by Jenny Garrison Mancha
Many U.S. companies are pursuing the Latino audience for its growing size and purchasing power, but have thus far failed to make a real connection. Last week’s Maryland Hispanic Business Conference brought together Hispanic business leaders from across the state whose seminars offered valuable insights to attract and engage Hispanic consumers.
Here are a few of my top takeaways…
- Think Bicultural
The Latino market in the U.S. is a huge market with diverse and distinct segments. There are U.S.-born Latinos, foreign-born Latinos and consecutive generations of Latinos. They likely watch telenovelas and the Walking Dead! Every day, Latino Americans experience two cultures—their Hispanic heritage and their American life. This forms their identities and shapes who they are. To get the Hispanic market interested in whatever it is you’re selling, you have to tap into their complex identities and cultural experiences to truly relate to your audience.
- Connect through Language
At the conference, many participants spoke about the common misperception in the U.S. that Latinos are all blue-collar landscapers who don’t speak English. In fact, many Latinos in the U.S. work in white-collar industries and prefer their sales pitch in English. Most Hispanics are bilingual and likely speak Spanglish, a mix of Spanish and English. Check out #spanglish on Twitter, if you don’t believe me. The use of language is the way we connect with and relate to each other, crossing cultures and generations. Even McDonald’s has caught on; check out their “First Customer” TV Commercial showing great use of Spanglish and portraying una experiencia bicultural.
- It’s all about Social and Mobile
The conference presenters from Telemundo provided lots of data: Latinos are more likely to access the internet on a mobile device. Latinos make their purchases on a mobile device 65% of the time. 46% of Hispanics prefer Facebook, and they’re 20% more likely to share a post, 68% more likely to watch a video. The bottom line is that, like everyone else, Hispanics are active on social media, love video-sharing and really make use of their mobile device, especially millennials. ¡Que bueno! Here’s some Pew Research Center Data on social media and mobile internet use in case you’re interested.
- Innovation is Key
This is the age of digital overload. If you want people to click on your message, you have to make it stand out. Take a look at the BuzzFeed’s List of 50 Most Shared Facebook Posts of 2014 and tell me how you plan to make your post stand out among the rest. The strange, funny, attention-grabbing images and titles make us click. We can surely take a cue from MD Hispanic Business Conference Presenter and OpiaTalk Founder and CEO Tom Popomaronis, whose post Why You Should Shower More, has garnered over 61,000 views on LinkedIn. Yeah, I’d click on that.
What are your thoughts on connecting with the Hispanic community? Comment below or connect with me directly!
Jenny Garrison Mancha is the Outreach Coordinator at MHBE.