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Moving Beyond 'One Size Fits All' Marketing Approach Could Attract Latino Millennials

First Posted: Aug 19, 2015 02:32 PM EDT
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The ever-popular "one size fits all" approach to marketing may be the biggest mistake that marketers, brands, and businesses can make, particularly when marketers are looking to win a fragment of Latinos' spending power.

The buying power of Hispanic consumers in the United States is enormous, evident by the fact that Hispanic spending power is on track to reach 1.7 trillion in 2017. Consequently, appealing to the Hispanic demographic takes more than knowing Spanish. Attracting Hispanics require an understanding of language usage based on a consumer's national origin, and how language can function to draw Latinos to a particular brand's products.

Sandy Rubinstein, CEO of DXagency, spoke with Latin Post about diversity among Hispanic consumers and the value of understanding their needs. Rubinstein explained that the "one size fits all" approach doesn't work for clothing; similarly it doesn't work for marketing. Marketing to the masses with a general marketing method is how "you miss every time.

"Hispanics, although assimilated to American culture and excited to be a part of America, have different marketing needs and different marketing communications," said Rubinstein. "Brands are starting to realize that you can address the U.S. in a certain way, but they have to customize messages to Hispanics, whether they speak Spanish as a first language or a second language. In Miami, you have a lot South American Hispanics, but in California, you have Mexicans. Marketers have to really search for what's the right 'touch point' and decide what's really effective."

Shifts in marketing efforts are most pronounced when observing how brands service Hispanic millennials; importantly, the best way to effectively appeal to the bicultural Hispanic millennial audience is to interact with them a lot and often. Millennials are unique because they've grown up in the digital age and they consume media in a totally different way.

"Where TV and radio are passive mediums, the digital explosion has created a one-on-one relationship that's maintained through campaigns. Millennials have a really unique perspective; they're the first generation that gets to talk to a brand. Before, you had to write a letter to a brand, and 6 weeks later you hoped somebody in their customer service department will answer you," said Rubinstein.

"Now, within five minutes on Twitter, you got a representative of a company responding. It's a tremendous opportunity, but at the same time, it's a tremendous step that you have to be prepared for. It's tied back to marketing campaigns. If a brand's marketing campaign has anything that's going to create a conversation: good, bad or indifferent, they've got to be ready. A lot of brands aren't ready for the explosion of conversation that millennials provide. But, what's good is that millennials will give you instant feedback. If they love your product, in two seconds you're going to know it."

Rubinstein, who has been in marketing for 22 years, also had a great deal of knowledge about important distinctions when creating marketing campaigns for Spanish-speakers who are first generation vs. Spanish-speakers who are second generation.

"For Spanish-speakers who are second generation, like myself, the Spanglish stuff really resonates. When it's all in Spanish, I tune it out, like I would tune out my mom. But, when I heard English interjected, I went, 'whoa, wait, what?' Most second-generation Latinos speak in Spanglish, and that's a really big pivot in the marketing world to really engage that second generation," Rubinstein explained. "With Spanish as a first language, you need to be more traditional, you need reach directly to that country. However, with Spanish as second language you can be a little more creative in the mix of English and Spanish, usually the second generation was born in the United States, so so you can interject some American customs in there."

According to Rubinstein, first generation Spanish-speakers are interesting because there are different nuances in the language from country-to country. A word that might be perfectly acceptable in one Latin American country could be a derogatory term in another.

Exploration of language, worlds and sentiment are required if a brand is going to attempt a one size fits all approach. At DXagency, whenever they're going to put out a Spanish or Spanish-speaker piece of content, they host a mini-focus group of nine different representatives of nine different Latino countries to ensure that they're not offending, to make sure that they're using speech that's appropriate and the words are conversational for that category.

Rubinstein reiterated the importance of catering to the Hispanic demographic. Hispanics are a large force, they have tremendous buying power and they're brand loyal. The Hispanic demographic is an undertapped and underutilized market that's eager to build a relationship with brands and "become partners in a brand's success."

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