The United States of America is a melting pot of diverse cultures. People from different backgrounds have migrated to the country, contributing to its unique blend of customs and traditions. However, the country is more like a salad bowl than a true melting pot, with each culture maintaining its uniqueness and individuality. One community that has had a profound impact on the media is the Hispanic community. The growth of Spanish language programming and outreach in radio, television, print, the Internet, and advertising has been significant. This community is also a significant and growing part of the U.S. population, with the Latin American population reaching 52 million and constituting 16.7 percent of the nation’s total population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nuances and Differences in Cultures
To connect with this growing audience, marketers must understand the nuances and differences between the different cultures. Language preferences play a huge factor in the decisions, and ultimately, the media consumption for the Latin community. For instance, the NBA recognized the growth of the Hispanic population in the United States but viewership for this group remained stagnant for some time. In an effort to address this problem, the NBA launched its first Spanish website, éne•bé•a, in 2009. The primary research revealed that this community was bilingual. Previously, nba.com/español was targeted at Spanish speakers only. By focusing exclusively on this community, the league failed to create a relationship with its larger bilingual audience.
The éne•bé•a site has articles and videos in both Spanish and English. Additionally, it highlights NBA players who have Latino roots. The launch of the website also included the creation of the éne•bé•a Twitter and Facebook page. The new campaign was successful. Results showed that from December 2011–March 2012, Hispanic viewership of NBA games increased 10% to slightly less than 10.4 million, compared to the previous year. Currently, the éne•bé•a Twitter account has more than 10,000 followers, and the Facebook page has 440,000 likes.
Latin Americans and Social Media
Latin Americans are more active than other ethnicities on social media, according to a recent eMarketer study. Facebook and Twitter are the most frequently visited sites by this demographic. However, in Spain, Tuenti is more popular than Facebook. It is a private, invitation-only website for students and young people. Facebook is aimed at a global audience, while Tuenti’s goal is to remain a small-scale regional social network. Latin Americans are actively engaging on social networks because the culture places a huge emphasis on the value of maintaining relationships with family members, and social networks such as Facebook and Tuenti make this easier.
Hispanics Impact Online
According to the State of Spanish Language Media (2011), for Facebook Hispanics make up 14.5% of their user base; figures relatively representative of the US population as a whole. However, according to the Advertising Bureau (IAB), only about $300 million was spent on Hispanic marketing initiatives out of a total projected $25 billion spent on online advertising last year. The IAB also concluded that Hispanics are “aggressive early adopters.” So why aren’t more companies targeting this audience?
Procter & Gamble is an example of a U.S. company tapping into this trend and creating a Spanish language website and online content. They launched a bilingual website that targets Hispanic women and creates a virtual community. The website www.orgullosa.com (“proud” in Spanish) offers beauty and household tips, as well as inspirational stories and information about their products. It’s designed
to celebrate the culture and unique qualities of Hispanic women. This type of targeted approach is essential in reaching the Hispanic community, as it shows a genuine interest in their culture and provides them with content that is relevant and relatable.
In addition to understanding language preferences and cultural nuances, it is essential to recognize the diversity within the Hispanic community. This community is not monolithic, and there are significant differences in language, customs, and traditions across different countries and regions. For example, a marketing campaign that resonates with a Mexican American may not necessarily connect with a Puerto Rican American. Therefore, marketers must take the time to understand the specific needs and preferences of the different subgroups within the Hispanic community.
Finally, it is crucial to recognize that the Hispanic community is not a homogenous group. There are significant differences in socioeconomic status, education, and acculturation levels, among other factors. Marketers must take these differences into account when designing their campaigns. For example, a campaign that targets affluent, highly acculturated Hispanics may be very different from one that targets recent immigrants who are still learning English. Understanding these differences is critical to developing effective marketing campaigns that resonate with the intended audience.
Diversity Within The Hispanic Community Has To Be Acknowledged
Understanding the Hispanic community is essential for any company looking to tap into this rapidly growing market. By recognizing the diversity within the community, understanding the nuances of the different cultures, and taking into account the differences in language preferences and acculturation levels, marketers can develop campaigns that resonate with this audience. With the Hispanic population in the United States projected to continue to grow, companies that fail to recognize the importance of this market may be missing out on a significant opportunity.