To court Hispanics, be precise and culturally sensitive

Articles
August 21, 2009

To court Hispanics, be precise and culturally sensitive

To court Hispanics, be precise and culturally sensitive

Want more sales from America's largest minority (48 million households)? The ones with larger households (3.7 vs. 2.7), younger median age (27 vs. 39), and lots of buying power ($1.2 trillion by 2011)?

For brands to fulfill their sales potential with Hispanics, build marketing strategies and execute against insights on Hispanic moms, urged Barb Wilson, Senior Manager of Consumer Insights for Multi-cultural Marketing at General Mills, and Paul Flugel, VP of Marketing ROI at Nielsen, in their presentation, Maximize Your Hispanic Media Spend: Cultural Considerations You Need to Know, at the recent Nielsen Consumer 360 Conference.

General Mills aims to close its own $1 billion sales gap, a figure that reflects its sales index with Hispanic consumers at a mere 51 on a scale of 100. While the diversified food marketer enjoys Hispanic household penetration and awareness in the 80-90 percent range in ready-to-eat cereals and yogurt, it tethers in the 20-40 percent range in the rest of its categories.

Using an upbeat platform, Que Rica Vida (What an enriched/wonderful life!), General Mills taps into the cultural desires of Hispanic moms, who want to succeed as mothers but need help navigating the new challenges of life in the United States. "The platform has grown Hispanic retail dollar sales nationally by more than six percent in fiscal 2008 and more than 10% in fiscal 2009," said Ms. Wilson.

While marketing to Hispanics in-store, online and in mass print and broadcast media, the company has learned:

  • Emphasize the product name and package, because many U.S. brands aren't known in the consumers' homelands, and their sophistication with the English language may be lacking. For example, Hispanic consumers don't differentiate between Honey Nut and Yellow Box Cheerios.
  • Multiple touch points (such as television, magazine and cell phone ads, website, retailer and educational events, in-store pallets and signage, recipes and coupons) raise effectiveness and demand.
  • Advertising that compares brands is considered rude, and is therefore less effective with Hispanics. Ads that focus on a single brand, as well as recipes and meal preparation, tend to be received well.
  • Since Hispanic consumers may not view brands the same way as general market consumers, advertising may impact more products.

The volumetric and ROI impact of a brand's Spanish-language media can be quantified, but measuring the media mix is a challenge, Mr. Flugel explained. One of the most significant investments, it is nonetheless "buried in a brand's overall sales volume. It can't simply be seen in monthly sales tracking data. It requires analytic technique such as marketing mix modeling to precisely quantify it," he noted. Since what matters most is Spanish-language media weight against stores, it would be an error to "simply analyze Hispanic media execution and sales at the national level."

Summing up, he urged that CPG evaluate their market investments in Hispanic consumers "on more than a near-term basis, since they are a rapidly growing consumer group. If near-term ROI for a Hispanic marketing effort is close to that for general market efforts, this is an excellent result." Want more sales from America's largest minority (48 million households)? The ones with larger households (3.7 vs. 2.7), younger median age (27 vs. 39), and lots of buying power ($1.2 trillion by 2011)?

For brands to fulfill their sales potential with Hispanics, build marketing strategies and execute against insights on Hispanic moms, urged Barb Wilson, Senior Manager of Consumer Insights for Multi-cultural Marketing at General Mills, and Paul Flugel, VP of Marketing ROI at Nielsen, in their presentation, Maximize Your Hispanic Media Spend: Cultural Considerations You Need to Know, at the recent Nielsen Consumer 360 Conference.

General Mills aims to close its own $1 billion sales gap, a figure that reflects its sales index with Hispanic consumers at a mere 51 on a scale of 100. While the diversified food marketer enjoys Hispanic household penetration and awareness in the 80-90 percent range in ready-to-eat cereals and yogurt, it tethers in the 20-40 percent range in the rest of its categories.

Using an upbeat platform, Que Rica Vida (What an enriched/wonderful life!), General Mills taps into the cultural desires of Hispanic moms, who want to succeed as mothers but need help navigating the new challenges of life in the United States. "The platform has grown Hispanic retail dollar sales nationally by more than six percent in fiscal 2008 and more than 10% in fiscal 2009," said Ms. Wilson.

While marketing to Hispanics in-store, online and in mass print and broadcast media, the company has learned:
•    Emphasize the product name and package, because many U.S. brands aren't known in the consumers' homelands, and their sophistication with the English language may be lacking. For example, Hispanic consumers don't differentiate between Honey Nut and Yellow Box Cheerios.
•    Multiple touch points (such as television, magazine and cell phone ads, website, retailer and educational events, in-store pallets and signage, recipes and coupons) raise effectiveness and demand.
•    Advertising that compares brands is considered rude, and is therefore less effective with Hispanics. Ads that focus on a single brand, as well as recipes and meal preparation, tend to be received well.
•    Since Hispanic consumers may not view brands the same way as general market consumers, advertising may impact more products.

The volumetric and ROI impact of a brand's Spanish-language media can be quantified, but measuring the media mix is a challenge, Mr. Flugel explained. One of the most significant investments, it is nonetheless "buried in a brand's overall sales volume. It can't simply be seen in monthly sales tracking data. It requires analytic technique such as marketing mix modeling to precisely quantify it," he noted. Since what matters most is Spanish-language media weight against stores, it would be an error to "simply analyze Hispanic media execution and sales at the national level."

Summing up, he urged that CPG evaluate their market investments in Hispanic consumers "on more than a near-term basis, since they are a rapidly growing consumer group. If near-term ROI for a Hispanic marketing effort is close to that for general market efforts, this is an excellent result."