Marketing starts with knowing the audience, and over the years marketers have compiled data to profile the characteristics of Hispanics. In reviewing the data, I wondered how “Hispanic” I was from a marketing standpoint. So I decided to test myself against a few key Hispanic market characteristics.
>Hispanics are brand-loyal.
Well, I’ve drunk so much Corona consistently that Cervecería Modelo should erect a monument to me in Cuernavaca. I have every album Rubén Blades ever made, even his so-so first album with Pete Rodriguez from 1970 where he was dressed in a heavy-duty hippy outfit on the cover. I’ve also read every book Stephen King has ever written despite him letting me down with the Dark Tower series finale. So sí, I’m brand-loyal.
>Hispanics like product referrals, especially online.
I won’t buy a product from Amazon unless it’s averaging 4-5 stars and obsessively research ratings on other kinds of products.
>Hispanics love social media.
I’m on the outlets but am not a huge user. I’m just not that into sharing my moods or the latest turn my unpredictable little mind is taking. I post on Facebook every once in a while, but my Twitter account has gathered cyber-dust. I do enjoy my LinkedIn account for updates about colleagues and group posts, but it’s not a huge time-consumer.
>Top online activities for Hispanics include music downloads and emails.
E-mail yes, but I still stubbornly collect salsa LPs so downloads aren’t a big deal for me.
>More than 75% of Hispanics read magazines.
I enjoy Entertainment Weekly, GQ, Esquire and Vanity Fair. I’ll occasionally flip through my wife’s Vanidades, but I keep wanting to overhaul its design, so it’s hard for me to read. Spanish-language magazines grab me less with their content, so I read less of them. While I like the way People en Español reads and its editing is superior, I don’t care much about chismografía relating to soap opera stars, reggaetoneros and pop ballad singers.
>Most Hispanics read and are loyal to Spanish-language newspapers.
My americano side rears its head once again: I read the Miami Herald but not as much of El Nuevo Herald or El País. The overall content mix of the Herald grabs me more, though I’d probably check El Nuevo Herald for entertainment options because my interests in that area skew more Latin than American. In other words, I’m a big salsa fan but techno and house attack my central nervous system like anthrax spores.
>Hispanics love Japanese cars.
Studies show that the top 3 car brands among Hispanics are Toyota, Honda and Nissan. Every car I’ve ever owned has been Japanese. Blame Consumer Reports and me watching my father fixing—and re-fixing—American-made cars in the 1970s for my distrust.
>Hispanics of all language levels watch a surprising amount of Spanish-language TV.
I’m fluent in both languages, but I’ve never been a huge fan of Spanish-language TV. Why? TMT: too much tragedia, especially on the novelas. I have enough problems without worrying about those of people who don’t even exist.
Latin variety shows are a little better, but not quite to my TV taste, since I was raised on a weird combination of Happy Days, Cheers and ¿Qué Pasa USA?. However, my wife, who grew up in Cuba, doesn’t miss her soap operas. So I end up exposed by osmosis to Rubí, La fea más bella, Hasta que el dinero nos separe and other novelas. I am initially contemptuous every time she starts watching a new novela, but I usually end up getting sucked in by the storyline. And boy was I mad that Marcos, the bad guy on Hasta que el dinero nos separe, didn’t get punished enough. Also, Lety on La fea más bella totally picked the wrong guy. Fernando is a narcissist. Aldo was a much better option. See what I mean about getting sucked in?
Hispanidad Test Results
En fin, how Hispanic am I from a marketing standpoint? Not sure, but enough to give marketers a headache. Toyota could reach me with ad on Hasta que el dinero nos separe but not with one in People en Español, a Spanish-language newspaper or in social media. To make matters worse, I love salsa music but not the formulaic variety played on Spanish-language radio, so Toyota is unlikely to reach me there. But they’ll probably still get my business, anyway, because I’m so brand-loyal.
Besides showing my inherent bicultural weirdness, this exercise also shows how elusive bilingual and English-dominant Hispanics can be. Even when we line up with the marketing data, we can deviate at odd points that can nullify certain tactics. However, this also suggests that a broad-based media mix increases the odds of reaching the bilingual and English-dominant Hispanics because they have less predictable touchpoints with Spanish-language media than their Spanish-dominant counterparts.
So are you listening to Luis Miguel and drinking Maxwell House? Or sipping Café Bustelo and watching Cuando me enamoro? Or maybe you’re really confounding marketers. Maybe tonight you’re watching Glee, eating Cheetos and downloading the Dave Mathews Band’s greatest hits to your iPod—but tomorrow you’ll start your day by drinking mate and be glued to soccer matches on Univisión.
Exactly how Hispanic are you, anyway?
To learn more about how we can help you leverage the power of U.S. Hispanic media, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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