Hispanic American Women


Hispanic American Women

The rapidly growing Hispanic population represents a huge marketing opportunity. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 1990 and 2000 the Hispanic population grew 58 percent, compared with Asians 48 percent and African Americans 16 percent.

With its buying power growing 12 percent annually, the Hispanic market is clearly one of the most influential consumer frontiers yet to be more fully tapped. Still, advertisers have only recently begun to include this group in their budgets .

National retailer Target is one brand that has both celebrated Hispanic culture and supported its youth. In 2002, Target (along with other big- name brands like Hewlett-Packard and Daimler-Chrysler) sponsored "Chicano," a pair of museum exhibits that will travel to fifteen cities over the course of five years . In addition to the exhibits, performances and other local events, three scholarships per city will be awarded to Hispanic youth. [6]

Although the Target-sponsored exhibits may be a good example of connecting with the Hispanic community, it remains a challenge to reach the women of this market, who may or may not be tuned into TV or the Internet. Let's see, then, what may be influencing Hispanic women's views of typical U.S. goods and services.

THE BUYING FILTERS OF HISPANIC AMERICAN WOMEN

Hispanic American women have emigrated from a number of different countries , each with its own culture and dialect . Further, acculturation levels vary depending on how long a woman has lived in the United States. What resonates with a woman of Cuban descent may need to be reworked to ring true with a woman of Mexican descent. And, first-generation Hispanic American women may hold tightly to their more family-oriented, hierarchical orientations, while their granddaughters may have already developed less ethnic lifestyles and self-images.

Using the term Latina or Hispanic woman depends on her preference and whether she considers herself more liberal (Latina) or more conservative (Hispanic). As it is too hard to guess about what your women consumers prefer, the best bet may be to use Hispanic when addressing them.

The younger generations of Hispanic American women add yet another wrinkle. M. Isabel Vald s has found that many of the culture's teens and young adults are also rediscovering their roots in both their language and traditions. [7] So, the lesson is to never assume we've "got it all down" when marketing to women, ethnic or Anglo, because the next generation may well blow our theories out of the water.

No matter what acculturation level or language preference, Hispanic women in general have family and household purchases on their minds. With families that often include grandparents, godparents and other relatives in addition to children, a typical Hispanic household's consumer decisions will likely be made by a broad range of women (including mothers, sisters and grandmothers). Furthermore, Hispanics are known to make shopping a family affair, with more than a third of those surveyed preferring to shop with their families. [8]

With the majority of Hispanic Americans holding Catholic beliefs, the many Catholic religious holidays, festivals and celebrations are of great importance within this culture and for entire extended families. Interestingly, Hispanic community loyalty may not necessarily translate into shopping preferences: Only 26 percent of Hispanics say they'd prefer to shop at a local store over a national chain. [9]

REFLECTING HISPANIC AMERICAN WOMEN IN YOUR BRAND

In our marketing efforts to reach Hispanic American women, how can we incorporate and reflect the significant cultural differences we've discussed? Language and acculturation levels, in particular, seem to be key.

In the case of the older population, AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired People) has found the two issues of language and acculturation to hugely differentiate Hispanic Americans from the general fifty-plus market. [10] Senior Hispanics may have limited or no knowledge of English, and they are more likely to live out their lives in multigenerational homes rather than in assisted-living residences. [11] For these elder Hispanics, it would seem to be more important to have Spanish-language in-person customer service connections, for example, than in-language ad campaigns .

Over time, all new Americans will certainly acculturate to some degree. But, wherever these women fall in the spectrum, from traditionally Hispanic to more Anglocized, it will be worth letting these influential consumers know that your brand understands them.

Above all, avoid generalizing about or stereotyping the Hispanic American market. The major cultural and dialectical distinctions within that vast population really can't be ignored in your marketing efforts.

That said, here are a few examples of ways to ensure that you present your brand clearly through a Hispanic woman's buying perspective:

Reflect acculturation differences. Older Hispanic women, or those still adhering to traditional roles, may not pursue work outside the home. So, images of women in business suits with cell phones will not reflect the realities of these women or speak to them. And, stay attuned to the ever-present language barrier : While some 51 percent of U.S. online Hispanics prefer to use English at home, 21 percent prefer Spanish and 27 percent use both languages. [12]

The launch of PepsiCo's Gamesa USA MiniPacks was a good example of in-culture marketing, reaching Hispanic mothers where they would normally be and through the media channels they regularly use. Launched in the summer of 2002, the campaign targeted Hispanic mothers with children under age 12, promoting MiniPacks' individually packaged cookies, in radio spots, subway car interior ads and newspaper rack headers for La Raza , Chicago's Spanish-language newspaper. [13] The tagline , "Perfectos Para Llenar el Hueguito" (Perfect to Fill the Hunger Gap), appealed indeed to the emotion-driven childrearing concerns of moms.

Show pulled-together fashion and make-up. While T-shirts, jeans and just lipgloss may resonate with most Anglo women, don't assume the same for Hispanic women. Their culture includes the tradition of family celebrations and, thus, they are likely comfortable dressing up a bit, and doing so more often.

Keep family and children in mind. A quarter of Hispanics say their kids have a significant impact on the brands they buy. [14] Furthermore, their typically larger families and greater hospitality concerns may also influence Hispanic women to purchase larger quantities of food and many packaged, ready-to-eat goods.

Tap into the local celebrations. As long as you have thoroughly done your homework and can respectfully participate or involve your brand in a religious or traditional celebration (via a sponsorship, for example), such events may be a great way to raise brand awareness among Hispanic women.

Be online and buy cable television time. There are about 12.4 million U.S. Hispanics accessing the Internet from home, work or a university. [15] And, that number will grow, as Richard L. Israel, comScore's vice president of Hispanic marketing solutions, recently noted: "Since Hispanic Web users tend to be younger and live in larger households, they are likely to be more comfortable with technology and exercise influence over their family members for purchases. And importantly, they can be efficiently reached through leading Web sites." [16]

As for television habits, a study of urban women conducted by Surveys Unlimited found that Hispanic, as well as Black, women are more likely than white non-Hispanic women to prefer cable television channels over traditional networks. [17] Furthermore, Black, Hispanic and Asian women in the same study expressed a greater interest than white urban women in the variety of features offered by digital television services.

[6] Ibid.

[7] M. Isabel Vald s, Marketing to American Latinos.

[8] Simmons Market Research, 2002, New York, http://www.smrb.com. Reported in Rebecca Gardyn and John Fetto, "Race, Ethnicity and the Way We Shop," American Demographics , February 2003.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Also see the AARP Spanish-language site, http://www.aarp.org/espanol.

[11] Angela Johnson, editor, Marketing to Emerging Majorities.

[12] Study by comScore Networks, 2003, reported in Internetretailer.com, http://www.internetretailer.com/dailyNews.asp?id=8869.

[13] Angela Johnson, editor, Marketing to Emerging Majorities.

[14] Simmons Market Research, 2002, New York, http://www.smrb.com. Reported in Rebecca Gardyn and John Fetto, "Race, Ethnicity and the Way We Shop," American Demographics , February 2003.

[15] Study by comScore Networks, 2003, reported in Internetretailer.com, http://www.internetretailer.com/dailyNews.asp?id=8869.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Study in 2001 by Surveys Unlimited, a division of Horowitz Associates , Larchmont, N.Y., http://www.horowitzassociates.com.