Do you think an eighty-year-old woman is interested in an online pop-up ad to shop for cheaper prescription medicines using an app? Probably not, but her Gen X (born between 1965-1980) daughter might. Similarly, a Millennial (born between 1981-2001) probably wouldn’t look for more than two seconds at a TV commercial for a mail-order prescription coupon book.
The days of nationally marketing to a generic consumer who is between 18 and 65 years old are long gone. We now know that each generation speaks their own language and has their own problems that need solving. And thanks to technology, we have robust data about all consumer groups, arming the savvy marketer with the tools they need to target the type of consumers who will benefit from their product.
One thing this data is saying loud and clear? Hispanic Millennial consumers are not to be ignored. Here’s why.
Why is the Hispanic Millennial Consumer So Important to Understand?
Hispanic spending power in the U.S. has climbed to $1.5- $1.7 trillion annually, according to Santiago Solutions Group. This buying power is expected to grow by 50% in the next five years. In fact, if the Hispanic market were a country, it would be the world’s 11th largest economy, says Mike Valdes-Fauli, president and CEO of Pinta.
Add the fact that 42% (22.7MM) of the total U.S. Hispanic population are Millennials, and that they make up 27% of the United State’s Millennial generation as a whole, and the picture becomes clear: ignoring this demographic in marketing efforts is bad business.
Before you start searching the Internet for a website translating service, there are some things you should know.
Introducing the Hispanic Millennial Generation
Hispanic Millennials in the U.S. live biculturally. They may live a Latino lifestyle, but only watch TV in English. Experiencing life through the lens of two cultures can be a challenge when it comes to decisions about family, career, food, language, religion, and more.
Many feel the need to fit into mainstream culture, but also want to maintain their cultural identity. In fact 67% of Hispanic Millennials surveyed want to stand out as Latino, yet only 47% say they feel close or somewhat close to their culture, accordingly to research for *The Hispanic Millennial Project (HMP). There is a gap here that is indicative of the challenges of living between two cultures.
Hispanic Millennials have a more optimistic outlook on their lives and the future of the United States than non-Hispanic Millennials, reports HMP. They even show support for the “American Dream” that their predecessors in Generation X have long abandoned.
With this comes a demographic that values education. The HMP reports that 42% of Hispanic Millennials (as opposed to 23% non-Hispanic Millennials) believe that getting an advanced degree is a strong indication of success. Pew Research reports higher college enrollments than non-Hispanic Millennials.
Also inline with the American Dream is an entrepreneurial spirit. The National Hispanic Consumer Study by Experian Summons found that 52% of Hispanic Millennials want to one day start their own businesses. The fact that they tend to carry $10,000 less debt than non-Hispanic Millennials will help!
The last characteristic important about Hispanic Millennials is that they tend to be family-centric. They are more likely to want kids, and 44% not only live with their parents, but also significantly contribute financially.
With all of those characteristics in mind, what is the best way to reach them as consumers? Unfortunately, it will take more than translating your current marketing materials into Spanish if you want to be successful with Hispanic Millennials. And that’s not just because the translation may be incorrect.
“Many companies think that replaying a commercial in Spanish equals effective marketing, as if that’s the only difference between Latino and Anglo households.”—Elli Bishop
The California Milk Processor’s Board learned this the hard way. They didn’t consult a Spanish speaker when they translated their famous “Got Milk?” campaign for the Hispanic market. Guess what their translation actually said… “Are You Lactating?” Cringe.
A better idea than translating your slogan into Spanish and calling it a day, is to learn about your target customer and use that knowledge to inform your marketing strategy. Based on what we know about Hispanic Millennials, here are six tips for successful marketing to the Hispanic Millennial demographic.
Six Tips For Marketing to Hispanic Millennials
TIP ONE for Marketing to Hispanic Millennials:
Don’t Just Sell Your Product and Leave
Gerry Rojas, director of Hispanic marketing with the Urban Concepts division of US Concepts, says with this demographic, you can’t just sell your product and leave. Instead you need to take the time to develop a program.
He uses the example of a successful Jose Cuervo tequila campaign aimed at the Hispanic market, which was a U.S.-wide talent search for urban Latino musicians. This campaign showed the target customer that the brand actually cares about who they are. Sure it’s a marketing campaign, but it also contributed to the Latino community.
In return for showing you care about their demographic, you earn brand loyalty. Latinos are known to be very loyal customers.
