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The Biggest Hurdle to Reaching Hispanics Isn't Language, It's Mobile

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With Hispanic purchasing power growing at more than two times the national rate, brands are clamoring to attract the attention of this lucrative segment.

Target, for instance, is sharpening its focus on Hispanic consumers with a new ad campaign featuring words with no English equivalent: #SinTraducción is "a sweeping celebration of moments, traditions, and emotions that are treasured by many in the Hispanic culture," according to Target's blog.

Target knows that Hispanic consumers aren't swayed by one-off marketing ploys; they need to be introduced to brands at the right moment in an organic way that sets the stage for a long-term relationship.

However, many brands are still scratching their heads about reaching this segment: Hispanics don't engage with brands online the way most non-Hispanics do. Hispanic consumers are far less likely to access the Internet from a desktop computer than non-Hispanics, but they're more likely to own and use a smartphone.

Hispanics use their mobile devices to stay connected with family and friends and access entertainment on the go. They're more inclined to subscribe to video-sharing apps, pay for mobile TV subscriptions, and purchase unlimited data and international calling plans.

Any brand that wants to make an impression on this segment needs to focus on the mobile platform first.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your Hispanic mobile marketing strategy.

1. Don't think that translated equals tailored

Like any demographic group, Hispanics want marketing messages tailored to them: 65% of first-generation Hispanics are more likely to try a brand if it targets their ethnicity, as are 28% of second-generation Hispanics.

Although translating your messaging into Spanish is a great first step, it does not constitute a Hispanic marketing plan. Today's Latino population—particularly younger generations—are ambilingual: They switch easily between English and Spanish. Your language mix should be tailored to the way your target audience naturally speaks.

When Marcelo Claure was named Sprint's CEO last year, he began to speak to Hispanic consumers in their own language about Sprint's commitment to delivering "the best value in wireless." Now, Sprint ads give Hispanic consumers the chance to meet the man behind the company while giving Claure a direct channel to communicate and bond with this important demographic.

2. Prioritize the user experience

The user experience should be among your top priorities when designing a mobile marketing strategy geared toward Hispanics. That means creating a streamlined experience that includes responsive design and mobile email. An easy toggle to switch to Spanish is a good idea, but, again, this should be considered part of a broader Hispanic marketing strategy.

The more seamlessly your message is integrated into the user experience, the better. For instance, clothing promoted via native advertising on a fashion blog will be received much better than an interstitial ad on a news website.

3. Get aggressive with video content

Whether you're using pre-rolls, in-banner video, or social, video is a must for your Hispanic marketing strategy.

This segment is hungry for video content and devotes nearly 30% of its online time to watching videos, streaming twice as much video as non-Hispanics.

4. Use social to speak and listen

Considering that 71% of adult Hispanics use social, a strong social media strategy should be a significant component of your marketing plan. Hispanic-Americans average 1.6 online actions—e.g., sharing brands' content on social media—compared with 1.3 for the rest of the population.

Social a great way to not only connect with Hispanic consumers on a personal level but also to gather important insights into this demographic. Monitor what Hispanics are saying about your brand, and use those insights to tweak your marketing strategy.

* * *

If you're not investing heavily in a Hispanic marketing strategy, you're missing out on a chance to connect with an incredibly valuable segment of the population.

Mobile is the key to wooing Hispanics because it allows you to engage with them on their primary platform in the language they prefer.

If you can forge genuine connections with Hispanic consumers and show that you understand where they're coming from, they'll reward you with brand loyalty and help spread your message.

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Yuriy Boykiv is the co-founder and CEO of Gravity Media, a full-service advertising agency that helps brands connect with multicultural and international consumers.

Twitter: @bojkiw

LinkedIn: Yuriy Boykiv

Rob Douglas is EVP at Gravity Media, a full-service advertising agency that helps brands connect with multicultural and international consumers.

LinkedIn: Rob Douglas

Twitter: @RobDouglas01

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