The Hispanic voter has been a central figure in the 2016 campaign. This is largely because in such a polarized political climate, a projected total voting population of 27.3 million can have a serious impact.
There is also the overtly xenophobic rhetoric emanating from the Republican nominee regarding our neighbors south of the border. GOP leaders have already voiced their concern about policies regarding mass deportation and obtuse border security proposals, questioning their nominee’s ability to attract any significant number of Hispanic votes.
(The problem isn't new for the GOP. In 2012, Mitt Romney suggested undocumented immigrants "self-deport.")
Despite the obvious difficulties Donald Trump will have with the Hispanic vote, down-ballot Republicans will hope to stem the exodus of Hispanics from the Republican Party. John McCain has notably picked up on this problem, having been caught on tape voicing his displeasure at the pressure Trump will put on tight Senate races.
Hillary Clinton has a different task at hand, motivating the millions of Hispanic voters to come out in droves to vote for her on November 8.
Red, White & Blog spoke with María Lopez-Knowles, CMO of Entravision, a media company that reaches U.S. Latinos, about the intricacies of the Hispanic market and the impact they will have in 2016.
“When it comes to marketing to Hispanics, advertisers need to understand that there are Hispanic voters of different acculturation levels, and marketing strategies must be planned accordingly,” notes Lopez-Knowles.
Lopez-Knowles pointed out the significant difference in values between first-, second- and third-generation Hispanics and the need to understand how each interacts differently with their communities and families.
The first generation mostly holds collective family values, the second generation holds family and self-reliance jointly in highest regard, and third-generation Hispanics, the most acculturated group, associate most strongly with self-reliance. Of course, these labels are not set in stone, and the phenomenon of retro-acculturation can happen.
Of particular importance are second- and third-generation Hispanics, who make up the largest chunk of eligible voters and are heavily in the millennial age group. (Some 44% of eligible Hispanic voters are millennials.)
“The second-generation Hispanic is often a key influencer in their communities; they are what we like to call ‘sherpas.’ They send content to their parents and friends. Including Spanish-language options is particularly important when political marketers target this group,” explained Lopez-Knowles.
The importance of focusing on digital video and using mobile targeting cannot be understated, as both millennials and Hispanics interact with such channels and devices at a high rate.
Hispanics overall are increasingly seeking citizenship prior to the 2016 general election. As their numbers grow, the need to effectively target them with relevant messages will become ever more critical to political marketing.