Receta for a Relationship: 5 Special Ingredients to Help You Connect With Hispanic Consumers
As marketers, we are often guilty of planning, thinking, structuring—and then planning some more. After all, it’s part of our jobs to analyze the consumer market and deliver targeted messaging in a way that will effectively resonate with a specific audience. But what if we stepped back a moment and took a look at the bigger picture? What if, instead of leaning on our knowledge of marketing statistics and data, we took a look at Hispanic consumers and considered the things that are really important to them when it comes purchasing products and services?
When it comes down to it, all we really want to do as marketers is make a connection with our consumers, but for many, that’s easier said than done. We’ve all seen the brands that have either tried too hard—or not hard enough—when it comes to connecting with Hispanic consumers. And just as clearly, we’ve taken note of the winners who stand out clearly when they really hit the mark with their messaging, their imagery, and their overall campaigns. So what’s the difference? What makes one brand or marketing strategy more successful than another? What makes one message ring true while others hit a sour note?
When it comes to connecting with Hispanic consumers, dealerships first need to understand how to make the marketing journey more about people and connections and less about numbers, business, and data. Take a few moments to let that sink in.
If you’re still reading (and hopefully you are), it’s a good sign you already know a little—or a lot—about the Hispanic culture and you’re anxious to make an authentic connection with the consumers your dealership serves. If you’re in shock at the mere thought of setting numbers aside and focusing on feelings, rest assured we’re not asking you to throw business sense out the window; we’re simply going to take a look at things from a different perspective. And in order to do that, we’ll need to first take a look at the Hispanic culture as seen through a less data-driven lens.
Every modern dealership knows the importance of marketing to Hispanic consumers. After all, they represent an economic powerhouse, with current spending reaching over $1.5 trillion per year. This amount continues to increase, and Hispanic shoppers have shown us their preferences lean unequivocally toward businesses that present them with authentic, meaningful solutions that take into consideration the richness of their culture, the importance of their traditions, and the strength of the bonds that link families and friends in Hispanic communities. As the singer and cultural icon Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Perez, said, “You can try to invade, but it’s not a culture you invade. It’s a culture that lets you in.”
The Receta—Your Recipe for Success
There’s no question as to whether dealerships should be focused on multicultural marketing strategies. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” The Hispanic population in the U.S. continues to grow, and companies not marketing to this demographic will see themselves flounder as a multicultural and multifaceted marketplace moves swiftly past them. But as you’ve just read, the relationship with your Hispanic consumers is one that can’t be forced; instead it’s one that must be created over time and cultivated to reflect trust and a respect for the importance of culture and customs.
While the Hispanic population in the U.S. is now primarily second-generation, it’s important to note some similarities between first-generation and second-generation Hispanic consumers that affect the way companies choose to communicate. For example, although second-generation Hispanic shoppers tend to be U.S. born and bilingual, they are very focused on the role of their ethnicity in advertising and how they are portrayed when targeted in marketing campaigns. It’s common for businesses to set a primary goal of providing Spanish-language translation, but it’s key to note that while primarily first-generation Hispanic consumers are focused on seeking content in Spanish, bilingual second-generation consumers are less focused on language and more focused on overall identity.
So, what should you do? What’s the secret sauce? The secret is there is no one single secret. Every individual is unique, and every Hispanic community is unique. There are 21 countries in the world that list Spanish as the official language, each of which is represented to some degree within the U.S., which makes for a variety of diverse Hispanic communities throughout the country. There is no ONE right way to communicate and connect; however, there are 5 Special Ingredients you can keep in mind to help you along the way:
- Celebrate heritage and history. Hispanic consumers appreciate businesses that recognize the importance of their cultural background. The efforts you put in when it comes to including what’s important and taking the time to celebrate their individuality and values will go a long way toward earning shopper trust.
- Be authentic. The time you spend getting to know your intended audience will shine through in your authenticity, which is a huge determining factor when it comes to consumer decision making, especially in the Hispanic community. Authentic messages will reach consumers on an emotional level and connect with them to deliver an experience, rather than simply selling them products and services.
- Language is important. Whether your intended audience prefers Spanish, English, or a combination of both, the choice of language is key to your marketing message. This is why it’s extremely important for you to get to know your audience and learn their preferences. No matter the language, it’s important to ensure your content is culturally relevant and helps you connect with shoppers on their comfort level.
- Don’t try too hard. That’s the fastest way to sound inauthentic, and it’s also usually a quick road to launching marketing messages that don’t resonate. When you sound natural and interact conversationally with your consumers, they’ll understand you truly want to be there and are making an effort to understand what they need. Get to know your consumers—and then interact, engage, and share with them via social media platforms.
- Embrace diversity. Only 34% of U.S. Hispanics are foreign-born, which means the remaining percentage are U.S.-born; and while 35 million Hispanic individuals claim Spanish is their dominant language, there is still a solid 25% who are English-dominant, and a higher percentage still—36%—who are bilingual. Add to that the diversity that comes from different countries of origin, a passionate spirit for innovation and change, and various cultural celebrations—and it’s easy to see the diversity in the U.S. Hispanic population. Successful marketers will embrace this diversity, rather than attempt to group individuals into one large population segment.
Multicultural Marketing Is Innovation
You would never place stock in a person who told you to turn your back on innovation; in fact, you’d know immediately it would be the wrong thing for your business. Innovation keeps businesses moving forward; it keeps things from stagnating. And that’s why it’s important to continually be aware of key elements that drive innovation for your business. In order to stay ahead and thrive in the marketplace, you must innovate—and planning your multicultural marketing strategy is part of innovation.
As multicultural groups throughout the U.S. continue to grow and flourish, it’s important to ensure your dealership is working toward an inclusive marketing plan that embraces the traditions and history that are woven throughout various cultures. Only by doing this will you create a meaningful relationship with your Hispanic audience. Every day, professionals and businesses look to leaders in the marketplace for examples of great ways to empower and encourage consumers who are looking for authentic brands. This is your opportunity to be a leader, to innovate, and to encourage others to reach out to consumers with strong multicultural marketing plans. The mainstream market in the U.S. has quickly transformed into a multicultural opportunity for businesses who are ready to innovate and reach out to form meaningful consumer relationships.
Back to the Drawing Board
No company gets everything right on the first try; you’ll likely go back to the drawing board multiple times as you work to convey timely, relevant, and meaningful messages. But here’s the thing: you’re moving in the right direction, and as your business moves forward, you’ll find consumers gravitating toward you because of your thoughtful approach and because of the relationships you’re creating. Mistakes will be made, and you’ll learn in the process. Do your best to really—REALLY—get out there and get to know your audience. Learn who will be hearing your message, learn the things that matter to them, learn what’s needed when it comes to the products and services you offer, and then meet consumers with the very best version of your brand. That is authenticity.
It can be difficult to step back and let it be about the feelings that accompany our marketing messages, and it’s tougher still to set aside the graphs and spreadsheets and take a look at relationships. However, when it comes to Hispanic consumers and creating a bond that will earn loyal shoppers, it really is all about getting to know our consumers and building solid, lasting relationships based on trust and authenticity.