Did you know the Hispanic market is the largest and fastest growing U.S. consumer group? As the landscape evolves and Latinos continue to lead in the adoption of new platforms and technologies when it comes to social media, mobile and e-commerce, we can see how a brand’s investment into Hispanic Marketing has the ability to release untapped potential.
We sat down with our VP of Business Development Brian Herlihy to discuss his experience working with Hispanic American consumers and why he thinks all companies shouldn’t overlook the tremendous opportunity to engage this budding audience.
Brian, what drew you to Hispanic marketing?
It probably seems crazy that an Irish guy from Boston is working in the Hispanic market, but I love it. I love the culture, I love the music, I love the food and I love the passion.
Can you tell us a little bit about your experience connecting brands to the Hispanic market?
I’ve helped several brands connect with the Hispanic market over the last 15 years. One of the most successful 360° Hispanic marketing platforms I worked on was for Dr. Pepper, where we leveraged music as a passion point and brought them to large scale music festivals. We ran a mobile tour targeted to U.S. Hispanic Millennials and activated hundreds of retail and sampling events. We tied the campaign into the #1 brand in Latin music, the Latin GRAMMYs, and facilitated major celebrity endorsement deals.
Yes, I’ve met Pitbull and he is the man.
That’s awesome! What was your most memorable program?
My most memorable program was with McDonalds and their sponsorship of US Men’s soccer. We hosted free local soccer clinics for Latino youth and then invited some of them to be player escorts at U.S. National team matches. It was a great success for McDonalds, but seeing how excited the children were was invaluable.
How have you seen the Hispanic market evolve over the last several years?
There has been a shift from a mass U.S. Hispanic market consisting of first and second generations who are less acculturated, to a younger more acculturated U.S. Hispanic Millennial. In the past, the numbers were there but the purchasing power of the market might not have been. Today, the Hispanic market is buying just like the general market, and even over-indexing in some categories. It’s just a matter of how we are communicating our message that makes the difference.
Why is it important for a brand to understand the buying power of Hispanic Americans?
A good marketer relies on insights and research to formulate an effective plan. Even a quick Google search will tell you that this market can’t be ignored. It will continue to grow and with this, incomes will increase and the purchasing power of the U.S. Hispanic market will be magnified.
The keyword in this question is “understand.” Brands need to know everything they can about this consumer down to a micro level. They can’t lump all Hispanic Americans into one market, they need to look at these shoppers as unique individuals and do their best to understand their unique agendas and road to purchase.
If a brand has yet to tap into the market, what steps do you recommend they take to get started?
Start with a test if need be, but do it right. The Hispanic market is extremely brand loyal if the person speaking to them on the other side is genuine and authentic. They can see right through a message that is exploitive or not in-culture. I’d also recommend making an investment; not so much a monetary investment, but a time investment. Even if a brand goes small at first, they can’t jump in, jump out and say that they gave it a shot. There has to be a sustained effort to be successful.