Marketer Interview: Dave Rodriguez on Ford’s Spanish-language Site

Building and maintaining a Spanish-language website targeting the Hispanic consumer is a major element of Ford’s overall Hispanic marketing strategy. Portada talked with Dave Rodriguez, Multicultural Marketing Manager at Ford (photo), on the http://es.ford.com/ (see screenshot below) website as well Ford’s digital strategy overall:

Did the ABC TV ad increase website traffic?

In late June viewers of the NBA finals saw a 30-second Spanish-language TV ad on ABC  for the 2013 Ford Escape , This was the first time that a Spanish-language ad was shown by an English-language network during an NBA final.  Did the TV spot have a substantial impact on traffic on http://es.ford.com/?  Traffic to es.ford.com was not significantly impacted, although we did see an uptick in social media conversation,” Rodriguez says.  He adds that “we're pleased to have jumped on the opportunity to leverage high Hispanic viewership of the NBA finals and be disruptive and make a bold statement about the brand.”

Regarding Ford’s  digital content marketing strategy Rodriguez explains that Ford has developed custom, Hispanic relevant digital content that has resonated with the audience. “One good example is our Fiesta Ready Pa' Tu Mundo digital effort that has generated a meaningful dialogue with our consumers. We've met or exceeded all our goals in relation to fan growth (34% above goal), engagement with the audience (44% above goal) and hand raisers (at goal).”

What role do digital media buys play in Ford’s overall digital marketing strategy? According to Rodriguez they help build brand awareness, and drive traffic volume to es.ford.com in order to engage with the brand”.

Will cars ever be shopped online?

Many goods and services are bought online, cars do not belong to this category. Will they ever? Rodriguez notes that a recent study suggests that Hispanics are adopting new shopping technologies at a faster rate than Caucasians: 16% of Hispanic shoppers use mobile device to make purchases vs. 10% ofCaucasians. (Source: The Integer Group study, 2012 (featured June 12, 2012 in NY Times). Car shopping research is extremely important for Hispanics: 

“Online car shopping research among Hispanic new car intenders is at par with general market, so it's a critical part of the car buying process for Hispanics. “

What needs to be taken account when building a Spanish-language site?

Chuck Whiteman, SVP Client Services at MotionPoint (photo), the company that helped Ford translate and manage its  Spanish web  and mobile sites, says that trust is one of the most important things to keep in mind when creating a website for the US Hispanic audience.  “Our clients and we have learned that Spanish-speakers in the U.S. are extremely sensitive to differences between the Spanish and English versions of a company's website.  Even cosmetic differences intended to better connect with Hispanics can backfire when they toggle between English and Spanish and see differences.  Our research shows that this toggling is done to validate that the Spanish site is up-to-date.  What they often conclude when they see differences is that the Spanish site is an out-of-date microsite.  This conclusion leads to much lower rates of engagement and higher odds of abandonment.”


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Marcos Baer @MarcosBaer

Marcos oversees editorial and sales. He is based in Portada's NYC headquarters. Prior to launching Portada in 2003, Marcos worked in both the media and finance sectors. He occupied leading roles at the Spanish edition of The Wall Street Journal, in Spain’s newspaper Cinco Dias and at SwissRe. He is an MBA, and a CFA. Marcos is a print junkie and also loves all things digital media. He also is passionate about everything related to New York City and loves to play tennis.

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