Opinion: Madres y Videojugadores

If you’re looking for growth today, you need to reach the vast Spanish-speaking market. This is more than a marketing initiative — it’s a business imperative.  From 2000-2009, Hispanics accounted for 50 percent of all U.S. population growth, and marketers across every category are targeting the Hispanic consumer.

If you want to reach women with children, consider that 21 percent of U.S. moms are Hispanic, and in key markets that percentage is even more dramatic. In New York, 33 percent of all moms are Hispanic. In Dallas, that figure now hits 32 percent. And in Los Angeles, it’s nearly half at 47 percent.

Marketers that need to reach young men, take note. Over the past five years, the Hispanic male 18-34 population has grown 23 percent vs. just 2 percent for non-Hispanics.

Even in a challenging year like 2009, new players targeted this consumer. General Mills significantly increased its Spanish ad investment across the portfolio and earlier last year noted a 35 percent sales increase for Honey Nut Cheerios among Hispanics. Universal Films posted record-breaking opening weekend box office results for Fast & Furious. The studio’s marketing strategy included a significant Spanish-language campaign, and nearly half of the ticket sales for the opening weekend were Hispanic-generated. 

Procter & Gamble is seeing higher growth rates for Hispanics in 21 of the 22 categories in which their products compete. We all saw the importance of the Latino vote in the 2008 presidential election, and with Census 2010 just around the corner, this trend will continue to become clearer.

Brands that want to reach mothers must also embrace “madres” as an integral part of their consumer target and communications plan. Automakers don’t just need “drivers,” they need “conductores” as well. Targeting gamers? Don’t forget “videojugadores” because they will be essential for success.

And while it might seem obvious, it still needs to be stressed that the key to building a relationship with the vast majority of Hispanics is communicating in Spanish. More than three-quarters of Hispanics choose to speak Spanish at home, including those born in the U.S. Bilingual Hispanics notably prefer Spanish-language media across TV, radio and interactive for novelas, entertainment, music, news from country of origin and sports programming. This is content they simply cannot find in English.

Reaching new consumers via Spanish-language media delivers on your challenge to do more with less — making your budgets work smarter by increasing total U.S. reach without an incremental spend.

As for planning, Spanish-language media provides an unduplicated audience and enables clients to reach new consumers. Reallocating budgets to Spanish-language media creates an immediate and significant increase in an advertiser’s total reach.

When analyzing the television schedule of a leading cosmetics brand that was achieving a 52.3 percent monthly reach of women 18-49 with a broad array of broadcast and cable networks on the buy, we found the English-only schedule was severely underdelivering Hispanic women (only a 29.9 percent reach against a consumer that overindexes in the cosmetics category). By shifting a mere 10 percent of this brand’s English-language TV dollars, the total reach increased to 57.1 percent, nearly 5 reach points or 3.1 million additional women 18-49, at no additional cost.

This analysis has been done numerous times for advertisers across multiple categories, targeting a variety of demos, and it almost always adds reach. Additionally, research shows that this new audience is more engaged and open to your advertising than English-language TV viewers. According to a Simmons Market Research Media Habits Study, Spanish-language TV viewers are four times more likely to say they look to ads to help inform their purchase decisions.

If a new English-language platform offered you mass, unduplicated reach with consumers that are paying attention to your ads, you would have already taken action. You don’t need to speak Spanish to get it. Don’t let the language barrier prevent you from reaching all your potential customers.

This marketing opportunity is more eloquently articulated by Frank Higgins, Nestlé’s president of confections/emerging markets: “It’s very, very simple. You can sit on your hands right now, continue to pursue the general market, let the Hispanic market evolve as it does and a competitor is going to take the business from you. But the bottom line is, as a business opportunity, the Hispanic market is a fantastic opportunity that comes around once in a business career.”

Based in New York, Graciela Eleta is svp, brand solutions at Univision Communications.