AT&T is not treating the Hispanic mobile market as an afterthought. To the contrary, it is proceeding with a multi-pronged effort to get an edge on its competitors in this vibrant market segment, including nationwide print placements in top markets, online initiatives and event sponsorships.
Currently, AT&T claims to serve more Hispanic customers than any other wireless carrier, with 7 million in all. Annual revenues generated from the Hispanic market are at about $5 billion.
The trajectory to its current position has not been completely smooth. The company got off to a slow start, as many companies have, by taking a simple translation approach to it’s marketing efforts. “We were often simply dropping Spanish-language voiceovers into the ads running in the general market,” says spokesperson Ray Fohr. “Our results showed us that we had to do something more if we were going to reach Hispanic consumers. We had to radically re-approach this market and make a major commitment to invest.”
The company realized that it needed to make its advertising more relevant to Hispanic culture – associating AT&T Mobility with the forms of entertainment, arts and leisure activities that are most relevant in the Hispanic community. With this aim, AT&T was among the first advertisers to leverage the popularity of telenovelas, and entertainment gossip shows to carvee out its space in the national Latino consciousness.
The company currently pursues a strategy of connecting with individual sub-segments of the market by linking itself with a broad range of Hispanic celebrities and performers, from those who have become mainstream, to emerging faces who show strong regional or local appeal.
Hispanic Intensive Traffic (HIT) Stores
By 2005, the company had found religion with regard to the enormous opportunity presented by the Hispanic market, and had created some 150 “HIT” stores, or Hispanic Intensive Traffic stores. The company sought to establish a hit store n every market with 40% or more Hispanic population, featuring bilingual signage, collateral and staff. Today, the company has approximately 700 such stores and credits them with having helped to establish their current market position.