September 16, 2016

As we begin celebrating Hispanic Heritage month at ThinkNow Research, recent Pew Hispanic data has us thinking about how the changing Hispanic demographic can be reached effectively through their heritage.

Two lynchpins of the Hispanic marketing movement – non-acculturated Hispanics and Spanish language media – is going by the wayside. Pew Hispanic notes that net migration is down to new lows and speaking Spanish isn’t necessarily a defining characteristic of being Hispanic. This existential crisis that the Hispanic marketing industry is going through has been reflected in recent blogs with conflicting outlooks and solutions.

So we have decided to take a look at our past research among U.S. Hispanics to see if there are any clues on how to effectively reach U.S. Hispanic consumers without necessarily relying on the assumptions of days past. Here’s what we found:

1. Hispanic Millennials Want To Stand Out As Latino

While much has been written on Hispanic culture becoming mainstream culture and vice-versa, we are seeing a resurgence of Hispanics wanting to stand out as Latino, specifically among Hispanic millennials:

Almost 70% of Hispanic millennials cite wanting to stand out as Latino vs. just over half of Hispanics age 35+. This is an important attribute for marketers to take note of as Total Market becomes the dominant multicultural marketing model. Hispanic millennials want to stand out as such. Marketing plans and key messaging should be reflective of that desire when appropriate.

2. The American Dream Still Resonates With Hispanics

The idea of the American Dream has been waning, particularly among Millennials. However, digging deeper into the different cohorts we find that this trend has some truth among non-Hispanic millennials.

But among Hispanic millennials in particular, the American Dream is alive and well. In fact, 71% of Hispanic Millennials state that the “American Dream is something I believe in” vs. 55% of non-Hispanic millennials.

This idea is particularly pronounced among U.S. born Hispanic millennials with 73% in agreement with the statement. While the American Dream is a unifying concept, the difference the research highlights among Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites is an important one to consider. Appealing to the presumed cynicism of the millennial generation could be a mistake for brands looking to capture the Hispanic millennial as they still believe the idealistic concept of the American dream.

3. Dreams Can Be Achieved Through Hard Work

Continuing with the theme of idealism, Hispanics still strongly believe in the idea that dreams can be achieved through hard work:

Connecting with consumers through their core beliefs is the aim of all good advertising. Data like the above gives us a glimpse into the mindset of the modern Latino in contrast to the other ethnic cohorts in their age group. Tapping into the idea that hard work pays off is another way marketers can position themselves favorably with Hispanic millennials.

The U.S. is experiencing one of the largest shifts of the Hispanic population since the large influx of immigrants from Latin America in the 1990’s. Hispanic growth is coming from U.S. born as immigration has slowed and the concept of Hispanic identity is shifting beyond language. Actionable insights have never been more important to reach the new Hispanic that is taking shape.

So during this Hispanic Heritage Month, don’t make assumptions and don’t generalize the Hispanic market, especially millennials. Keep your finger on the pulse of this growing community and grow with them.

About the Author: Roy Eduardo Kokoyachuk

Roy is a Managing Partner at ThinkNow Research. He started his career at Warner Bros. Media Research. A desire to pursue multicultural market research full-time led him to join a full service Hispanic & multicultural market research company, in 2003 as Vice President of Advertising Research. He became Executive Vice President in 2006 and opened an operations center in Tijuana, Mexico and directed the company’s entry into online research. In 2009 he initiated the creation of the first nationally representative opt-in market research panel of U.S. Hispanics - CadaCabeza. This panel broke new ground in panel building by focusing on the recruitment of Spanish speaking Hispanics as well as the English speakers typically found on online panels. He co-founded ThinkNow Research to further pursue his passion for multicultural consumer insights.

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