This is not a political story with a red or blue slant. This is a story about how to market to Hispanics — the largest and fastest growing minority group in the U.S. But for the sake of simplicity, let’s start with a political example that transcends parties.
All of the pundits are talking about a fresh-faced Hispanic politician from Florida — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. If you turn on the Sunday-morning talk shows, you will hear all of the pundits pontificating why Sen. Rubio will help save the GOP with Hispanic voters.
Unfortunately, these pundits are making the same mistake most other marketers make when it comes to understanding Hispanics. They assume one size fits all.
It doesn’t work like that when it comes to reaching Hispanics. A Cuban-American has different struggles than a Mexican-American. Likewise, Colombians, Venezuelans, Argentinians, Guatemalans, Peruvians, and others all have their own cultures and individual plights (contrary to popular belief — Brazilians are not Hispanic).
Cuban-Americans in Florida have a completely different view than most Mexican-Americans when it comes to immigration because they have a different plight when it comes to citizenship. And this not a stereotype; it’s a policy issue that dates back to the Kennedy administration.
Likewise, Colombians and Peruvians or any other Hispanic group will identify and unite around their countries, which is one reason why Hispanics are a difficult group to reach. As a whole, they are fragmented around their countries.
So if this is the case, how do marketers or political campaigns reach Hispanics?
The first thing any marketer must understand is that language and family binds Hispanics together, but that is traditionally where the similarities end.
In New York City, there is a Dominican-American running for Congress in a District that has a large population of Puerto Ricans. The local papers are all identifying this District as the Hispanic District, which is technically correct since a majority is of Hispanic descent.
But I’m sure this Dominican-American candidate understands that for him to be successful in this Harlem Congressional district, he needs to transcend his culture and reach out to voters based on another commonality — language. This marketing outreach will work for this candidate because Spanish is a common thread in that Congressional District, but it doesn’t always work for reaching Hispanics, like myself.
Many of the multi-nationals are trying to reach the Hispanic consumer with big ad buys on Spanish TV, which is another marketing misconception. Hispanics don’t all watch Spanish TV. If you’re trying to reach second-generation Latinos, throw out that playbook, because they’re all watching English TV and the demographics support this.
So what does this all boil down to? Give me the straight-talk in how to reach Hispanic consumers.
Actually, there is no magic formula. Hispanics are not a black or white issue or race, but if you are trying to reach them as a whole, take a step back and try to slice up the group a bit.
Do you want to reach immigrants or second-generation Latinos? Do you want to unite Hispanic voters around a border issue? Are you trying to sell a product that appeals to Hispanic fathers or their sons? It still boils down to demographics, but in the case with Hispanics, you have two additional factors to unite them: language and family.
Mark Macias is the co-founder of BigBirdFans.com. He produces social media videos for all kinds of clients and consults on publicity campaigns. You can read more at www.MaciasPR.com.
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