Latinos in Social Media (LATISM), a non-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community, unveiled the results of its second annual study- Latino Blogosphere- at BlogWorld 2011 last week. As a board member for LATISM and a team member on the multicultural marketing strategy team at Edelman, I participated in the panel discussion. Following are key findings and strategic implications.
1) Sharing comes naturally.
The size of the survey (12,000 respondents) helps confirm more conclusively what many multicultural marketers already know: Sharing and communicating frequently within a group environment is pivotal to Latino cultures. Digital technologies enable this behavior. Furthermore, blogging opens the door to be part of a larger community; it is a vehicle to express the Latino “voice.” Regardless of the platform, Latinos are learning how to be “influentials.” They are growing in numbers, becoming more assertive and expanding their circle of interests. Marketers and politicians are taking note.
2) A majority of the respondents preferred to write in English, and almost one-third preferred to write in Spanish.
According to the Pew Hispanic Research Center, the majority of U.S.-born Hispanics know English. Among non-U.S.-born Hispanics, however, it has been found that as many as 60-70% report knowing at least some English.
An Associated Press-Univision poll exploring Hispanics and media consumption shows that U.S. Hispanics turn to Spanish-language media on a daily basis.
- 90% of Spanish-dominant Hispanics watch some Spanish-language TV
- 75% listen to Spanish-language radio each day
- Among English-dominant Hispanics, nearly 4 in 10 consume either Spanish-language TV or radio
And yet, “In order to reach Latinos in general,” said Maria Teresa Kumar of Voto Latino, “we have to create media that speaks to them in English with a Spanish cultural sensibility.”
3) Meeting a need gets your brand in the door. Doing the same for friends keeps you there.
For Hispanics, utility guides purchase decision, but recommendations from friends heavily influence changes in brand preference, as you can see from the following tables:
Some will quickly point out that the answers from this group could tend to be self-serving. However, if you believe in the wisdom of crowds, 12,000 similar responses do reflect a trend. Plus, the criteria was consistent. It was only the prioritization that changed. This insight can be verified in the article titled A Look into Hispanic Purchasing Decisions.
4) Identity matters.
According to the survey’s respondents, the top five topics they discuss online are:
Online Latino influentials seem to want to have a voice in defining what it is to “be Latino.” They want to be part of the conversation about, or even drive the meaning of “Latino” within the mainstream society.
5) Heavy online shoppers: Over 60 percent prefer to shop online.
First, remember that those surveyed are heavy Internet users, so all online activities are second nature to this audience. What about the rest? The Pew Hispanic Research Center shows that even among the un-acculturated Hispanics, the rate of Internet access is increasing, and, among acculturated and biculturals, the percentage of penetration equals that of the general population. Does this mean that shopping at the physical store in groups of family and friends is passé? Studies show that Hispanics shop in family and/or friends groups all the time. In general, it is their preferred way to shop from groceries to luxury items and across the continuum of low and high involvement products and services.
Marketers may no longer refer to Hispanics as a monolithic group with preconceived notions of attitudes and behaviors. At 50 million and counting, there are more Hispanics in the U.S. than Canadians in Canada. If they were combined to populate a Latin American country, they would be second in size only to Mexico, with purchasing power larger than the entire economies of all but 14 countries in the world–smaller than the GDP of Canada but larger than the GDP of Indonesia.
So what should marketers do? Segment, analyze, target, invest in the market, measure, learn and do more, just as they would with any other marketing initiative.
The full Latino Blogosphere report will be published at the LATISM website shortly. In the meantime, what do you think of the research findings?
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