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Hispanics and direct marketing advertising

Hispanics and direct marketing advertising


Abstract

In comparison to the overall population of the United States since the 1990s, Hispanic population has been growing steadily. By 2006, Hispanic population was the largest ethnic group in United States with a total of 45 million. This counts an approximate 15% of the whole U.S. population. Census projection statistics show that this population may skyrocket and hit around 53 million by 2020. In the consumer market, projections show that Hispanic population may spend around $900 billion as a consumer group which may even surpass $1 trillion by the end of this year. More than 90% of Hispanic population uses Spanish language media. In marketing this is a clear demonstration that this is a target market that takes Spanish language as a relevant language to them. For marketers, targeting this specific and significant consumer group requires critical analysis and clear-cut market research. The corporate America should realize that in the modern day America, this “Latin Wave" is even bigger than the famous baby boomer generation.

Most advertisers, marketers and companies in United States who represent all business community sectors' attention have been captured by this population as it's the fastest growing of all U.S. minority groups. The whole country has been made aware of this minority group due to its increasing political, economic and cultural influence. Each marketer or advertiser targeting this potential consumer group must seek to understand the advertising preferences and their shopping habits. All target markets are not homogeneous and they don't have the same tastes and preferences. Different target markets favor different methods of advertising. Just because one advertising strategy has succeeded in a given market segment does not necessarily mean that it's going to work in a different one. This research paper provides a detailed account of how Hispanic population fairs with direct marketing advertising. Different methods inside direct marketing will be discussed showing how effective they are within Hispanic population.


Introduction

“Hispanic" or “Latino" simply is taken to refer not to a race but to an ethnicity or origin. For marketers, it's good enough to know that there is no monolithic “Hispanic market." Spanish is a key language for them irrespective of where they come from. Point to be noted by marketers is that previous research shows that country of origin for this minority group is the main segmentation factor. United States Hispanic market comprises several subcultures who originate from more than 20 countries including Spain, the Caribbean, South and Central America and Mexico. Out of the whole Hispanic population, 63% has Mexican heritage. From a marketing research point of view, U.S Hispanics don't have identical beliefs, cultures, consumer behavior patterns and opinions. Research attributes this to the different influences due to their native nation's geography, colonial origins and indigenous ancestry. Acculturation is a major phenomenon in this minority group. This is a population that tends to “adopt and adapt" to all those habits and customs they have found in the United States. They have done this without shedding their values and traditions systems. This is a clear indication that marketers would do themselves a favor by refraining from directly transferring market strategies and conceptualizations that perform well general market and more traditional consumers. Research shows that the U.S. Hispanic population is trying to get assimilated to our prevalent culture but it's possible that they will never be fully assimilated. What they have been doing is to integrate traditional and native immigrant cultures with the dominant cultures.

Direct advertising is an advertising campaign seeking to elicit an action. Such a consumer action may include paying a visit to a website or store, requesting for an order or even sending a request to be given further information on the advert. This is usually a campaign that targets a given group of consumers. There are many communication methods applied in direct marketing and these includes direct e-mail marketing, telemarketing, point-of-sale interactions and postal mail. It is an advertising campaign that requires the marketer to have an identifiable and a measurable customer response. Research shows that this is the most effective method that U.S. Latinos favor so much and thus taken to be the main one for most of direct marketing strategists.


Main body (discussion)

Acculturation is a process that has influenced the perception of direct marketing for U.S. Hispanic population. In fact, most consumers in the general market normally dismiss materials of direct marketing as junk mail. This is so contrary to what the U.S, Hispanics perceive it. They take direct marketing materials as one of the best methods in which they can be informed. This research paper shows that the Hispanic population is 3.5 times highly likely to respond to any solicitation of a direct mail compared to other non Hispanics. Relevant statistics show that 72% of Hispanic households read direct marketing and mails. Out of all the mails they receive, 60% of them are in English language. The respondent population indicated that its only 52% of the population that use only Spanish back in their homesteads. This culture has become complicated due to the continuous integration of several generations together with different countries of origin. This thus calls for the use of research and experience in order to understand this consumer market better. Using direct marketing by corporate executives in order to create a promotional campaign for this population requires sensitivity to everything that is important to them.

