AARP is going after the Hispanic senior market with a mid-seven-figure initiative.
In 2003, 4 million of AARP’s 130 million direct mail solicitations will be sent to Hispanic seniors, using a bilingual control package that beat the organization’s national control effort by 20%.
AARP has plenty of room to expand within this market. When the company did an initial database audit, it found that only 16% of U.S. Hispanics over age 50 were members.
Another program, aimed at signing up older African Americans, is being expanded from 1.8 million pieces in 2002 to 2.5 million pieces in 2003. This effort will more on prospect targeting and less on a total overhaul of its creative.
The new Hispanic control package followed several failed creative tests, including a “glitzy and hip” mailer.
“We’re a non-profit organization,” said Nancy Franklin, director of membership development at AARP, speaking at the National Center for Database Marketing conference. “The public doesn’t respond to efforts like that from us.”
Spanish-only solicitations also pulled a poor response because Hispanic seniors will occasionally rely on children and grandchildren, who have a better grounding in English, to read their mail and conduct transactions.
The need for clear information was especially germane to this effort. Some Hispanic segments had to be introduced to the organization, and required more information within the letter than the national control.
The community’s priorities are also different, and Hispanic-oriented communications tend to focus on financial security and health and insurance services.