Qwest Tailors Plan For Hispanics Phoning Home

Regional cable and telecom provider Qwest is trying to position itself as the brand of choice for Hispanic consumers with a new aggressively priced plan for calls placed to Mexico and Central America. The launch follows on the heels of Qwest's announcement of an all-digital Hispanic TV programming package.

The new calling plan, known as Qwest Plan Latino, offers a flat rate of 7-cents-per-minute for calls to Mexico. It is being marketed through direct mail to Hispanics living in the 14 states where Qwest has a footprint.

Insight Research Corp. reported this week that Hispanics spend more on telecommunications service than any other ethnic market.

Qwest's largest markets are Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Washington, and its customer base in these states ranges from 70 percent to 80 percent Hispanic, says Hector Placencia, director of Hispanic marketing at Denver-based Qwest. Nine out of 10 hail from Mexico.

Qwest maintains Spanish-language call centers and has culled ideas for ways to better serve the Hispanic customer from the 400 bilingual service reps who work there.



The company hopes to reach both acculturated and Spanish-language dominant residents and has found mail to be the most successful medium to achieve that goal. Qwest will mail 200,000 pieces--all in Spanish--specifically to highlight Plan Latino, Placencia said.

A new Spanish-language TV spot to promote the 7-cents-per-minute rate will launch in the next two weeks, and all Spanish-language ads going forward will mention Plan Latino. Qwest's two agencies of record are Legion Advertising of Dallas and Arvizu of Phoenix.

Because the majority of Qwest's target customers are Mexican, its advertising will be easier to execute, and thus more likely to succeed. Companies often fail to market appropriately to the individual ethnic and regional subsets of the Hispanic market, Insight Research found, and use blanket ad campaigns in markets where there should be multiple efforts focused on specific countries of origin.

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