Understanding And Engaging Hispanic Consumers

Although today's retail forecasts may point to cloudy skies ahead for the upcoming back-to-school and holiday seasons, bold marketers will chase after the rays of light on the horizon-the buying power of the ever-growing Hispanic consumer. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanic buying power in the United States is expected to surpass $1 trillion by 2011, pointing to bright new opportunities for marketers in these gloomy economic times.

Many marketers recognize the need to coordinate a Hispanic marketing campaign, but only those who can see beyond the simplicity of common language to a continuum of acculturation within the Hispanic consumer group will win over these savvy shoppers, who are not only surfing the Web, but are more affluent, acculturated and educated than ever before.

The first step to engaging Hispanic consumers - and thus, their retail power - is to understand them, both online and off.

Let's first take a look at the Hispanic consumer online. According to eMarketer, the 2008 online Hispanic population consists of 20.2 million adults. Of this group, 59% were born in the U.S., while 41% were born abroad. This population also tends to be younger, with 56% of online Hispanics between the ages of 18-24, while general market adults in this same age range comprise only 34% of the online community. Hispanics in the U.S. also tend to spend more time online, about 9.5 hours at home and 13.8 hours at work each week, compared to 8.4 home hours and 9.6 work hours a week of the non-Hispanic population. Further, a whopping 54% of online Hispanics access music - compared to just 30% of non-Hispanics - while 37% enjoy online videos, compared to just 25% of the general population.



The number of digitally connected Hispanics will only increase in the coming years, opening the door for perfectly crafted, targeted Internet marketing offers.

Hispanic-Americans online are young, bilingual and acculturated, compared to their offline counterparts. A 2007 study by Hispanic Technographics reveals that the mean ages of Hispanics online and off are 36 and 40, respectively, while the mean income is almost double at $48,000 a year for online Hispanics, versus just $24,000 a year for Hispanics not tuned into the Web. The data also reveal that a mere 6% of offline Hispanics have a college degree, while 26% of online Hispanics possess university accreditation.

Let's take a look at what types of products Hispanic consumers research online, so we may accurately craft our marketing offers.

According to the 2008 Vertis Customer Focus: Opiniones study, 62% of all Hispanics with Internet access research home electronics online before purchasing them. Clothing, major appliances, and home improvement items were the second, third and fourth runners up, respectively, with such items as glasses/contacts, groceries, and arts and crafts as other notable categories.

Vertis' 2008 study also reveals that, in general, Hispanic consumers believe that TV commercials are the most influential in what they ultimately buy, according to 23% of respondents. Twenty percent of Hispanics indicated that advertising inserts and circulars were the most influential medium, while 13% felt Internet ads were most powerful when deciding what to purchase.

Such a trio of influential media points to one solution and one solution only: the undeniable need for integrated multi-channel marketing, especially to the Hispanic consumer.

Database modeling and segmentation will define the appropriate integrated multi-channel marketing campaign. Once the data have been segmented, a clean list can be developed for all targeted marketing efforts. Traditional direct mail and ad inserts serve as the perfect trigger point for initiating digital communication, through personalized e-mails, URLs, and mobile marketing campaigns. Digital coupons are also very popular right now.

As Hispanics become increasingly reliant on the Internet and other forms of digitally enhanced marketing, it is crucial for television, direct mail, and Web advertising to be integrated into a multicultural marketing campaign.

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