How to Market (Authentically) to This Huge, Often-Overlooked Demographic

How to Market (Authentically) to This Huge, Often-Overlooked Demographic

What if your business could reach an ever-expanding market that has a 167 percent growth rate and is extremely loyal to brands? You’d take that opportunity to reach a wider audience in a heartbeat, right?

Unfortunately, many businesses miss out on marketing to the Hispanic demographic or completely miss the mark when creating ads for a diverse, ethnic audience.

We sat down with marketing expert Nicholas Segura and asked him about the importance of marketing to Hispanic consumers and what steps Kansas City businesses can do to reach a wider, diverse audience in an authentic way.

[[CTA]] Here’s what you need to know about Nicholas. He’s been featured here at KCSourceLink several times throughout the years. And that’s because he’s an ardent advocate for Hispanic marketing. As the owner of Segura Marketing and Media Solutions, not only does he provide marketing and talent for businesses looking to extend their advertising to a more diverse, larger audience. Nicholas also supports women’s education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) through Bonus fact: In 2013, he received the U.S. Small Business Administration area Minority Business Champion Award for his work to support growth with the Kansas City minority business community. To say Nicholas knows a thing or two about marketing to Hispanic consumers would be the understatement of the year.

Here’s what Nicholas has to say.

Why aren’t all businesses marketing to Hispanics?

I think there’s a lot of fear involved, and when you’re a brand, you can’t be fearful, especially when we’re talking about a market that’s growing at a 167 percent growth rate.

You’ve got to look at that audience differently and can’t make an assumption like, “You’re Hispanic, you speak Spanish. So we’ve got to translate to Spanish and call it good.” That’s what a lot of brands do unfortunately–they translate to Spanish and call it a day.

As a brand, you’ve got to do more. This is an audience who is looking for brands to authentically recognize, appreciate and understand the nuances of who they are.

Brands want to do it right, but that’s where the fear comes in because they’re afraid to do something about their Hispanic market. That’s what we’re here to do— help brands understand the steps to take to advertise correctly.

Let’s dive into the data. What do we know about Hispanic consumers?

What’s fascinating is that while Hispanic consumers are the largest minority group in the United States–they’ve been that way since 2003. Hispanics are growing at a 167 percent growth rate. And yet brands are still going, “We know we need to be doing this.” But they’re not doing anything. They suffer from analysis paralysis and since they don’t understand the market, they don’t do anything about it.

Honestly, there’s so much growth and opportunity there.

There’s this report that I share with people – Nielsen’s Latina 2.0 – that talks about how Hispanic women are now the leaders in entrepreneurship in the United States. For every one business a white woman opens, six Hispanic women open a business. It’s growing that rapidly. Not only that, the report also talks about how Hispanic women are the leaders in defining beauty in the United States. When you really boil it down, Hispanic women are in control of the world’s seventh largest economy.

How did you become an advocate for diversity?

My father was a photographer at Hallmark Cards. He told me when I was a young person that  when you grow up, you ought to start an agency that represents ethnic talent because they have a really hard time finding those models and it’s still true today in 2018.

At Segura Marketing and Communication Solutions we primarily focus on multicultural marketing. We will get a script and the agency will say, “Here’s our English ad, make it Spanish for us.” People think that you can plug in a Spanish word for every English word, but you really have to break apart the entire ad and recreate it.

Why did you decide to open your own marketing agency?

Years ago when I worked at Dos Mundos, the bilingual newspaper here in Kansas City, I realized that the corporate brands I worked with had no idea what they were doing when it came to advertising to the Hispanic market. They recognized that the market was growing rapidly, but they would say, “Nicholas, I’ve got $10,000, what do I do with it?” The newspaper and I would produce the idea and then the company would pay for the print ad.

I realized that the newspaper was essentially giving away ideas, graphic design, translation and cultural insights. I thought, “Why don’t we start an agency that does all of that for the clients?” But the newspaper wasn’t interested in doing that. And that’s when I started my first business.

I saw that media was changing – social media was coming, Univision was coming to town and online radio was coming. I wanted to help my clients place their media in the best possible place, and, as you know, the newspaper is not always the best place to put up an ad. Certainly time has proven that social media has been a big, big game changer, because Hispanics over index more than any other ethnic demographic in all of these behaviors: social media, technology, mobile usage, downloading, streaming–all of that.

What is the worst thing a business can do when marketing to Hispanic consumers?

The worst thing to do would be to take an ad, Google translate it and just copy and paste that into an ad without doing any research at all. There’s so much data available for surface research on how to attract Hispanic consumers to your brand.

Why doesn’t simply translating ad copy from English to Spanish work?

There’s not always just a word-for-word translation. In fact, when it comes to brochures and marketing pieces, we always tell our clients that you need to add 30 or 50 percent more space in your ad because the copy will be extended by that much.

Commercials for a primarily white audience don’t necessarily work for an ethnic audience. We had a client one time with a commercial featuring a bunch of Mexican guys playing basketball and then eating at a restaurant afterwards. We started to chat and I asked, “How many Hispanic basketball players can you think of?” The entire commercial had to be reframed to be culturally relevant.

Another instance is jingles. We were asked to translate a brand’s jingle from English to Spanish. But a jingle is a timed sequence of words that go along with music and when you translate that into Spanish, it doesn’t always work that rhyme and the timing of your words with more syllables added. You have to start completely over.

What is the best thing a business can do to better market to Hispanic consumers?

Become involved with a local organization. Right here in Kansas City there are plenty of organizations to partner with like the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City, the Guadalupe Centers (the nation’s oldest nonprofit Hispanic organization), the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation, Mattie Rhodes and El Centro.

Don’t just market and advertise to the Hispanic community, become involved. As a company, your business can sponsor an event, donate supplies or host a fundraiser. You’ve got a community that’s well connected. And when you get involved, the word spreads and they share that information when you’re doing something authentic.

How do we include more diversity in our organizations, groups and businesses?

  1. Take a look around.
    It can be a little bit uncomfortable, but honestly it’s the first thing that people can do. Look at your group, business or organization and ask, “How are we doing? How’s our cause?” Because studies show that diversity in business, groups and teams are more profitable and more innovative.

  2. Invite others to be part of your conversations.
    Develop authentic relationships with Hispanic nonprofit organizations. Say, “Hey, we’re having an event we’d love for you and your group, your friends to come down and join us. Oh, are you free that Thursday night? Great. We’ll see you there. Come on down. We have free complimentary tickets for you.”

  3. Do your research.
    Ask questions and hold focus groups. Understand how Latinos use your products and services differently than other demographics. Same thing goes for reaching out to any ethnic demographic.

  4. Consider the cultural connection to your brand or service.
    Hispanic adults are 25 percent more likely to follow a brand than the average U.S. adult and are highly brand loyal.

  5. Know the Hispanic demographic you’re trying to reach.
    Hispanic women make up the bulk of shoppers for the Hispanic community.

Want to know more about marketing to Hispanic consumers?

Read Nicholas’s other articles featured on KCSourceLink:

The Basics of Marketing to Customers Who Don’t Look Like You

Marketing to the Hispanic Consumer

Online Solutions to Connect with the Hispanic Audience


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If you are thinking about starting a business and need to conduct market research, or you have a business but need help reaching new customers, send us some info here and we will be in touch ASAP with a personalized action plan featuring nonprofit organizations in our 230+ Resource Network ready to help you at little or no-cost.

Photo courtesy of Segura Marketing and Media Solutions

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