There has been a dramatic increase in numbers of the Spanish speaking community in the U.S. over the last 30 years. In 1990 Hispanics made up just 9% of the U.S. population. By the year 2020 Hispanics are projected to make up 21% of the population. Studies show this trend continuing indefinitely. By 2050 Census estimates the U.S. Hispanic population at 100 million.
One thing is clear by now, the "Total Market approach" has been adopted by the majority of Corporate America as the appropriate approach to target the U.S. consumer. The latest example of this is T2 or Total Toyota. The automaker just announced that its longtime ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi will take the lead over three other Publicis Groupe agencies that currently handle multicultural marketing duties—Conill Advertising (Hispanic), Burrell Communications (African-American) and Zenith (Broadcast and out-of-home media buying), along with InterTrend Communications (Asian-American marketing). The new unit will be called T2 (Total Toyota). It is crucial though that the Total Market approach includes culturally appropriate messaging that deeply resonates with a brands different constituencies. Carlos Saveedra, director of Multicultural Marketing at Pepsi, and a speaker at last year's ANA Multicultural Marketing Conference uses the term Cultural Fluency:"Cultural Fluency means to market at intersection of interests (e.g. Fashion, Sports etc), rather than to one group in particular."
The internet has become part of their daily lives. Latinos are connected, digital, smart phone happy and socially linked.
I often say the Hispanic market in the U.S. has been changing as quickly as it has been growing the last 15 years. One of the biggest ways it has changed is geographic distribution. One only has to take a quick glimpse at the following heat map to understand how the Hispanic population is spreading to what demographers increasingly refer to as “nontraditional” Hispanic markets.
A few words used repeatedly start to sound like a chorus when Macy’s talks about unveiling its new line of clothing and accessories with Thalía Sodi, a Mexican pop star: Curves. Prints. Color. And the one perhaps used most, which signals this venture’s true value, is “Latina.” “This is an amazing opportunity to deliver to the Latin consumer,” Ms. Sodi said, who described the brand as “specifically focused” on Hispanics. “The dresses will be stylish and sexy, but not too simple. Colorful prints, nice contouring to flatter the body.” With the collection, the company joins media companies, political parties and other major retailers like Kmart, all of which have been showering attention on the country’s fast-growing Hispanic population
Regardless of language preference, for Hispanics there is nothing more culturally relevant than Spanish and the amount to which they use it —and the way they use it— might evolve as they become more acculturated and embrace technology, but research shows Spanish will remain central to their identity. A 2012 report found that “three-quarters of U.S. Hispanic adults prefer to speak at least some Spanish” (75%). The study looked at language usage by generation and confirmed that 45% of third generation Hispanics say they prefer to speak Spanish at least some of the time.
Spanish language is key in attracting and leading to action of Spanish speaking internet users here in the U.S. Language represents a strong connection to culture and should play an important role in marketing messages. Among Spanish-preferred it goes without saying that ads in Spanish are critical. What is surprising is that it is also important to bilingual and English-preferred Latinos. Advertising in Spanish makes them feel their culture is respected and they are more loyal to those advertisers.