By Guest blogger: Marina Lidow

At 50.5 million people, the Hispanic population is one of the fastest growing demographics in the U.S.,1 currently making up over 16 percent of the nation. The largest Hispanic population outside of Mexico, this group represents $1 trillion dollars in spending power, and will grow to $1.3 trillion by 2014.

How does this important and particularly brand-loyal demographic group decide where to spend their money? Many of their buying decisions are assisted through online research, with social media growing more influential in their purchasing process. Blogging is on the rise, in particular blogs devoted to motherhood, parenting and technology. And studies show that 72 percent of Hispanics prefer product-rating sites over the opinions of their own friends.

 

Recognizing the phenomenon, many brands are wisely increasing their spending for Hispanic advertising, and they are hiring individuals in prominent multicultural marketing roles. Google, for instance, recently created a Head of U.S. Hispanic Audience position, tasked with developing innovative marketing programs that target this growing demographic.

But connecting to U.S. Hispanics can be challenging, due in large part to the fact that the population consists of multiple generations, with varying levels of acculturation. These range from recent immigrants who primarily speak Spanish, to third-generation Americans who retain some Hispanic cultural practices but are English-dominant.

Regarding language, successful marketers have learned that the solution to proper communication with this audience is not to simply translate a general U.S. ad campaign into Spanish. It’s important to demonstrate an understanding of the culture behind the message if you deliver the message in Spanish. Otherwise, it’s preferable (and frequently more favorable for your company’s image) not to bother with a translation.

But how do you decide when to translate what? Marketers are finding that often the “fun” stuff is best done in Spanish, while more business-focused or technical content is preferable in English. In other words, if you’re looking to touch on things that are associated with love and family, Spanish communicates better.

If you wish to be more certain firsthand, you can actually observe how an audience is communicating by monitoring social media. What are Hispanic moms talking about in English? Do they discuss different topics in Spanish? What are they saying about specific brands? As your first step, Networked Insights has the technology to help you answer these questions and more.

And this valuable insight, beginning with social media, can translate to successful marketing efforts for your company.

Marina Lidow is a Research Analyst at Networked Insights, where she uses the company’s social media listening platform to analyze the social web to help agencies and brand marketers make better strategic and tactical decisions.  Prior to joining Networked Insights, Marina worked as a management consultant, consulting to companies in retail, aviation, telecommunications, media and other industries.  Currently based in Chicago, Marina has also enjoyed living and working in Mexico City, Santiago de Chile, and Buenos Aires.  In addition to her consulting work, Marina co-founded a customized cereal company while living in Buenos Aires to cater to the demand for healthy breakfast foods.  Her studies as well as her time abroad fueled her interest in Latino culture and Hispanic marketing.  Marina holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics, with concentrations in Finance and Management, from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  She also minored in Hispanic Studies and is fluent in Spanish and Russian.

About Networked Insights

Networked Insights distills insights from millions of authentic conversations on the social web, providing social intelligence that drives proactive decision-making. Our social media technology goes beyond monitoring tools that merely track brand mentions. We excel at discovery, presenting patterns and themes from the data, without the user reading a single post. Some of the world’s most successful brands and agencies use Networked Insights technology and expert analysts to complement traditional market research, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing activities from campaign design to media planning and advertising.  Founded in 2006, Networked Insights is a privately held company based in Madison, Wisconsin, with offices in New York and Chicago. For more information about Networked Insights please visit http://www.networkedinsights.com