What: We speak to Alejandro Roman Fuster, the Head of Sales Planning and Order Management at Pulpo Media, about how media planning agencies have begun to collaborate with political campaigns looking to target of Hispanic audiences.
Why It Matters: Today, both brands and political campaigns that have strategies for making use of Big Data and analytical tools for targeting win big. Roman Fuster explains why targeting a consumer is similar to targeting a voter.
In this day and age, every campaign needs a digital partner. The world is as connected as ever, and data is constantly being generated through the many available platforms users are plugged into. To capitalize on this, Pulpo Media has created tools that aid in the analysis of that gargantuan mass of ever-expanding data to create clear insight about consumer and user behavior and preferences. For better or worse, these tools have become handy for political campaigns looking to understand their voters as well.
Media Planners: the ‘Right Match’ for Political Clients?
Pulpo Media, which specializes in online Hispanic media and audience targeting, may not have originally envisioned becoming involved in political planning, but has found that its data and targeting abilities work just as well for voters as they do for consumers. Typically, brands approach Pulpo for assistance in reaching very targeted audiences through their digital properties as well as parent company Entravision’s radio stations and television channels. Part of their jobs is to stay close to advertising agencies, who often hire them to execute their campaigns for clients.
A few years ago, during commercial conversations with advertising agencies they pitched Hispanic services to regularly, agencies wondered whether Pulpo might be a “right match” for some of their political clients. It turns out that they were.
Media companies that have specialized in Hispanic targeting are finding themselves in demand in the face of a large, thriving Hispanic-American population of 50 million people. But as that population has grown, many fail to understand how much it has evolved in terms of its makeup, education, consumption preferences and behavior. This is also very true of the Hispanic voter.
The Shifting Landscape of Hispanic-American Voters
Alejandro Roman Fuster, the Head of Sales Planning and Order Management at Pulpo Media, asserts that much of Pulpo’s success has had to do with its deep understanding of the complex, varied and evolving Hispanic culture. “The Hispanic population has been drifting from a first-generation consumer to a second-plus generation consumer who is much more acculturated, and understands American society much more than their parents and grandparents did,” Roman Fuster says. “When looking at these new generations, they are hybrids comfortable in both Hispanic settings and general market settings.”
Two years ago, campaigns acted like recording an ad in Spanish was enough.
When it comes to politics, it’s too easy to assume that all Hispanics care about is immigration, or that they will always vote Democrat. “Two years ago, campaigns acted like recording an ad in Spanish was enough,” Roman Fuster says. Pulpo’s love of data has allowed it to create a strategy that works just as well for political campaigns as it does for brands.
In the end, Roman Fuster believes that “voters are also consumers.” While the “data is not necessarily similar, the process is.” When a political client approaches Pulpo, a similar technique is used to develop a media proposal as the one they use for their regular clients. In both cases, Pulpo strives to develop data-based KPIs that are as specific as possible to drive the campaign. The variables can be treated almost interchangeably, as candidates and geographical regions “functions as a market, and voters are the consumers.”
Roman Fuster continues: “Political candidates, like brands, will have characteristics and must generate a representation of the voter/consumer that requires the same analysis as planning for a brand.” Campaigns know what they ultimately want: votes. But Pulpo’s job, as is that of any agency that targets specific demographics or audiences, is to find the best path to those votes.
Putting Data to Work
For its political clients, Pulpo actually does assign each traceable follower a specific cost to help measure ROI. In establishing KPIs, the team grapples with questions like whether or not it should focus on interactions with the banner or event attendance and whether or not there is time to develop complex benchmarks, or if cost-effectiveness will take front seat (sometimes political campaigns give them just 24 hours to create a plan). Instead of looking solely at Hispanics’ political leanings, Pulpo helps its clients look at transversal messages that cross party affiliations.
The audience team pulls public and private data from censuses, housing surveys and external data it pays to access. Then the data intelligent team crosses online behavior with offline behavior to identify trends and create propensity models that generate different profiles and potential buyer info within the target audience.
“The goal is to help our clients understand the power of data” in order to “construct a story” about these voters and their lives that can be used to create campaign messages that truly resonate. For example, “new voters may not be as ‘brand loyal’ as their more seasoned counterparts and even older voters are being more flexible in terms of whom they vote for,” says Roman Fuster. Younger Hispanics are completely mobile dependent and conduct almost all browsing on their phone.
Hispanic voters are now 60% bilingual and bicultural, so targeting through a Spanish-language ad may not be the best way to target them after all. This kind of data helps agencies know where their audience lives and target their messages and plans appropriately.
Leveraging Entravision’s Properties
Pulpo’s data analysis expertise is only one its secret weapons. Entravision’s 56 television stations and 49 Spanish-language radio stations are powerful tools for Pulpo in terms of granting clients exclusive exposure on platforms that are sure to reach Hispanic audiences.
When working with political clients, Pulpo can and does make use of some of Entravision’s premium programs, among them popular personalities like Eddie ‘Piolin’ Sotelo, El Erazno and Alex ‘El Genio’ Lucas. A Pulpo proposal for a political candidate sometimes includes interviews on Entravision’s different shows, accompanied by corresponding social media campaigns on the programs’ accounts. Not all agencies can offer this kind of exposure.
New voters may not be as ‘brand loyal’ as their more seasoned counterparts and even older voters are being more flexible in terms of whom they vote for.
Pulpo is just one example of an agency that is catering to the high demand for insight on Hispanic voters, and while it may have gotten a head start, others are probably not far behind, as they have undoubtedly found that they need to develop similar tools to keep up. Every campaign needs to be better, more micro-targeted, than the last, and with access to so much data, those willing to organize it have found that a miraculous level of detail can be attained in terms of what truly motivated human behavior – and voting habits.
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