Those aiming to use direct marketing advertising however need to understand several facts about this target population. Latinos comprise the largest growing market in the United States. This population has been increasing for the last ten years with a 53% tally. This is five times higher the rate that the population of non-Hispanics has been growing with. As their population grows in this country, they still continue to prefer using their own language (allied-media.com, 2009). They hardly get assimilated into the English culture and language. What most of them do is to maintain their original Hispanic culture and media. The national television or national media rarely have an impact on this market but publications in Spanish language are the most influential. This research paper shows that more than 90% of Hispanic households use Spanish at home while 67% are more comfortable using Spanish publications. This is a market that is so strong since research shows that it has an annual spending of more than $800 billion. Hispanic households in United States are around 7.6 million. In each an every household, there is an average of 3.6 people. Annually, one average household spends $30,013 million. Of all the Hispanic households in United States, 1 million of them have incomes of $50,000 or even more. Out of these households, two or more people are employed full time. Those who are over the age of 18, 58% of them have secured an employment that is full time. This is one of the most active consumer markets in the united states since they have a median age of 26.5 in comparison to 32.2 that of non Hispanics. Compared to the general market, Hispanics spend $300 more annually. This is a vibrant consumer market that mostly depends on over-the-counter products. Hispanics experiment so much with the personal care goods compared to the general market.

Using direct marketing in this group requires corporate America to do more but not just going to them with the right services and products. When using direct marketing strategy, it is advisable for the executives to have programs that are culturally relevant. This increases the Hispanic customer base. It's good to understand that family is highly valued by this group. Thus, any marketing method to be applied must customize marketing events and materials in order to have this issue well addressed. A good example of a company that has used this strategy to market itself is Paniagua, LLC, a sports event marketing company which is based in New York. Paniagua annually hosts Hispanic Heritage Day in ballparks. All the Hispanic families in those targeted cities are invited to come and watch their Hispanic ball players. This is one of the direct marketing methods that one can use to have a positive awareness created in this population. Others have formed partnerships with media that use Spanish speaking markets and this makes their loyal audiences to be easily accessible. American demographics study once showed that this population mostly favors the media using first learned language. Roslow Research study shows that advertising to Hispanics using Spanish language is 45% more effective compared to English advertising. Since Hispanics prefer direct marketing than other methods, its application will only raise the brand loyalty for one's products. This calls for the marketers to use commercials that are designed in Spanish as their comprehension is 56 percent higher. These Spanish commercials are said to be five times persuasive in creation of the attitude of “intent- to- purchase (Allied-media.com, 2009).

Making a Hispanic to feel part of the family makes them to respond so well. This means that using relationship marketing is a great idea in order to create massive sales volumes and customer loyalty. Those corporate organizations extending their time to offer excellent customer service in form of relationship marketing are highly successful in this target population. Community and family ties are so strong for this group. Being relationship oriented means that personal contact in advertising is very important not only when attracting business but also to maintain customer loyalty. Direct advertising methods for U. S. Hispanic population require the marketer to know that these people have the feeling of “belonging" and “inclusion." This can only be reinforced if the marketer highlights culturally relevant themes when designing his promotions. An important extension of relationship marketing is for the companies to employ Hispanic personnel recruits along with cultural event sponsorships and in-language materials. These recruits are a very important ingredient in direct marketing as they are people who can communicate with members of this population and clearly understand their needs and concerns. This is very important for Hispanic culture as most of the customers may be looking for a familiar face or even an ally when they want to make vital investment decisions.

Creating a direct market advertising ad requires a company to look at the shopping habits and advertising preferences. This research shows that most businesses perceive Hispanics as more brand-loyal compared to non Hispanics. But it has been established that its only 20 percent of the Hispanic consumers who are brand loyal compared to average consumer. Only those who are unacculturated have above average brand loyalty. Due to this, it's advisable for marketers to pay attention to packaging, price and quality whenever they want to reach Latino consumers. After looking at all these, it's good for the marketer to consider that any advertisement should have a bilingual format as this increase the level of remembrance. Language is the most important part that determines whether the direct marketing strategy will work. Culturally sensitive colloquialisms and speaking in dialect is equally important. All dimensions of culture in advertising are so important. Companies should apply basics of common sense marketing but the way they execute the advert is the main key. It's advisable to provide a face-to-face method in addition to using a linguistic communication. This helps to create an important reflection of sensitivity to cultural attitudes and values.

Since community and family are important to this target market, it's always good to have commercials that are reflecting family union. A good example is that advert specified for adult education schools. They have been successful due to the contribution of people's family where the speaker explains how life has been better for him and his family since he attained a degree. Whenever this ad is direct and in print form, it represents the same concern and pride. Use of visuals can reflect vital family-friendly scenes (Sonderup, 2004). These are ads that can be designed in both English and Spanish language media. The major objective of using direct marketing is to have more one-to-one contact. This is what helps to build initial, short-term trust. This ends in a long-term trusting relationship with the target population. This is one of the major strategies used in direct marketing in order to win Hispanics consumers. An example in this case is where one client sends Spanish materials to the first generation. The majority of these are comfortable with it yet they are gatekeepers in family decision making. Then this is taken to the second and third generation in this household and almost two thirds of them speak English and Spanish. In the end they use English to send a piece.

