Friday, July 10, 2009

6 Steps for hiring agencies with real Hispanic know-how

Why are foreign born Hispanics less affected by economic down-turn?
Experian Consumer Research reports that 58% of Hispanics did not use a credit card in the last month and that approximately one-third opt for cash transactions, making them less likely to be affected by the credit crunch.

Statistically, they also have multiple sources of income per house hold, allowing them greater percentages of expendable income.

1. Don't assume that someone who is born with a Spanish last name has special knowledge about marketing to Hispanics. Hispanic marketing is a field of study. Being born Hispanic does not magically impart such knowledge. So don't be tempted to ask Mr. Perez in Accounting to fill the slot.

2. Hire only at the expert level. An expert should possess a combination of education and experience in Hispanic marketing. Taking Spanish in college does not count. Living in Argentina for a summer? Nope. Married to a Mexican? Sorry, not the same.

Look up the definitions of "code switching" and "Generation Ñ" and then ask your candidate to explain each one to you. If the candidate's score is less than 100%, walk away. Why? For the same reason you wouldn't hire a mechanic who wasn't familiar with a crankshaft or a voltage regulator.

Only a handful of colleges offer degrees in Hispanic marketing, so not having a degree isn't a deal breaker. An expert should still have a strong grasp of theory via self-study. Ask the candidate about online courses taken, books and research read, and seminars attended in Hispanic marketing.

Of course there is no replacement for real-life experience, but accept no less than five years' worth.

3. Choose someone with experience in your industry. Hiring a candidate who needs to be trained in your business model is like having someone borrow your watch to tell you the time.

4. Pinpoint which segment of the Hispanic market you are trying to reach. Verify that your candidate has successfully marketed to that segment. Past behavior really is the best predictor of future performance.

5. Hire a candidate who is truly bilingual. Hispanic marketing requires a keen feel for the spirit of the language and how it affects consumers. Free language testing is available online.

6. Know the current pay scale for the candidate's experience level.

Don't expect immediate gratification. It takes time, but the payoffs are well worth the wait. Just ask Disney, Ford, or McDonald's. They are predicted to survive and even thrive during the recession due in part to their large, lucrative, and loyal Hispanic customer base.\
Props to Blaire Borthayre for writing this article.
I just wanted to add, that as marketers we need to realize the current state of the Hispanic market. Fragmentation of this segment makes it difficult to create an all-in-one campaign.
This just reinforces the need to hire an agency that knows exactly who the segment is. Simply creating a great strategy for the general market and translating it into Spanish is not going to be very effective.
That said, looking out into the future we have to consider acculturation and assimilation of these 2nd and 3rd generation folks. Will traditions and culture be as much of an influence as it is today? Only time will tell.

Stewart Severino
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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hispanic spending in the trillions by 2012. What's your share?

The data:

52% of the U.S. Hispanic populations are online. That’s 23 million Hispanics.

By 2012, more than 29 million or 58.6% will be online, increasing the penetration.

Don't assume:

Marketers, don’t assume that mass-market, English-language campaigns are reaching this audience effectively, just because 65% of Hispanics are bilingual.

As this market increases in size, it also becomes more fragmented as Latin Americans do not always share the same culture.

How do I reach Hispanics effectively?

Creating relevant messages that touch this market is a challenge as Marketers will have to speak to those traditions and use appropriate references. Multiple execution strategies will have to be created to accomplish reach.

Today, over 60% of advertisers media budgets are spent on on TV and only less than 5% is spent in online.

Although 65% of Hispanics are bilingual, Marketers shouldn’t assume they are effectively reaching their target. Education, inccome and acculturation levels affect the way consumers use media and their product choices.

Point being, Hispanics make up a diverse community that is becoming acculturated, but not completely assimilated. Retaining their pride in culture and language preference.


I know I sound like a broken record but targeting this segment comes down to knowing what they are doing online (what is the behavior?). This of course applies to anyone who uses any type of media.

We need to understand how the various generations use media and for what reasons.

The strategy:

Begin with a multi-channel campaign to reach a wide audience, but the more digital media used, the more effectively the message can be targeted and tracked for insight and optimization. This mainly applys to Hispanics under 35 since they are the heavy internet users.

Don't forget mobile:

Also – let us not forget mobile -Hispanics are early adopters of mobile technology: 31 million have a mobile phone. By the age of 15, penetration of wireless services is 64%, by 17, it rises to 78%. Hispanics have the highest proportion of cord-cutters among all segments. Hispanics spend 42% more on mobile devices and 35% more on data services than the average user. Mobile Source, --Engage.

Stewart Severino
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