Direct Mail, Technology Appeal To Hispanic Consumer

The response rate for Hispanics to direct mail is 27% versus 19% for non-Hispanics, Vertis Communications reported in its Customer Focus OPINIONES study, which also revealed that U.S. Hispanics are in most cases more likely than their non-Hispanic counterparts to use technology.

"Both English and Spanish-speaking Hispanics have a higher response rate to direct mail than non-Hispanics," Scott Marden, director of marketing research for Vertis, tells Marketing Daily. "Once you get through the barriers and get them to actually read it, the response goes through the roof!"

The most popular direct mail categories for Hispanics are entertainment-related, including newspaper and magazine subscriptions, and book and music club offers, Marden says--with both English and Spanish-speaking Hispanics more likely to read direct mail promoting ISPs and service offers about Internet and Web sites than non-Hispanics.

That mirrors the Hispanics' comfort levels with the Internet and digital technology overall, a factor enabled by high Internet proliferation among the U.S. Hispanic demographic. Vertis found that access to the Internet among Hispanics is at 90%, compared to non-Hispanics at 82%.

"The driving factors behind the numbers are the availability to the Hispanic population of the Internet, but it's really the Hispanic adult 35 and older that drives the numbers," Marden says.

"Internet usage among Hispanics 35+ is at 90%, but only 78% for non-Hispanics. Given the difference in family size and household among Hispanics, the 35+ Hispanics are probably using their kids' computers--their access to computers is greater, and that enables greater access to the Internet," Marden explains.

Younger adults also play a big role in driving tech trends among the Hispanic demographic. Young Hispanic men, as compared with their non-Hispanic counterparts, skew when answering high-tech questions in Vertis' survey, especially around use of email and text messaging.

Some 33% percent of all Hispanics are using text messaging versus 23% of non-Hispanics--and among Hispanics 35+, that disparity is 20% compared with 15%.

Hispanics' country of origin and the length of time they have been in the U.S. also impact their level of tech savvy, and to assist marketers in finding the best way to approach this multifaceted market, Vertis has come up with a new psychographic profile for segmenting the Hispanic market based on attitudinal data.

"We believe that based on age, income and country of origin, you need to segment and target your message to get the most relevant message you can in front of Hispanics," Marden says.

Vertis' 10 different groups are:

  • Movers and shapers, pathfinders and good neighbors: These are the most popular categories, defined by their openness to new ideas and products that relate to technology, like text messaging and blogging. They are contemporary, information driven and socially driven, looking to create new relationships.

  • Guardians, caretakers and nostalgics: More traditional and focused on familiarity, these groups prefer brands from back home and prioritize their families above all else.

  • Daredevils and surfers: Hip, cutting-edge, fashion-forward Hispanics. More women are in this category than in any other.
  • Wannabes and jugglers: These categories are aspirational. They want the best they can get for the least amount of money, with a focus on value for hot, leading edge products.

    In addition to crafting messaging based on these personality and attitudinal differences, Marden also reminds marketers to pursue a media mix as well.

    "Just like we recommend segmenting and being relevant, and we don't want to lump all Hispanics together, that also goes for the media mix. While direct mail is good for a certain segment of Hispanics, one misunderstanding is that if you want to reach Hispanics you should do TV," Marden says. "That's true for Spanish-speaking Hispanics, but the mix of media is very important."

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