Experiential is Key to Engaging with Hispanic Consumers

Everyone wants a piece of the Hispanic/Latino Market, and it’s easy to see why.  Hispanic purchasing power has increased 45% in the last five years, and has reached $1.38 trillion.  The question, then, is not “why,” but rather “how” to reach this growing base.  The answer?  Experiential Marketing.

Too expensive, you say?  Couldn’t I just hire a skilled translator to dub all of my commercials “en Español,” add a little Mariachi music in the background, and scratch this item off my list?  Sure you could, but that would be wildly ineffective, as well as completely missing the point.

You see, the first thing to learn about Latinos is that they’re not really just ONE single market. They’re a collection of sub-segments based on different countries of origin, with differences in dialects as well as accents, and subtle but important differences in local social dynamics.  In other words, that same piece you just generated for the “Hispanic” market will be received quite differently in Texas than it will in Miami or New York.

Case in point, last week I was speaking to a marketing director for McDonald’s in Puerto Rico, and she told me a story.  She was sitting in a movie theater when a McDonald’s commercial came on — one of those homogenous pieces with a very generic accent — and the reception was, shall we say, less than stellar.  Next, a Burger King commercial came on, with a completely different spin, music, accent, and dialect, and it literally got cheers!  The reason?  Burger King’s ad connected with that particular audience.

This is where the experiential part comes in.  Far from being a “nice-to-have,” experiential marketing is absolutely key to navigating those subtle differences.  Experiential activations are far easier to tailor to each segment, and experiential is ranked #1 by Hispanics in driving purchases, generating word-of-mouth, creating personal engagement, and learning about new products.  It’s like comparing a shotgun to a rifle.  It won’t have the same reach as a 30-second spot across millions of homes. However, if you can spend at least five minutes on a relevant and engaging experience, you most likely have a new customer — one who will share his experience, be a brand advocate, and provide great word-of-mouth.

In addition, experiential is a major component in developing the trust and loyalty that Hispanics so value.  Bringing the brand to life in their backyard shows that extra goodwill, that you’re committed to their particular community.  It shows that they matter enough for you to get out from behind a desk and go meet them.

So the next time you’re formulating a quarterly budget, put “experiential” on the list…near the top.  It may just be the difference between leading in the Hispanic market and merely playing for seconds.

Engaging Hispanic Consumers

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