I am not Hispanic, but I live in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. It wasn’t always that way, but it is now. I am, in fact, becoming a minority in my neighborhood.
It is now estimated that by 2008, the nation’s fastest-growing population will command nearly $1 trillion of purchasing power. Per household, Hispanics spend more than the general population because on average their households are larger. And if you are a manufacturer or retailer not trying to reach the Latino community you are missing one huge opportunity,
My most recent “a-ha!” moment was in discovering that I had already learned, simply by observing my neighbors and sharing in their everyday lives, much of what research has revealed about Hispanic consumer behavior.
Family first, always
What seems to matter most to my Hispanic friends and neighbors first and foremost is family–and in a very different way than those of us outside the Hispanic community would mean it. Everything is shared with other family members, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. What’s more, Hispanic children do not grow up with thoughts of leaving and establishing lives apart from their families.
How does that knowledge translate to in-store promotions? Well, perhaps instead of simply using images of Hispanic families to visually connect the brand promotion with the Hispanic shopper, consider offering purchase incentives that will bring value to her family or giving away premiums that will delight her children. Think about what’s on her mind while she shops; I guarantee it will be her family.
Language, a matter of pride
Most Hispanics consider their language one of the most important aspects of their culture, and they take great pride in their commitment to their heritage. I know where my neighbors shop and why they shop there: The retailers employ Spanish-speaking staff who can answer their questions and make them feel at home. For this reason, instead of just providing bilingual signage and promotional materials, it is equally important to have bilingual demonstrators in-store to offer free samples and engage shoppers in their own language, personally sharing the value of a particular brand.
Community–make a real conexión
Another important factor when connecting with Hispanics is community involvement. According to a recent survey, 75% of all Hispanics consider it important. Tying an in-store promotion to the Hispanic community’s favorite activities or local youth athletic teams and offering basic health screenings in the pharmacy area are real opportunities for brands and retailers to build loyalty.
To effectively connect with Hispanic consumers, you need to remember that bilingual signage is not the same thing as a promotion that is culturally relevant. “Hablo Español” does not translate to “I understand what’s important to you.” Ensuring that in-store promotions recognize and reference their core cultural values will gain you brand recognition, customer loyalty, and most important, influence in purchase decisions. And I’ve learned that some of the best research is often found in your own backyard.
CHIEF MARKETER columnist Laurie Carlson McGrath is director of marketing with Schaumburg, IL-based marketing services firm PromoWorks (www.promoworks.com).