Direct marketing is the main method that should be used to approach this kind of a market. This is because, its very vital to have the quality of face-to-face in most of the direct marketing as this integrates the ability to have a personal touch and most important one speaks directly to the prospect Hispanic consumer using his value and language. This becomes very essential. This is the reason why social media is very attractive in multicultural marketing. Direct marketing using social media allows different companies to have direct conversations with prospect Hispanic consumers and those who are already consumers. Companies can now engage in conversations with this target market by using the social media optimization (SMO) process. This has even been made possible due to the availability of vehicles like Twitter (which recorded an increase of more that 7 million for lat year only), LinkedIn (this has more than 40 million users globally) and lastly Face book (it's estimated that more that 60% of the U.S. population has already opened an account in it). Use of SMO platform is very encouraging to the companies as it is capable of branding a network. It can also be used to apply direct marketing techniques so that one can build customer/prospect relationships through connecting them to his brands. There is opt-in nature for all SMO. This helps to make the reception more positive as the prospective customer has already interacted with the brand proactively. This is also vey important as the brand rarely creates a hostile reaction that is evident in a “junk call" or “junk mail."

In 2005, direct mail appeared to be the most popular of all channels used by Latinos who made direct purchase responses. Online marketing and DRTV were also a common marketing method for direct marketers targeting the Hispanics. The reason why most of the Hispanics make direct purchases using the services of direct marketing is due to the convenience that they have of shopping while they are at home. Convenience is also cited as the driving force behind those purchase made online with a 56% positive responses. As more marketers continue to target the lucrative U.S. Latino market, most of the corporate marketers have found that direct marketing has been more effective than any other advertising methods. Studies show that Latino households in one week do receive less direct mail in comparison to the national average of 27.3 pieces. Additionally, there is considerable less volume in the nation's mailbox who are capable of translating this to important response rates. According to Lee and Johnson (2005), most Hispanics are today turning to direct marketing and they are attributing this to various unpleasant purchasing experiences they have come along. This is found in the study that was conducted in Chicago by DraftWorldwide. Further findings from this study showed that out of 750 Hispanics, 49% of them were not happy with the way they were treated in the stores. They said that there was lack of respect from those in the respective stores while out of the same number, 41 percent preferred buying direct since there was minimal threat than when using in-person purchasing. It is in the same survey that 94 percent of them admitted receiving direct mail and out of this, 66 percent of them regularly open them to read. It's because of the excellent executions and improvements that have been included in the mailing lists that have made many Hispanic marketers to increase their usage of direct mail to this target population. The main reasons why this is happening is due to the use of bilingual package, i.e. both Spanish and English. It has become a trend by most U.S. marketers who are targeting the Latinos to convey respect when using direct mails by featuring models and talents with Hispanic origin. Moreover, they are also incorporating visuals relevant to the Hispanic culture which in one way or the other do emphasize family using the “traditional" tropical, bright colors in form of greens, reds ands yellows.

Internet is another channel that is now commonly being used to reach the Latinos. For example, in 1996, sales volumes through Web sites hit $17 million for both goods and services. Most of these customers however came from the upper socioeconomic and upper-middle classes. Areas populated by the Hispanics have seen dramatic growth of internet sites as their demand in making direct sales have increased. As different marketers would call it, whether its “relationship marketing," “direct response advertising," “direct marketing," or “database marketing," this is a marketing method that has today been able to reach Hispanic customers personally and directly. Initially, direct response advertising started as just catalog advertising. There was even sales being made through door-to-door peddling. This is what has now been transformed to become international and a technological thrust advertising method that is working so well to win prospects and consumers in the Hispanic households. It's a marketing method that exceptionally allows people to use two-way communication. This is a major requisite in modern day's direct response advertising together with consumer-company dialogue. Direct response advertising industry has become very proactive today even in geographic borders and cross cultural arena as it ventures in electronic media usage.