TIP TWO for Marketing to Hispanic Millennials:
Bicultural Hispanic Millennials may read books in Spanish and only watch movies in English. They may celebrate Christmas in the American tradition and New Year’s Eve in the Cuban tradition. Whatever it is—they are hopping from one cultural reality to another sometimes unknowingly.
This means advertisements geared toward Hispanic Millennials don’t have to feature only Latino celebrities or musicians. Likewise, an advertisement not specifically geared toward Hispanic Millennials can have background music by Enrique Iglesias and the ad has the potential to reach both markets.
An example would be a retail advertisement for formal dresses to be worn for the popular Latino tradition of celebrating a girl’s fifteenth birthday, known as her Quinceanera. The commercial advertisement could feature a young woman dancing in the midst of a large celebration wearing her Quinceanera dress, but the band playing on stage is an American pop band. There may be traditional Latino cake on the table, but another table is full of American food options.
Incorporating biculturalism into marketing campaigns makes things less black and white and more relatable to Hispanic Millennials. By reflecting aspects of both cultures, they can see more clearly how your product or service will fit into their lives.
TIP THREE for Marketing to Hispanic Millennials:
Don’t Use Stereotypes
Stereotyping is always a bad idea. However, sometimes stereotypes linger in marketing messages because of poor attempts at humor, lack of creativity, or just plain ignorance.
One glaring example of using stereotypes in marketing can be seen in the Burger King advertisement for their “Texas Whopper” – which they describe as “the taste of Texas with a little spicy Mexican.” The commercial features a very short Latino character in a Mexican wrestling costume (for no reason) made with the colors of the Mexican flag. An Anglo looking man in full cowboy garb moves in with him and helps him reach tall things. I don’t think we have to go into all the stereotypes here. Burger King must have believed this was funny, but all it ended up being was a mash up of offensive Hispanic stereotypes. You can watch the advertisement below.
No demographic wants to be put in a box and viewed as separate from the mainstream. A great way to avoid stereotyping is to focus on the real values, wants, and needs of Hispanic Millennials when crafting messaging.
TIP FOUR for Marketing to Hispanic Millennials:
Stick to English More Often Than Not
It might seem obvious to target Hispanic Millennials in Spanish but the statistics say otherwise. The HMP reports that 92% of those surveyed in the 18 to 34 age group said they are more likely to respond to marketing displayed in English. Additionally, when Millennial Latinos read magazines or visit websites, English predominates.
This is not to say that marketing to Hispanic Millennials should never be in Spanish. Remember, they are bicultural. Advertising only on Telemundo isn’t the best way to reach this demographic.
TIP FIVE for Marketing to Hispanic Millennials:
Consider the Family
While Hispanic Millennials may want to make it on their own, they are more likely to still be living in their parents’ home. Not only that, but they are significantly contributing to the family income. They see themselves as part of their families and communities, not as an individual separate from the rest.
How will your product or service benefit the family? Does your messaging align with family values? These are a few good questions when deciding how to market to Hispanic Millennials.
TIP SIX for Marketing to Hispanic Millennials:
Check out these statistics from Adroit Digital’s study, Hispanic Online Shopping Habits and Views on Digital Advertising:
- Hispanics send and receive text messages more than any other ethnic group—on average 941 text messages per month.
- 40% of those surveyed in the 18 to 34 age range said that mobile is the advertising medium that most influences a purchase decision.
- 50% of Millennials use smart phones as they shop to look up reviews.
Those are just a few of many statistics pointing to the simple fact that mobile marketing should be a priority.
When you dive deeper into learning about and marketing to this demographic, it’s important to remember that “Hispanic” and “Latino” are terms that represent a lot of different cultures, all with their own customs. Because of that, if you are not advertising to a niche market, tip two (be bicultural) is particularly important. Regardless of origin, or whether they are foreign born or U.S. born, most Hispanic Millennials in the U.S. are living biculturally.
PS-Here’s a quick bonus fact: the United States is the fifth largest Spanish-speaking nation, behind Mexico, Spain, Columbia, and Argentina. This fact alone is enough motivation to switch your marketing machine into high gear when it comes to Hispanic Millennials.
Have you seen any commercials geared toward Hispanic Millennials that were good? How about ones that rubbed you the wrong way? I’m curious what you’ve seen that works or doesn’t work and why, from your perspective. Leave me a comment below, send me an email, or let’s chat on Twitter.