3 Ways to Market to Hispanic Millennials

Date: November 15, 2013

You’ve probably heard that millennials—individuals born between the early 1980s and 2000—are a generation of power consumers that your business can’t afford to ignore. But did you know that one in five American millennials is Hispanic?

“Right now, if you’re not marketing on a multicultural platform, you’re dead in the water,” says Marco Lopez, executive vice president of client services at ElementoL2, a Chicago-based marketing agency that focuses on multicultural consumer engagement.  
Here are three ways to expand your existing marketing campaign to target Hispanic millennials.
Market Via Text
Of all demographic groups in the United States, Hispanic youth are the most avid texters. A 2012 Pew Internet study revealed that Hispanics between ages 14 and 17 send 100 text messages per day, compared with 50 messages for white youths and 80 for black youths. The median cellphone user, on the other hand, sends an average of 10 texts a day.
A prime place to reach these Hispanic millennials: text-message marketing, also known as Short Message Service (SMS) marketing.
“We know that teens are obsessed with their cellphones. It’s an extension of their body,” says Colleen Wormsley, a marketing associate for DoSomething.org, a not-for-profit that spearheads social cause campaigns geared toward 13- to 25-year-olds. “Some of the cities where we have the most engaged members are cities that have primarily Hispanic populations.”  
Platforms such as Ez Texting and Mobivity allow you to collect customer feedback, send coupons and promotional news, and remind customers of appointments—all via text message.
Speak Their Language
Hispanic millennials are more receptive to English-language media than older Hispanics, according to research from MTV Tr3s. Currently, nearly 40 percent of Hispanic millennials are bilingual, which is a 73 percent increase in the past 10 years, Juan Carlos Davila, the senior vice president and general manager of the Hispanic Market Center of Excellence at Nielsen, told Convenience Store News in August.
In other words, you don’t have to launch a brand-new marketing campaign in Spanish. “You have to be savvier than just translating your ads from English to Spanish,” Lopez says. Instead, focus on a micro-strategy that highlights cultural understanding and includes straight talk, “warm” interactions and a mentality of caregiving—three traits that Hispanic millennials said they most commonly respond to in the survey from MTV Tr3s.
For example, take Verizon Wireless’ new Hispanic-centered business venture, Viva Movil. Viva Movil’s flagship store in Brooklyn, N.Y., creates a bilingual, family-friendly atmosphere for shoppers with Spanish-speaking employees to translate contract details and a play center for customers’ children. Instead of Verizon’s trademark black-and-red color scheme, Viva Movil’s employees wear white shirts and white pants with orange trim—the same color scheme as their advertising campaign, spearheaded by pop star Jennifer Lopez.
Stay Plugged in
Hispanic youth have some of the highest rates of television consumption, cellphone and computer usage compared with other demographic groups. The average Hispanic youth spends two hours and 53 minutes on his or her phone every day, in addition to five hours and 21 minutes viewing TV, according to a 2011 study from Northwestern University.
Maintaining a marketing campaign on these platforms is a great way to engage Hispanic millennials. More than half of Hispanic millennials report going online to learn more about a product after watching a TV commercial about it, and 51 percent share product information on social media, according to a 2012 report from AdAge Insights and Univision.
“One of the keys to a successful marketing strategy is understanding what this population’s vision is and how they consume your product,” Lopez says. Databases such as Simmons and Scarborough can provide insight to how your Hispanic millennial consumer base shops, consumes and views media. With that information in mind, you can then alter your marketing materials on certain media to cater specifically to Hispanic youth.
“The Hispanic market is the way of the future,” Lopez says. “You have to ask now: How are we going to talk to them?”

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