The U.S. Hispanic population has always been a challenge for U.S. marketers. On the one hand, the segment is massive and growing 62.8 million people who now wield $978 billion in purchasing power, more than any other minority demographic. On the other, it's incredibly diverse including communities with cultural roots in Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and others.
To get a better understanding of how marketers should approach campaigns that target this segment, we spoke to Marián Lozano, Associate Media Director for Zubi, a leading marketing agency that manages Hispanic marketing efforts for global brands. Here's what she said.
The Hispanic audience is often spoken about as a single segment, but in reality, it is incredibly diverse. What are some of those nuances and how does Zubi address them when creating ads and buying media?
One of the first things we do before putting together any plan or creative for clients is to identify the specific target audience beyond just "Hispanic". Using this as a starting point allows us to find those nuances within Hispanic audiences and align creative and media to connect with them.
At present, are the current marketing tools able to handle the nuances of multicultural marketing?
While there might be more than expected, there is certainly more work to do to ensure that marketing tools are expansive and inclusive enough to inform marketers about multicultural audiences, specifically as it relates to the sub-audiences within these multicultural groups.
Have there been occasions where you've had to work with vendors whose product wasn't really able to meet those needs? How did you overcome that challenge?
There have been numerous occasions where we're simply not able to consider vendors because they are either unable to reach Hispanics or reach the specific Hispanic audience we are interested in targeting. What we always try to do is continue to communicate what the client needs and requirements are to see if there's a work-around. Sometimes this challenges the vendors to make adjustments on their end to ensure that this audience can be reached within their platforms.
Do different populations have different brand safety guardrails? If so, what are they? If not, what are typical guardrails and topics brands should think about when talking to the market?
Generally, I wouldn't say this is very different from any brand safety guidelines. That being said, understanding the specific audience and their cultural nuances, their values, their language could all impact these guardrails.
What part does context play here? Spanish language media is an obvious choice for the market, but are there other contextual considerations?
This goes back to that specific audience, which is what will dictate the best contextual alignments for that target. Is your target more Spanish Dominant or English Dominant or Bilingual? What are some passion points that pop for the target? What are their interests? All of these discoveries can help to frame contextual considerations when developing a plan.
GumGum believes creative messaging and context, together, can deliver real relevance, and this seems particularly important when advertising to diverse Hispanic audiences. What are some of those nuances and how does Zubi combine creative ads and media buying to deliver true relevance?
Because of the diversity within the Hispanic audience, creative and media very much need to align in order to address any marketing challenge. One of the benefits that we can offer our clients who work with Zubi on both creative and media is that we are able to deliver a very holistic view of how creative and media work together to address their business objectives against this audience. Doing so, we believe, ensures the most relevancy among the target.
As a parting thought, what are three things advertisers should consider when taking on multicultural audiences?
I would say that the first thing is to dig deep and not simply try to address Hispanics or Asians or African Americans. Multicultural audiences are so incredibly diverse and while there are some similarities across the board, finding that niche audience within these groups is going to offer the best results for advertisers.
Secondly, if you're going to address multicultural audiences, do it well. I find a lot of times that advertisers want to address these audiences but then don't want to make the necessary budgets available. Because these audiences are so diverse and so important, they often require adequate investments in order to address those niche sub-audiences. Addressing them in a broad way or in a minimal way will only get you so far.
Finally, and most importantly, be respectful of the target's cultural nuances. And I think this goes back, again, to finding that specific target within these audiences. There are words, phrases, images, colors, that can mean completely different things to different groups. Knowing your target well, understanding their culture and taking the time to research what they are about, what they value, will not only help to connect with these audiences in a real way but also make your message stand out and resonate.