Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What process would you recommend for the development of a Hispanic Marketing Strategy?
Successful Hispanic marketing strategies should be built upon a deep, multidimensional understanding of the Hispanic market and the Hispanic consumer segments that represent the best opportunity for your brand. While the optimal strategy will vary depending on the industry, client and product, the strategic planning process itself should include a few standard components. The first step should be a market assessment that clearly identifies the Hispanic consumer opportunity segments for your product or service. This will provide a clear picture of the demographics, geographic location, and category consumption patterns of your potential targets. The next step would consist of a targeted market research program that includes a combination of primary and secondary sources, as well as a tailored mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. These efforts allow strategists to gain a multi-dimensional understanding of Hispanic consumers within their target segments and determine their level of brand awareness, attitudes and category behaviors (users and non-users) for both your product and for those products that you compete against. Subsequently, additional consumer research should also be conducted to determine the optimal mix of media vehicles and touch points to utilize when marketing to Hispanic consumers.
The Synergia team has extensive experience across each of these competencies and will work collaboratively with your team to define what your brand should stand for and how it should go to market to successfully reach your brand’s Most Valuable Hispanic Consumer®.
Q2. How can I understand if Hispanic consumers are using my product/category and how?
Hispanic consumers tend to behave differently than the general market in their consumption of many product categories. In addition, Latinos, as a group, are not homogeneous in their attitudes and behaviors. Many differences exist among groups of Hispanic ascent based on country of origin, demographic and psychographic characteristics, socio-economic status, language usage, and number of years residing in the United States. These variables, among others, strongly influence the ways in which Hispanics perceive and utilize product categories.
Understanding the key rational and emotional drivers of Hispanic category consumption and brand preference, therefore, is essential to establishing and sustaining powerful brands within the Hispanic community. Most successful efforts to gain such insight involve a synthesis of quantitative analysis and qualitative exploratory research. This approach typically leads to uncovering actionable insights (attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, and specific consumer “language”) that can serve as the foundation for the development of effective product development, marketing and communication strategies, and engagement tactics.
Q3. How is my brand perceived within the Hispanic market?
There are a number of ways to arrive at an answer to this foundational question. Synergia recommends that clients initially conduct a qualitative assessment to establish a baseline of Hispanic perception of a client’s brand(s). Such studies tend to be quite manageable in terms of scale, expense, and timeline and can provide managers a directional understanding of the perceived strengths and weaknesses of their brand within the Hispanic community.
Once a baseline has been established, a quantitative study that captures descriptive, behavioral, and attitudinal information about your brand and those of your key competitors should be conducted. This type of study would be larger in scale than the baseline, and would identify strengths and weaknesses of the brand set. In addition, it would allow managers to explore the complex interdependencies that influence and drive consumer behavior for their brand. As advertising and promotional activity occurs, the same study can be repeated to measure any changes to your brand’s image over time. Other key measures, including brand usage and occasions for use, could also be collected and tracked over time.
Q4. Not all Hispanic consumers speak Spanish, and many speak both languages. How do I decide what is the best language to reach my Hispanic target?
While Spanish is the predominant language among Latinos, the percentage of them who are bilingual or English-dominant is rapidly growing. When developing communications in Spanish, don’t assume that a direct translation of general market communication materials will be appropriate for Hispanic consumers, or that a particular message in Spanish will be appropriate for all Hispanic segments. It is important to be aware that the meaning of many words and idioms differs across Spanish-speaking countries. Spanish-language communications, therefore, need to allow for these differences. This issue notwithstanding, it is possible to develop communications in a “standard,” Pan-American Spanish that can be understood by the majority of foreign-born Hispanic consumers.
If developing communications in English, don’t assume that your general market communication materials will suffice in reaching your Hispanic target. Even when Hispanics speak English, there are cultural sensibilities to be considered that tend to be particularly strong in certain product categories (financial, health, children products, among others). Furthermore, bilingual consumers may prefer English for some product categories and Spanish for others. In such instances, cultural relevance is what matters most (not language). Fundamentally, marketing and communication strategies must be based on cultural insights if the brand is to connect with the bilingual consumer in a more relevant manner. Within this context, language mix is ultimately secondary in importance to arriving at the right messaging that will connect and resonate with your target audience.
Q5. Do Hispanic consumers buy the same products as non-Hispanic groups? If not, why?
Generally speaking, the vast majority of Hispanic consumers in the United States are exposed to the same products and brands as anyone else. Overall, the pool of choices tends to be the same. Nevertheless, in a number of prominent categories, such as consumer packaged goods (CPG), purchase behavior is strongly influenced by cultural traditions and there are certain products that would typically be purchased differently. For example, Hispanic consumers tend to favor fresh foods and vegetables over packaged or frozen food, and they prefer eating at home over dining out. In other categories, like electronics or apparel, Hispanic consumers seek to follow general market cues in an effort to blend into American society.
Fundamentally, what makes Hispanic consumers different from non-Hispanic consumers is their level of knowledge about products and brands. When Hispanic consumers shop (particularly foreign-born) they gravitate towards the brands that they know from their countries of origin, or towards products/brands that were recommended by a friend or family member. Culturally relevant product/brand advertising can also play an important role. In addition, Hispanic consumers tend to be more brand-loyal than other groups, and as a consequence are not likely to experiment with a product or brand they know little about. This tendency is particularly prominent within groups of lower socio-economic status. Each of the distinctions previously discussed tend to be stronger among the most un-acculturated segments within lower income brackets.