Today, marketers can target Hispanic campaigns with the same precision as their general marketing programs. Why water down the effectiveness of your Hispanic marketing by blasting messages to such broad categories? It takes time too get targeting right. You will likely find that your audiences aren't where you thought they'd be, or aren't jumping at the promotions you thought would entice them.
Start as broadly as possible and then layer in additional data sources over time based on the results of testing and optimization. First, the basics: language, gender, age, and geography, and then add in more information resources such as demographic research, behavioral targeting, contextual targeting, web analytics or purchase data to better hone in on your target audience. Then, mix it up by using different testing and targeting techniques to fine-tune your campaigns and understand which campaign messages resonate most.
I know what you're thinking: right now, you do not have the budget to craft dozens of targeted campaigns for different sub-groups of the Hispanic market. You're wondering, instead, how much your marketing budget will be cut this year. But one sub-group of the Hispanic market that is worth targeting today -- because it can deliver massive ROI even during tough times -- is Hispanic tweens.
By 2010, there will be about 4.5 million U.S. Hispanic children between ages 10 and 14, a figure that is expected to more than double in 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In some towns, Hispanic youth make up the majority of the population; in Fresno, Calif., for example 70% of all children under the age of 10 are Hispanic, and 63% of the area's entire teen population is Hispanic. It's hard to argue that this group doesn't have tremendous influence and will exert it more and more over time.
To effectively reach Hispanic tweens, you need to do your research. Like any other demographic, you have to create campaigns, launch them, test them, and optimize them over time. That being said, here are five proven methods that seem to resonate with Hispanic tweens you should consider trying first:
1. Use online lead generation. Sure video, viral, and social media are cool -- and likely to appeal to a tween audience. But online lead generation actually works to drive revenues. Tweens are very receptive to lead-generation campaigns such as games, subscription sign-ups, newsletters, sweepstakes, and contests. Every time a young person signs up for one of these campaigns, you capture their email address -- and can stay connected with them in the future via email campaigns. And lead-gen campaigns help you further identify the unique preferences of your tween audience.
2. Don't forget mobile. Many tweens already have cell phones, and they use them daily to text their friends. Text messages are a key way to connect with tweens, especially if you offer them a fun service, such as daily horoscopes, that doesn't feel like an ad. Cell phone numbers can be collected right alongside emails in your lead-gen efforts. You get a branding boost, as well as their mobile number in your database for future text messaging campaigns.
3. Tap social media -- but in a focused way. Tweens like to hang out on social networks created just for them (most are still too young to go on Facebook or MySpace), but they probably aren't going to notice your ads there. What they do want, however, is to be entertained. Tweens like to dress avatars in new fashions, enter their names into nickname generators, play "Magic 8 Ball"-type games that tell them who they'll marry one day -- and all the other types of games that engage kids this age who are trying to figure out who they are. You can sponsor these games for a "low pressure" way to boost your brand.
4. Tune into "reverse acculturation." Hispanic tweens present a unique opportunity not only to influence the buying decisions of a young generation, but also their families. Tweens and teens are often highly acculturated -- speaking English, identifying as American, clued into brands. But they also find themselves in multi-generational homes and with grandparents who don't always speak English as well and are less connected to trends. Hispanic families are family-centric, and children are looked to for making purchase decisions on everything from breakfast cereal to cars. By making your brand front-and-center with tweens, you're also reaching their parents and grandparents.
5. Think global. Tweens today, probably more than any other generation, consider themselves global citizens. Hispanic tweens embrace Spanish and are proud of their heritage (unlike former generations of Hispanic kids who were made to feel ashamed of their backgrounds and encouraged to assimilate and speak English). They chat in Spanish with relatives in Latin America online, but also connect with multicultural English-speaking friends (white, Asian-American, African-American) on the soccer field and in the school yard. To win with this group, celebrate what they do: multiculturalism and multilingualism.
Hispanic youth are a powerful force. Several recent studies point out that Hispanic buying power may be more likely to weather the storms of recession than other groups largely due to its higher proportion of young, brand-conscious consumers. Representing such a large part of the overall U.S. population now -- and even more so in the next decade -- Hispanic tweens are the current and future customers for your brand. Don't ignore them!
Editor's note: If you'd like to contribute a column to this newsletter, contact Nina Lentini.