¿No Habla Español? You don't have to.

¿No Habla Español? You don't have to.

By : Dalia E Paratore Harrison

Whatever your politics are when it comes to diversity, the fact that there is a burgeoning Latino population who are already product consumers and could be YOUR product consumer, is beyond dispute.

59.9 million. Today Hispanics constitute around 18.3% of the nation's total population making it the largest ethnic group. And, as opposed to the Asian population, all Hispanics share a common ancestry and language. So even though the Asian population is growing at a faster clip, Hispanics have accounted for 54% of all population growth since 2000.

Once companies embrace this reality it is much easier for them to start crafting a strategy that enables them to make this changing landscape work for them. However, there are still companies and organizations that say one of two things: 1. either the Hispanic market is not their target consumer/audience or 2. Latinos can be reached via mainstream strategies alone, rendering niche marketing not necessary. Both assumptions, which are employed often, are wrong.

Here’s some basic tips:

Avoid generalizations of mainstream market messages as this is not be a best practice. It usually is more strategic to craft messages that are geared towards the Hispanic market, and even sub messages that take into account the variety within the Hispanic community. That said, avoiding all contact with Hispanic audiences is a much worse strategy. While it is true that Hispanics would prefer to be ‘talked to’ in a culturally relevant way, it still is downright worse to ignore this audience.

So even if your company has limited resources, or limited staff, meaning you don’t have a Hispanic strategy per se, you still should do outreach. This can be as simple as sending out your content via Hispanic channels/circuits. This will enable your message to reach Hispanic media and Hispanic consumers in both English and Spanish. The reality is that if your company does not at least attempt communication, chances are your competitor will or already is.

Be consistent in your messaging. Meaning, don’t think that outreach to the Hispanic community should be done only for Cinco de Mayo or Hispanic Heritage Month. That actually will backfire. Consistency entails always reaching out if there is a new product, a new service or some sort of ‘informative’ piece. By keeping the communication open between your organization and the Hispanic community, you will build credibility and traction. For example, car companies such as Honda or Toyota send out all of their releases to Hispanic media as well. There is a clear reason why 25% of their vehicles are purchased by Hispanics.

Don’t let language deter you. This is linked to point number one but more specifically relates to your internal marketing and PR team. It is not necessary for them to speak Spanish to do pitching or respond to calls after a release has been sent out. Hispanic media speaks English too so there is no need to fear any breakdown in communication.

Remember to communicate using different types of media as this will more accurately reflect the Hispanic market landscape and the varied types of media consumed. Online and social media is just as important as traditional. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project, 80% of U.S. Hispanic adults use social media, compared to 72% for the country overall. And marketers take note: U.S. Hispanics are also more likely to follow a brand on social media. So Print and TV are very relevant but so is Twitter. Radio for example is key, according to Jan 2016 Nielsen’s “The Latino Listener: How do Hispanics Tune in to the Radio“ about 97% of Hispanic consumers in the US tune in to the radio in an average week, underscoring a strong relationship with an important and growing listener segment.” So be sure to be creative in your approach.

So if you keep these four points in mind you’ll be well on your way to building a sturdy bridge between your organization or brand and the growing Hispanic audience you actually should be trying to reach. 

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