When it comes to marketing, finances, and engaging the Hispanic community, Mariela Ure can certainly be seen as a triple-threat. With 15 years of experience under her belt, the Puerto Rican native and Miami resident is currently senior vice president and Hispanic segment strategy lead for Enterprise Marketing at Wells Fargo, and previously worked for Bank of America’s Enterprise Marketing Group, leading the development and implementation of marketing programs focused on the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts. In addition, Ure Needless to say, Ure has a thing or two to say about marketing to Latinos when it comes to their finances.
Recently, with Ure at the helm, Wells Fargo launched a bilingual mobile app for banking, in an effort to facilitate transactions for this rapidly-growing population.
Hispanic PR Blog sat down with Ure to discuss Wells Fargo’s participation at Hispanicize 2015, the key demographic for their newest feature, and her perception of how Latinos manage their money.
HPR: Tell us about Wells Fargo’s experience at Hispanicize 2015. What was Wells Fargo’s main objective in attending and connecting with Hispanicize attendees?
MU: Overall, I think it was a great experience. The Hispanic community is very critical to the success of Wells Fargo. We have estimates that show that we expect 48% of our new household growth in the next 3 years to come from the Hispanic community.
It’s very critical that we are part of the Hispanic community in a way that matters to the community and to us. The research we have done, we’ve learned that Hispanics over-index in the use of social media and digital channels. And because of that, we wanted to participate at this event, and I was very interested in participating because I thought it was going to be a great opportunity to begin a dialogue with key influencers in the community that [using] social media so that we can develop a strategy that allows us to engage consumers in a meaningful way.
We haven’t done a lot via social media, so being part of bloggers’ activities, things like that. We have done a lot in the Hispanic community overall, through other channels. Particularly digitally, in expanding our capabilities. [This month, we launched] the mobile application in Spanish. We’re doing it for 2 reasons: one is that we want to make sure that, when we serve our consumers, that we give them the opportunity to do their banking transactions in the language they prefer, whether that’s in English or in Spanish. Right now, we have those capabilities on all our channels, like in our stores, over the phone, even online, but this was one that was missing, so that’s why we launched this.
HPR: Wells Fargo recently announced the launch of a new, Spanish-language mobile banking app. What is the key demographic you want to reach with this new technology? Is it plugged-in millennials?
MU: The application in itself is meant to serve all consumers. From a corporate standpoint, millennials are certainly a soft target and one that is very important to us, but our approach with Hispanic millennials is based on what we know about them. [That] is that they speak both languages, they don’t just use Spanish, or just English, they’re bilingual, and so what we do is to focus on generating awareness about the tools that we know they’re going to be using digitally.
HPR: In addition to the new mobile app, what campaigns or initiatives has Wells Fargo done that have resonated with the Latino community?
MU: Last year, we launched a committee to do text banking in Spanish. So, it’s different from what we’re doing today. What was good about that campaign was that it was a fully-integrated campaign that included advertising, via TV, radio, print, but also had elements of public relations, and we also leveraged our [softer] sponsorship to generate awareness about the fact that we were launching the [feature].
HPR: What are some of the challenges or differences you’ve discovered in trying to engage the Hispanic community versus the mainstream community?
MU: When I think about the Hispanic community, it’s a very dynamic community. They’re not all the same, and though from the surface we may think, ‘well, many of them speak Spanish,’ and we do have a lot of similarities. What I have found is that some attributes that make them unique, like language or country of origin, at the same time, there are also similarities with the general market, that allow us to speak to them the same way that we do with the general market. So, it’s a little bit complex. There are similarities but also some differences. So in terms of the similarities, one example that I like to talk about is our total market approach.
Last year, we launched a campaign that utilized what we call a universal truth, and insight, and what it included was a TV ad that showed a multi-generational family with a millennial getting her first check. While that’s very relevant for the Hispanic community, it also is something that the general population can resonate and can identify with— a teenager getting her first job and her first paycheck. We can see that there are similarities that we can leverage, and then where there are differences, that’s where we do segment-specific activities, like partnerships with soccer Mexican teams, etc.
HPR: There seem to be conflicting reports everywhere about the prognosis of Latinos and their finances. Some say Hispanics are more optimistic about their future, and others say we are struggling as a culture to save money and handle it effectively. In a nutshell, what is your take on how Latinos are managing their finances, and what our outlook is?
MU: Hispanics are making strides in certain areas, for example, higher education— there are more Hispanics enrolling in college than at any other time. But at the same time, there also continue to be some struggles. That said, what I have seen is that today there are many resources that help Hispanics manage their money better. And I know Hispanics are using them. For example, I see the usage of digital tools. I see Hispanics participating in financial education workshops throughout the country. And most recently, we’ve seen a great thing with the bilingual mobile application we just launched, and all of these things allow Hispanics to manage their money better, so I think the outlook is very positive. Like any other community, there are challenges, but I think we’re fixing the future.