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U.S. Hispanics – 8 Things All Marketers Should Know

Multicultural Town Hall

American demographics have shifted in the last 15 years, with growth in the U.S. population being led by Hispanics Millennials. By sheer size and upward mobility, Hispanics are influencing the American mainstream through pop culture, music, fashion, sports and politics. That influence is only just starting to translate into media and marketing attention, with Multiculturalism declared the new mainstream.

“We’ve moved past why, and now we need to talk about how.”
Brian Terkelson, President/CEO MediaVest USA on understanding the Hispanic market

To help better understand the emerging Hispanic mainstream, here are the top 8 takeaways on marketing to US Hispanics from AHAA’s 2015 Conference in Miami April 27-29th.

1. Millennials are Multicultural. Millennials are the marketing ‘flavor of the month,’ but many forget that this population is also the most diverse generation in American history, with 43 percent of them (Pew Research Center, 2014) identifying as non-White. Of those, 21 percent identify as Hispanic, in the words of Peter Hall, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Heineken Americas, Millennials=Multicultural.

2. Authenticity is essential. If you want to reach this Multicultural Millennial, adding a cultural symbol or a Spanish word on an ad is no longer effective. Hispanic Millennials seek authentic and transparent interactions with brands. They are comfortable with advertising being a part of their media experience, but are critical of intrusive or insincere messaging. Hispanic Millennials aren’t bound by one language or culture. Therefore, the challenge for marketers is to reach them in an authentic way, as well as speak to their multi-faceted identities as consumers.

“Don’t talk to us, talk with us.”
McCann Worldgroup Diversity Blog, “Advertising Asks Millennials: Does Diversity Matter?” November 2011

3. Language is not as important as culture. Hispanic culture is becoming part of and transforming the mainstream. While Spanish is the 2nd most spoken language in the US, language is not as relevant as culture! According to Pew, Millennials and younger generations are increasingly bilingual. They do not choose one language over the other, but fluidly transition between two or more in their daily lives. Highly successful and creative campaigns by Target, Heineken, and Comcast that were shared at the conference all demonstrated how cultural connections trumped language.

4. Hispanics contribute to growth in the population and economy. A collaborative study by IAB and BabyCenter in 2015 shows that 23 percent of all U.S. births are to Hispanic Millennial women, and the average age of a first time mom in the US is 25.8 years old. They are drivers of US population growth, by virtue of being Millennials themselves but also by influencing the lives, language and culture of the next generation.

5. Hispanic moms decide on family spending . In addition to contributing to this unprecedented growth in native Hispanic population, according to Nielsen (Latina Power Shift, 2013), Latinas outpace their male counterparts in educational achievement, decision making on household spending, and cultural adaptability-maintaining both Hispanic and American cultures and languages.

“Latinos are expanding their purchasing power…rapidly catching up with or exceeding Hispanic males and non-Hispanic females in big ticket purchasing (homes and autos) and in the use of financial services.”
Batanga/Nielsen, ‘Latina Power Shift’

6. Hispanics have spending power-yet are under-represented in marketing budgets.“While 84 percent of Marketers believe Multicultural marketing is ‘critical to my business,’ almost 40 percent said they don’t know the financial value of Multicultural groups to their companies.”-1+1=3, Dieste, 2014

Nielsen predicts that by the end of this year, Hispanics will have $1.5 trillion in buying power. Hispanic women, 86 percent of whom say they are primary financial decision makers of their households, spend more time and budget online buying products for their families, including food, beverages, health, and beauty products.

7. Hispanics are Mobile and Digital power players. Studies by Nielsen, Specific Media, and Pew all point to greater percentages of smartphone use and multiple screen engagement in the Hispanic population. Smartphone ownership is higher for Hispanics (77%) than non-Hispanic whites (70%). Millennials lead with 81 percent penetration.

They spend more time than non-Hispanics streaming music, watching videos, reading, and shopping via their mobile devices. Add to that their greater receptivity to advertisers and brands, and marketers and agencies are presented with a prime opportunity.

8. Audio as a medium to reach Hispanics. In fact, major audio platforms like Pandora and iHeart Media (both keynote presenters at AHAA’s conference) recognize the importance of creating content and advertising that is relevant to their consumers-with 17 million Hispanics on Pandora, 3 of the top genre stations are Latin. The genre is in fact #2 in terms user time spent. iHeart Media shared similar audience data, pointing out that most of what we consider English language stations are dominated by Hispanic listeners.

Marketers need to take risks
Industry research and demographic data is in agreement on an emerging Hispanic majority that will define the mainstream-the age of the Multicultural Millennial. So how do marketers and agencies grow their business and leverage this audience?

Marketers understand that whether it’s an aversion to risk or resistance to change, ‘playing the short game’ is not going to bring the industry forward or foster innovation that feeds growth and impact.The data above is a start to understanding and marketing to Hispanics. They are the most technologically driven, mobile, and socially present population, changing the profile of our consumer landscape. An important step forward for marketers and advertisers is to create content that speaks to them, in a respectful and authentic way.

IAB’s Multicultural Council aims to inform the digital industry on the value of advertising to Multicultural audiences, and to promote the advantages that digital provides in reaching them—through education, events, and content. Join IAB on May 27th in NYC, for the Multicultural Creative Town Hall, where members and partners will showcase their best creative work, sharing insights on strategy and audiences.

And don’t forget to submit your best to the IAB MIXX Awards. The IAB MIXX Awards recognizes and celebrates the year’s best interactive advertising. Winning work ultimately serves to educate the marketplace about what works and why in digital, as well as inspire the industry by pointing to future trends.


Jessica Ramírez

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