Below, I introduce you to Tony and to the millions of Hispanics like him online today.
Tony is bilingual and bicultural
Jose Antonio Uribe, a/k/a "Tony," was born in San Diego to first-generation Mexican immigrants. He is 26, and lives with his parents and sister in National City, a suburb of San Diego that's about 60% Hispanic. Tony's family is very much Mexican American. Spend a few minutes in his home and you'll notice something that's happening in millions of Hispanic households across the United States: Communication is a flawless mix of both English and Spanish.
He speaks only in Spanish to his mom, exclusively in English with a sister, and mixes both with his father. He watches television mostly in English, but he also catches "Sábado Gigante" with his parents and telenovelas with his girlfriend.
Tony is a proud "American Latino"
He celebrates Christmas on Dec. 25, but also Reyes Magos on Jan. 6, one of the most important Catholic holidays in Mexico. He celebrates Thanksgiving, but with a Chipotle turkey, and drinks tequila instead of eggnog.
Like many Latinos, he entered the workforce at a young age to help his parents. He was considered an "at risk" student by his high school counselor, and as a result enrolled in a program that helped him keep up his grades while earning extra money.
He would later graduate from the University of Phoenix with a BS in marketing.
Tony is tech-savvy
Tony has been online as long as he can remember. He vividly recalls an old PC that his dad bought for the family and connecting to the Internet with NetZero and chatting on AOL. A music trendsetter among his friends, Tony was a big fan of music sharing sites Napster and LimeWire. Although Tony mainly visits English-language websites, he communicates online with friends and family in both English and Spanish. He prefers Facebook to MySpace, although he still visits the latter once a week to keep in touch with 350 friends there.
Although Tony considers himself value-conscious, he'll save up hundreds of dollars for a product he considers worthwhile. Today, Tony sports an Apple Mac Mini and orders Chipotle burritos from his iPhone, a product he purchased "the day it came out."
His iPhone boasts about two dozen applications, which he switches constantly. He uses the Facebook application the most to communicate with his 185 "friends."
Tony says "Don't try too hard"
What advice does Tony give to marketers looking to reach him and his peers? "Don't try too hard."
Tony feels that stereotypical Hispanic advertising misses the mark with him.
He rarely clicks on an online ad, but rather goes directly to the product website when he sees something that catches his eye. He goes online to buy clothing, books, music and event tickets. He is always looking for websites that offer a Spanish component so that he can share his interests with his monolingual friends or family members.
"My world is very multi-cultural," he says. "America is very multi-cultural. Campaigns that reflect who I am appeal to me."
I have a story very similar to that of Tony's except that I am first generation Portuguese. I understand the large percentage of hispanics in the United States, but let's not forget about all the other cultures within the United States. And like Tony says, "don't try so hard".
Growing up Portuguese American; I always felt lost and "left-out" so to speak. There was a place in schools for children of with an Hispanic background, but where did everyone else fall?? I (and I'm sure "we", the others) had to fend for ourselves. Schools wanted to categorize me but didn't know where to put me. I think these are similar struggles marketers face...As Tony indicates he goes directly to product websites; maybe sticking with product marketing is key!?
I agree with both Tony and commentor Anna (above), in regard to, "not trying too hard." Or so it should appear. Effort(s) should be placed in subtlety: message nuances obviated in the delivery and execution of the campaign(s) within your chosen media mix; find me where I am. Brand credibility, as the foundation for building brand capital, is maximized when I can't escape the e-mail, social networking, and then in turn, a strong search engine strategy.
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Tony "rarely clicks on an online ad, but rather goes directly to the product website when he sees something that catches his eye."
In this way, Tony is just like the vast majority of Internet users.
This is a great presentation of who the Hispanic American consumer is today. The more marketers understand the psychographic profile of Latinos in the U.S., the better they'll be at reaching this important market.
¡Buena suerte Tony!