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I am now an invisible target to brands. Having relocated to the U.S. from Latin America two months ago, I am in a buying moment. I’m in the process of setting up a new home, buying a car and equipping my life. Yet I feel as if no brands have identified me as a consumer eager to spend. This has given me a very clear picture of how poorly brands are communicating with the Latino population living in America.
As a marketer with 25-plus years working for top brands in one of the most diverse regions of the world, it is eye-opening to me that brands are ignoring an audience that will make up half of the U.S. population very soon.
From my experience, I’ve learned that in order to succeed in such heterogeneous markets we need to identify segments that are important to our brands not only today but in the future. We need to study them, learn from them, address them, answer them and always work to be welcomed into their space.
Brands should feel a real urgency for embracing the Latino population because the reality is that consumers lead and brands follow. Consumers are now in charge and spoiled for choice when it comes to brands and experiences.
So what can marketers do to reach me and millions like me? Here are five things to keep in mind.
Think strategically about the long-term
Marketing is not just an instrument of sales; it is a brand keeper and builder for the future. Too many organizations have become obsessed with the quarterly results that do not allow long-term strategies but reactions to deliver numbers. This has resulted in a focus more executional in nature that lacks strategic insight. Marketers need to identify growth areas and elevate discussion to the CEO. They need to understand this investment is strategically about their business and that courting Latinos is about the long-term play.
Use your targeting tools
We have a dearth of real insight that is thwarted by an exaggerated need for speed and lack of strategy. In a people-based marketing era, in-culture marketing is the only way to survive, and it is scarce. The good news is that we actually have the tools to reach consumers at a level of detail greater than ever before. Let’s spend less time talking about the data and shiny ad tech. Let’s generate and leverage information that actually matters.
Get to know us
To understand Latinos, study us, know our true values, our habits, our cultural references and our culture. We like brands. We like cars. We want to enjoy the things we could not afford or purchase in our own countries.
While it takes time and effort to do this, all strong relationships are built this way. And once this relationship starts, you must maintain it continuously across every point of contact. We love to experience brands everywhere our mobile devices are, which are an extension of our hands. We are connected from morning to night.
Identify and embrace our differences
Too often marketers miss the point that we are younger and live longer, that we have more children than average and that we have more appetite to buy and equip our homes to receive our families all the time. We love to live as a pack. We buy together as family because shopping is pleasure and entertainment.
Again, we have remarkable targeting tools at our disposal, but it is not enough. The most basic thing is to translate your messaging to Spanish and distribute this, in the correct tongue, within Latino channels. This will go a long way in winning over customers with relevant in-culture content.
All told, Latinos are the consumer of the future, so don’t get lost in translation. Spanish is the language of the heart. Brands must understand this. Invite us in. We will come, and we will stay. De nada.