There Are No Shortcuts to the Hispanic Market

January 22, 2016

Gone are the days when if you wanted to have Hispanic costumers buy your products, you would place an ad in the Sección Amarilla, or the Yellow Pages. Just like any other market group, Hispanics have grown to be savvy, smart and very selective buyers. So, why do we keep hearing marketing directors or business owners say “Just have our website in Spanish. They will be buying from us after that.”?

According to the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of adult Hispanics in the U.S. speak English or are bilingual. But one simple strategy would not capture their minds. Why? Just based on language alone, Hispanics make up three groups: 36% are bilingual, 25% mainly use English and 38% mainly use Spanish. Now, you can start seeing why there is not a one-size-fits-all strategy to call their attention.

To illustrate the need for a clear message and intention when marketing to Hispanics, I give you the NBA. What? You thought that talking soccer would be more logical to exemplify a good marketing strategy? We are learning new things here.

For the past five or more years, the NBA has made a serious commitment to enhance their communication with the Latino fan base, and yes, everything starts with data, numbers. The league knew that only 18 percent of their fan base is Hispanic, but that number keeps growing and outpaces any other market segment. So, the NBA saw an opportunity to build their market share. They didn’t wait until it was so obvious to others.

A multicultural approach was created, where Hispanics, regardless of their language choice, feel like being an important part of the NBA. It was not just an adaptation of their website into Spanish. It has been a strong presence in social media, with bilingual blogs that speak to this segment seamlessly. The celebration of “Noche Latina,” which provides a cultural connection with this fan base. The results?

The NBA has made strides in welcoming the Latin fan, recognizing the needs and wants of this important market segment. It didn’t take a magic wand to produce the results, but a clear understanding of the message and intention to grow, and most importantly, keep this fan base engaged. Nielsen shows that 75 percent of Hispanic fans buy sports-related products. The NBA likes that a lot!

Latino viewership is up and continues to grow, making advertisers more interested in promoting their products during NBA games. Latin fans attendance is up and the league endorsement of local mini-camps is creating a strong following amongst young Latinos growing in the barrio. The NBA is not betting only on ticket or merchandise sales; it is presenting itself as a good product that speaks to the youth as well as to the college educated Hispanic.

Hispanic millennials (21-34) represent 20% of the U.S. youth. And this group is technology driven, bilingual and ready to buy. But why would they buy your products? Why would they come to you? Those were the same questions the NBA had. Do you want to be on the court or on the bench?

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