Four Tips for Hispanic Marketing Success

Judd MarcelloBy Judd Marcello, Vice President Marketing, Smartling 

Spring has finally sprung. We’re well into 2016, and now is the perfect time for content marketers to review which strategies and approaches are working, and which ones aren’t. With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, it’s a fresh reminder that one area that could likely benefit from a heavy dose of ‘spring cleaning’ in many companies, is their approach to reaching Hispanic consumers.

The Hispanic demographic holds tremendous purchasing power. According to 2014 U.S. census data, there are 55 million Hispanics in this country, making them the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. In addition, according to a 2012 study by comScore and Terra, U.S. Hispanics accounted for 11%, or $2.2 billion, of total e-commerce purchases made across the U.S. in the first quarter of 2012.

While often bilingual, Hispanic consumers are more likely to make online purchases when approached in their native language. In fact, research from Common Sense Advisory found that 56.2 percent of consumers consider in-language information more important than price when making purchasing decisions. Failure to engage the U.S. Hispanic community with native-language websites, mobile apps and other digital content can represent a major missed business opportunity.

Given this changing consumer landscape, engaging with the Hispanic community through localized content and native brand experiences should be top of mind for marketers. But, what’s the best way to do this? What are the keys to success? Here are four best practices to help your brand and messages resonate with Hispanic customers.

Go beyond standard translation of English-language content

Organizations have traditionally taken a simplistic approach to global content creation, viewing translation of English-language content as “good enough.” This passive tactic is no longer sufficient. Companies that wish to succeed with the U.S. Hispanic community, as well as multilingual audiences around the world, must move beyond standard translation to create engaging native brand experiences.

Content that fully reflects the way prospects and customers live, act and speak is what will resonate in every language, all cultures and any market. To achieve this, localization and transcreation (creating entirely new content for the right cultural fit) must be incorporated into the content creation process, in addition to standard translation.

Say ‘si!’ to localizing your mobile app

Not only is it critical to offer a Spanish-language website, but to truly capture the attention of the Hispanic community, you’ll also need to properly localize your mobile app. Research indicates that 76 percent of Hispanics access the internet on a mobile device, smartphone or tablet – a higher-than-usual adoption rate – which makes localized mobile content and apps an important element in multicultural marketing efforts. While it may seem like an unnecessary extra step, mobile app localization actually yields a tremendous return on investment, including a higher ranking in app stores.

Cinco de MayoLook beyond Cinco de Mayo

While Cinco de Mayo is a great time to reflect on how your company is marketing to the Hispanic community, this must remain a priority year round. And just as Cinco de Mayo offers an opportunity for companies to engage with this demographic, it will serve you well to leverage other holidays that resonate with customers’ cultures as well. Though in the U.S. the majority of Hispanics have a Mexican or Puerto Rican background, they could also have Cuban, Salvadoran, Dominican or Guatemalan roots. So, holidays such as Cuaresma (also known as Lent), Mexico’s Mother’s Day (May 10), the Puerto Rican holiday of La Noche de San Juan (June 25) or the observance of the Mexican Revolution (November 20) also serve as opportunities to connect with Hispanic customers of all backgrounds.

Learn from large brands

Some of the biggest brands in the U.S. are increasingly dipping their toes into the Hispanic marketing campaign waters. In 2014, Telemundo and Mashable announced a collaboration on a Spanish-language content hub. Kraft Foods has experimented with a Hispanic content marketing program, with efforts like ‘Twist that Dish,’ which offers content that consumers are inspired to share. And paint giant Sherwin-Williams launched an online Spanish platform targeted at the Hispanic audience in 2014. Aware of the spike in technology adoption among the Hispanic demographic, Sherwin-Williams’ goal was to connect Hispanic paint and color professionals, homeowners and designers in their own language. Their content hub integrated the new Spanish site with Sherwin-Williams social media accounts. The key take-away from all of these examples: winning Hispanic marketing campaigns are possible when you offer user-generated content.

With the U.S. Hispanic market becoming one of the fastest-growing segments, their buying power – which last year was expected to have surpassed $1 trillion – is only going to continue to grow. Reaching this important audience now will pay dividends in the long run by helping you boost brand presence, attract and retain new customers, and, ultimately, expand the bottom line.

About the Author: Judd Marcello is the vice president of marketing at Smartling, a New York-based translation management platform company.