Many companies are trying to reach out to the Hispanic market as a venue to grow their business. But they haven’t been successful. At a recent national conference, a marketing executive shared with me that his company has been very proactive in the community but they haven’t seen a substantial ROI yet.
I asked him what a ‘proactive involvement’ meant to him. He said that his company had bilingual employees on staff and that they were sponsoring a couple of Hispanic events during the year. When I asked him what type of support his company was giving to his bilingual sales team, he said they spend millions of dollars in advertising each year. So, he thought that they were penetrating the Hispanic market through their general Anglo marketing efforts. This is a common misunderstanding.
Hispanics are the second largest consumer market in the USA. You must have a multicultural strategy and plan in place to succeed. The Hispanic market is not homogeneous. You cannot capitalize on this economic powerhouse by using the same old blanket campaign approach.
I have seen many companies fall short with their Hispanic initiatives because of two main misunderstandings: 1) They assume they are reaching this community with their general marketing efforts. 2) They think that by simply having bilingual people on staff that the demand is covered.
Others feel that sales will come on their own and they will see the return of investment if they just donate or become a trustee of a non-profit Hispanic organization or sponsor an event during the year. Wrong again.
In order to assure success when reaching out to Hispanics, you need to have a clear understanding of the goals you are trying to reach. You need to create a strong 3 to 5 year Hispanic marketing plan and strategy. And you must allocate the right investment to this initiative.
Here are 5 helpful tips to ensure success when reaching out to Hispanics:
Share your story in a new way:
Sometimes companies assume that because they have been in the market for a long time that everyone (including Hispanics) knows who they are. This is another reason why companies fall short. It is easy to get tunnel vision after running your company the same way for so many years. But it is time to widen your view. Look beyond what you have been doing to who else you could be reaching. There is greener grass. You just have to find the right bridge to reach it. That bridge is culturally relevant messaging. Tell your story in the right way, with the right language, and it will resonate far more effectively with this audience.
Get the right help:
Having a strong consultant or Hispanic marketing firm that understands Hispanic culture is key to your success. They will bring smart, effective solutions to help you engage this market. Having people on your team who speak Spanish does not necessarily mean that they know how to connect with this audience. I have seen the frustration of many CMOs that were using their own Hispanic employees translate their marketing materials and it was not producing good results. Cutting corners will hurt your business and your end results.
Provide the right support:
It is crucial to support your Hispanic marketing team by having the right marketing materials to represent your company in the community. Direct translations of your marketing materials will limit your success. Trans-create them. Make them more culturally relevant. Give them a twist highlighting appropriate information that resonates specifically to Hispanics.
Have the right products:
I always tell executives, people do not buy products. They buy brand experiences. Show respect and appreciation from the moment they walk inside your store. This is where you can create a strong impression that will turn their word of mouth into your most potent advertising tool.
Make a long-term commitment:
Many companies try to test the waters first instead of embracing the effort and getting a real taste of what this audience can deliver to their bottom line. It is good to start slow but you need to be committed to an ongoing effort. You have to be consistent if you truly want to penetrate this market. Build and develop a strong foundation and you will have an ongoing revenue source.
By 2050, it is estimated that the Hispanic market will grow 167%. What portion of that would you like to claim for your company?
Your success in the Hispanic market will depend in how willing you are to adapt to and embrace this community. You don’t have to change the way you are doing business. You just need to cater more effectively and efficiently to this booming audience.