It’s no secret that the U.S. Hispanic market continues growing as are the number of companies that want to reach it. Yet, one of the most important parts of developing an effective strategy to reach the market is sometimes overlooked or minimized: building trust and brand awareness. These are critical and important steps to effectively reach the market.
Brand building is a critical first step. Having worked in sales and marketing for more than 20 years, I’ve seen how the lack of information about a company, brand, product or service can have a negative impact on customer acquisition across all industry types. Simply put, if Latinos don’t know your company or the value you can bring, you stand in line behind those who do invest in efforts to inform and engage Latinos.
The biggest opportunity that marketers have is to inform and educate potential consumers about their products or services and how it improves or enhances their quality of life rather than just going to market with a message about a specific product or service. When consumers feel and understand how a brand, product, or service enhances their life, it gives them confidence to entertain the idea about owning it. When a trusted friend recommends it, family or advisor, that confidence level increases. But how did things get this way? It very well could be linked to culture or the lack of education or information that could have been passed along from parents.
Children were meant to be seen and not heard. Growing up in a Latino family, I heard this proverb many times. Discussions about money and product purchases were always between my parents. As for my brother and I, our role was to remain silent. Not that we could have added something substantive, but it would have been helpful as an education for the future. Culturally, my parents were acting in a way that was consistent with their own upbringing. But in the context of marketing and branding, what does it mean for companies and brands? The building blocks for long-standing brands or products may not be there as the child grows and becomes an adult consumer. Thus, the recommendation to start with education and information; it can help to instill customer confidence to try a new brand. By the way, I’m not the only one who grew up in a situation like that. I hear this from other Latinos (and non) who thought it was just they, not the case.
Take an education-based approach. Perhaps the ideal starting point for any marketer may be to take an education-based role when developing plans to enter the Hispanic market. It matters not how acculturated the consumer is or how familiar they may be with the product or service. I’ve seen this first hand in my work in financial services, whether it’s with individual consumers, families or business owners. Even the most sophisticated consumers (those who have college degrees and those who earn way above the average), require more than just a message to buy, they need guidance! There’s always a need to help inform and guide decision-making; this stems across industries and categories of all types.
Educate and inform using strategic public relations, social media, and mobile. Strategic public relations, supported through mobile and social media, are a highly effective method for brand building and establishing specific narratives about a brand, product or service. While not a complete substitute for advertising, public relations content can be surgically precise through targeted outreach. It is through this method that brands can educate potential consumers about their company and product or service using a layered approach to reaching customers. Hispanics get their information from their mobile technology and are super users. Nielson (2015) found that “…Hispanics are now the most avid smartphone users around…they’re on their phones for more than 14 hours a week for app, audio, video and web purposes”.
If you’re thinking about reaching a new market or revamping existing marketing strategies, consider taking an education-based approach to either begin or supplement your communications outreach efforts. It’s not optional; strategic public relations is not the same thing as just issuing a press release, it enables a marketer to reach consumers with targeted content that one may not otherwise ever have an opportunity to deliver through ‘typical’ branding campaigns.
For an initial no-cost consultation on designing effective go to market strategies to reach U.S. based Hispanics or other cultural market segments, integrating strategic public relations into your marketing program(s), or understanding where your organization’s diversity efforts sit relative to global diversity best practices, contact me. I’m available to help you. Email: email@example.com
. Or call me at 413-279-4037.
Chris M. Mendoza, DBA
– Recently voted as one of the Top 20 Latinos in marketing in the United States by Latino Leaders (March, 2016), Dr. Mendoza is a marketing and public relations strategist and diversity practitioner with a proven track record of creating and implementing branding and customer acquisition campaigns that consistently produce double-digit business growth. With more than 20 years of experience, Mendoza has successfully built and managed teams that stem across functional areas and geographies. Most recently, he was Latino markets director and cultural brand ambassador for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). He also led the company’s efforts to reach multicultural customers and held similar roles at Nationwide and Allstate Insurance companies. Holder of a doctorate in business administration, Mendoza’s research and thought leadership on Hispanic consumers, entrepreneurship and cultural marketing are published in various academic and industry journals. Mendoza is also an Expert Panelist for The Diversity Collegium’s, Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks
, a global think tank of diversity practitioners dedicated to establishing diversity standards for organizations around the world (for profit and not for profit). For more information about Chris’ qualifications, click on this link to review his LinkedIn Profile