How Middle Market Brands Can Leapfrog Larger Corporate Brands in Reaching Hispanic Consumers

Nicholas Segura November 27, 2018

While migration numbers from Mexico and Latin America continue to shrink, the spending power of the U.S. Hispanic market continues to maintain phenomenal growth. Hispanic consumers are an audience companies like Nielsen, Pew Research, and Forbes magazine are saying “are the most important growth market through midcentury.” Regardless of the opportunity for growth, many companies have yet to take any steps towards attracting these young Hispanic consumers to their brand, product or service possibly leaving millions on the table.

There are so many reasons to seriously consider the Hispanic market. Hispanic consumers are young, averaging only 27 years old, and 19 years old for first the generation. Hispanics are known as early adopters of technology; they over-index in online shopping and social media and their income grew by over 50% in the last five years. Hispanics are spending so much that in the United States we are now the 7th largest economy in the world, besting India, Italy, and Brazil. Hispanic women, in particular, are also known as the leaders in entrepreneurialism in the United States. Consider that for every one business that a non-Hispanic white woman opens, six Hispanic women open a new business. In their 2017 report, Latina 2.0, Nielsen stated “The Latina consumers, in particular, are the fastest growing consumer group in America. Latina women are outpacing the rest of the nation when it comes to social media use, cultural affinity and setting new standards for community, beauty, and style.”

While these reports and information are easily available, many companies have yet to take their first step to capitalizing on this golden opportunity. In the fifteen years of educating brands about the Hispanic market, I’ve found that large corporations are often hyper-focused on their general market, failing to stop and look at the continually growing Hispanic market right under their nose. This failure to recognize Hispanic consumer is where small to midsize brands can capitalize. A small to midsize business has the advantage of being more nimble to adjust their marketing resources in order to broaden their audience and often times be first to market with Hispanic consumers. This is where you can gain coveted Hispanic loyalty now, besting larger corporate competitors. In addition, with the advent of social media, a media preference for Hispanic consumers, the cost to reach Hispanic consumers is relatively low and can be more targeted than the general market. Hispanic consumers are actively looking for brands that recognize what we bring to the American dream and what products or services we can use to achieve it.
One of biggest challenges brands face in marketing to Hispanics are their own internal ideas about how Hispanic consumers behave, the lack of diversity within the advertising industry doesn’t make matters easier. However, smaller brands with a little research and budget can do something larger competitors can’t and frankly, haven’t. Small to middle market companies can start the process of considering who their target audience is within the Hispanic market.

Keep in mind, simply translating your current marketing materials into Spanish is not “Hispanic marketing” and this can often lead to more confusion than answers. American marketers with no experience in the Hispanic audience automatically default to translating their materials into Spanish assuming that all Hispanics speak Spanish and this simply isn’t true. My mother, for example, was born and raised in Kansas during a generation where speaking Spanish was prohibited. Though she has a Spanish surname, when she receives Spanish only direct mailers because advertisers have assumed she speaks Spanish, they simply go into the trash. Hence, understanding who your target audience is key. Making assumptions about the Hispanic market is where marketing can go awry. While brands will spend millions on market research and testing, oddly, when it comes to the Hispanic market, they simply translate it, and what’s worse is if they rely on services like google translate to save money. Don’t be that brand.

Don’t ignore these young Hispanic consumers. They are more tech savvy than they’ve ever been. Hispanics over-index in buying mobile phones, app usage, streaming content and sharing information. Nielsen reports that “74% of Hispanic women agree when they find a food product they like, they recommended it to people they know”. This means that if you do your research and your marketing right, you can find an untapped super-base of fans that are happy to share what they like about your product.

My challenge to you is this: start a serious discussion about the Hispanic market today and start developing a strategy. There are many companies who continue to put the Hispanic market off until next year, and then the next year…and this is to your advantage. Starting your strategy and planning today puts you ahead of many of the largest corporate competitors. It is the understanding and movement towards Hispanic consumers that will make your marketing and your new found fans really give you the ROI you’re looking for.