According to the U.S. Census, the U.S. Hispanic population jumped by more than 40% in the past decade. And, in just two years one person out of every six living in the U.S. will be of Hispanic origin.
Nielsen reports that Hispanic buying power in the U.S. will leap to $1.5 trillion by 2015. This means that now may very well may be the time for marketers to take a look at how this ethnic market may fit into their overall strategy. But first, you need to really understand how this type of data is compiled so you know what you are getting for your marketing dollars.
Know Your Data Source
When you decide to use Hispanic data, you need to understand whether it is self reported or modeled. What many marketers don't realize is that in most cases, ethnic segmentation is modeled based on surname and address location. This type of modeling can yield a less than accurate result.
This fact is detailed in a Nielsen report, "The State of the U.S. Hispanic Consumer," which found that "the U.S. population map shows continued growth in traditionally Hispanic areas and dramatic dispersal and new growth in areas where Hispanics were recently unknown."
So, if a modeled database is surmising its Hispanic segmentation only using address location information in "traditional" Hispanic areas, it could be missing a large section of this population in its database.
Watch Their Language
Nielsen estimates show that 56% of Hispanic adults primarily speak Spanish at home, compared to 40% who primarily speak English.
Another important thing to keep in mind with Hispanic data is the "language spoken" select. In this particular ethnic segment it is essential to be able to select "English Only," "Spanish Only," or "English/Spanish" so you know you are reaching a viable prospect universe for your particular business.
Carol Lustig is chief marketing officer of Media One and Headstrong Media