Major advertising associations in the corporate America like PSA, Zubi Advertising and Direct Marketing Association have shown in a unified report that 92 percent of agencies and marketers use non-catalogue direct mail in the Hispanic market. In the same report, it is indicated that more than 50 percent of them rely on telephone marketing. Even though white Americans share a massive 70 percent of all United States internet population, more African Americans and even Hispanics have also gone online using their mobiles and PCs. This is what has made most marketers to target this population increasingly using messages that are culture-specific and language evolving from general-market campaigns. Studies on the different direct marketers who are targeting Latinos have indicated that 53.7% of all these responses have boosted their rates of response from Hispanics after using non-catalog direct mail. Since most of them wanted to remain connected to family, recent happenings and friends, they have become a more internet savvy group. In comparison to the general U.S. market, Hispanics tend to use their mobile, computer or MP3 player more frequently (Hispanic Market Weekly, 2009). It's because of the tech savvy youths who are tremendously using the internet to catch on sports, make friends and listen to music that has made internet advertising to increase in the recent years. Internet has enabled most marketers to target specific groups in the Hispanic population. This includes targeting youths who are acculturated using the YouTube and MySpace. Predictions that internet users among the Hispanic community will surge by 2012 has made more marketers to engage in internet marketing. Since 27% of all the 23 million Hispanic internet users usually go online everyday, this shows that opportunities to connect with them and make sales directly online are high. It's indicated that marketers should know that most Hispanics rely on internet to get primary data. More than 50% of the Hispanics agree that they obtain information about services and products online than from magazines, newspapers and television. A good number of them (approximately 68%) decide to go online in order to learn more on features and benefits of given brands in the market. This shows the extent to which relationship marketing is in use and preferred not only by the marketers but also by the targeted U.S. Hispanic population. That's why response has been relatively high when using it.


Conclusion and Recommendations

Relationship marketing is part of our lives wherever it's used. It's an advertising method used by non-profit organizations and businesses. This may be in church bulletins, menus thrown under doors, utility bills, coupon adverts in magazines, newspapers, inserts in bills and those small ads on the back of ATM cards and match books. Direct marketing has got a simple goal: you want the prospects to raise up hands to indicate their interest in the product being introduced. Using this method to target U.S. Hispanics has shown that it offers great results to the marketer. This is a group that is increasing in great numbers in the U.S. population with a spending power of more than $800 billion. This shows that its one of the most active consumer markets in United States. As direct marketing is being employed, it's important for marketers to understand that this is a group that constitutes of a high percentage of the youths. Moreover, they rarely get assimilated and will never be assimilated but they only get acculturated. Designing ads requires the use of both English and Spanish.

It's my recommendation that direct marketing strategies that are applied should look into the use of language. Most direct marketing principles may appear the same for all general markets but there are two differences that must be looked into. One, culture and language play a more important role and this affects the communicated message. Two, product lifecycle and acculturation issues must be taken as key to succeeding in marketing among Hispanics. A marketer must bear in mind that creativity and targeting are two very important issues. Family is important and thus should be paid attention to if one craves for success in marketing. Every marketer targeting Latinos must know that to them, the word Gratis of free is very powerful. It should be used very carefully. Any marketer must refrain from blatant use of numbers. Cultural no no's must be clearly watched. Targeting Latinos require clear explanation of the product. 800 numbers (order method) must be emphasized as Hispanics prefer it so much. I would also recommend that online marketing should be emphasized. What appeals to this market is mainly search engine optimization, social marketing, viral marketing and Email marketing. Thus, when using the above internet marketing strategies, every company interested in targeting the U.S. Hispanics must carefully test, analyze and monitor the metrics that eventually leads to development of a competitive direct marketing plan.

Just in case a marketer is advertising healthcare services, dentists, physicians and pharmaceuticals, it is advisable to give offers for lifestyle products, garden and home offers. These are things that are of high interest to the Hispanics as they are also an affluent consumer group. Hispanic direct marketing strategy must be culturally relevant if the aim is for it to reach donors. Companies must use more response historical data and demographic overlays so that a list of potential donors with a high level of response can be created. Direct marketers must be very cautious when marketing by ethnicity. Even if people are in the same ethnic group, they can't respond the same to a single offer. People using the same language do not necessarily mean that they have the same cultural heritage. Due to this, marketers must thus understand cultural heritage, response history and micro demographics if they want to target the Hispanic market successfully.


References

    Allied-media.com. (2009). Hispanic American market: Advertising - Marketing - Media - Public Relations. Retrieved on 6th February, 2010, from http://www.allied-media.com/Hispanic%20Market/hispanic_american_market.html

    Allied-media.com. (2009). Hispanic Marketing: A Critical Market Segment. Retrieved on 6th February, 2010, from http://www.allied-edia.com/Hispanic%20Market/hispanic_marketing_a_critical_market_segment.html

    Hispanic Market Weekly. (2009). Direct Marketing To Latinos, Customized By DMA. Retrieved on 6th February, 2010, from http://www.hispanicmarketweekly.com/featureArticle.cms?id=2275

    Lee, M., & Johnson, C. (2005). Principles of advertising: a global perspective. London: Routledge.

    Sonderup, L. (2004). Hispanic Marketing: A Critical Market Segment. Retrieved on 6th February, 2010, from http://www.admarketreview.com/public_html/docs/fs075.html


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