Spanish Spoken Here, There and Everywhere

This post is part of a series written by zcomm interns. Be sure to check back each week for their take on the latest in the public relations industry. This week, Claire discusses the importance of knowing your target audience.

If you’ve been living under a rock, you may be surprised to learn that America’s Hispanic population has grown to more than 50 million people, meaning nearly 17% of the country is Latino.

What’s more, Latino buying power this year is estimated at $1.2 trillion.

And if you’re not specifically targeting these consumers, chances are your brand is not relevant to them…a study on advertising effectiveness showed that 38% of Hispanics surveyed found English language ads less effective than Spanish ads in terms of recall and 70% less effective than Spanish ads in terms of persuasion.

But creating a Spanish-language campaign is only the beginning.

Researching your Hispanic audience to gain understanding and insight into their culture and lifestyle is key.

I’ll illustrate the importance of getting to know the unique needs of your Hispanic target audience with two examples, one about lifestyle and another about media consumption habits – – –

While in college, I attended a presentation by a Hispanic Marketing specialist that discussed the vitality of going beyond English-to-Spanish translation in your Hispanic campaigns.

To highlight this point, she told us the story of a client that came to her agency confused as to why their product was not seeing increased sales among Latinos, even though they had created new commercials in Spanish and placed them on Univision and in key TV stations in Hispanic-heavy markets.

Initially, the presenter’s firm wasn’t sure either. After conducting some research, however, they realized that the problem was a scene at the end of the commercial where the family dog jumped on the bed, the Latino owners petted him and he rested at the foot of the bed.

…Nothing out of the ordinary here, right? Wrong. While many aspects of the English commercial translated over, one cultural difference was a major turn-off for Hispanic consumers and affected their purchasing decision: allowing a dog on the family’s bed.

This example illustrates the importance of going beyond just translating your message from English to Spanish, and really delving into the culture and lifestyle of your Hispanic audience.

When customizing your communication to Latinos, it is also important to consider the way that they use and engage with media.

Here at zcomm, we deal primarily with broadcast and new media, so the staff understands the listening/viewing habits of many different segments of our population. While working on a radio promotion for one of our clients, I learned that, while Hispanics consume every type of media, radio is the most effective way to target this population.

Did you know that Latinos listen to the radio, on average, for 26-30 hours each week? To put it in perspective, that’s more than 13% more listening than the general population.

TV is another heavily-consumed media – with the growth in our Hispanic population, Univision has become the #5 television network in the US.

I could go on and on with these examples, but I think you get the gist, and since studies show that people only read about 28% of the text on a webpage (this percentage decreases as the amount of text increases!), I’ll stop here…I know my audience 😉

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