Over the next four weeks, American shoppers will spend billions on holiday gifts, and advertisers will spend nearly as much trying to convince them to buy their products. It’s important then for media buyers and planners to understand who they’re targeting and choose their media mix accordingly. New research from Geometry Global, an agency focused on shopper marketing, shows how important it is to target different demographic groups in different ways. The most important thing media people should understand is when a minority group, such as Hispanics, behaves the same as the mainstream versus when cultural considerations become the driving force in a purchase. The study finds that Hispanic shoppers consider shopping a social experience. They are more likely to try different brands than other demographics, but they dislike feeling uncertain about their purchases or their shopping choices. At the same time, they consider themselves as much American as they do Latino, and so advertising should reflect that dual identity. Advertisers who focus on inclusiveness will often win their business.
John Burn, cross-cultural shopper marketing practice lead at Geometry Global, talks to Media Life about how Hispanic moms differ from other moms when they shop, how to make ads stand out for Hispanic shoppers, and why culture is key to their shopping experience.
What was the most interesting or most surprising thing you learned from this report?
No. 1 is if you look at Hispanics in the U.S., it really sheds light in the fluidity of culture and this notion of ambicultural.
It was believed Hispanics in the U.S. are on a linear track toward assimilation, but it’s very fluid in the fusion of both worlds, American and Hispanic culture.
So one key finding is that with questions around the work environment, Hispanics answer in the same way as their American counterparts.
But when it came to questions around family, there was more of a hierarchical structure. It’s interesting how Hispanics move in and out and leverage this “switching” of culture depending on context.
The second thing was about shopping specifically.
This cultural dimension is called uncertainty avoidance, the ability to deal with the unknown. There’s a lot of anxiety in the shopping process, and Hispanics prefer to stick with brands they know.
That was a difference from the general market. And that has huge implications for the sources of information and how they behave in-store.
Lastly, I was surprised because we did African Americans, Hispanics, general market and Asians. While we saw Hispanics assimilating, we saw the Asian community still retaining a lot of their values from their home countries. There are many reasons of course, one being that 70 percent are foreign-born.
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