaps the most important idea to keep in mind when advertising to a Hispanic audience. White Hispanics exist, as do non-white Hispanics. South American immigrant cultures are not the same as Caribbean or Central American. What resonates with one specific subculture may not resonate with another.

The best ads will find the correct amount of specificity, without excluding any one subculture. Take Toyota. According to MediaPost, Toyota created an ad depicting a man who is so enraptured by driving a Camry that he declines a call from his mother. Veneration of mother figures is a common element in all Hispanic cultures, and the situation is specific enough that the target audience of Spanish speakers gets the joke.

2. Not All Hispanic Americans Speak Spanish

Out of 53.7 million Hispanic or Latino residents over five years old, 15 million speak only English, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of Spanish-only speakers in the US will continue its downward trend as the generations who emigrated here from Spanish-speaking countries are followed by their native-born descendants.

In order to reach this growing sector, emphasize Hispanic culture over Spanish language-only ads.

3. Spanish Language Content Is Still Important

That said, Spanish is very much still ingrained in Hispanic culture, even if an increasing number of Hispanic Americans are no longer natively bilingual. Though they may not speak it, they will recognize plenty of Spanish language words and concepts.

Language is a reflection of culture, and using Spanish as an organic part of your advertising, rather than a crutch, will lend some authenticity to your ad. This could mean using actors who have accents or employing Spanglish.

4. Generational Differences Matter

Hispanic members of the millennial and Gen Z generations are different from their antecedents. These generations are more likely to consider themselves multicultural. Some may even be trying to figure out how to balance their heritage with the culture that surrounds them in the workplace or at school.

You can play into this, but avoid stereotypes. Coca-Cola discovered this the hard way when its Hispanic Heritage Month campaign kicked up some controversy in 2015, reported ABC13.

The campaign centered on cans that came with temporary tattoos of common Hispanic surnames, with Coca-Cola’s social media video including a man putting his temporary tattoo on his neck. It was seen as a tone-deaf cash-grab by a big corporation.

5. Embrace Mobile

As a TV advertiser, your primary screen is the big rectangle in the living room. But because the Hispanic market is so mobile-savvy, adding a mobile element to your advertising is essential with this cohort.

As far back as 2014, 58 percent of Hispanic audiences were using their mobile devices while watching TV, reported MediaPost, and that number has certainly not declined.

Many Hispanic households also use their mobile devices as their primary connection to the internet, noted Pew Research Center. With mobile e-commerce set to reach 53.9 percent of e-commerce by 2021, predicted Statista, integrating a mobile call to action in your TV ad is now table stakes.

Follow these best practices and your marketing to Hispanics can show the true benefits of real diversity and inclusion.

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