While marketers are certainly aware of the increasing purchasing power of U.S. Hispanics, this complex demographic requires a marketing strategy that recognizes their nuanced behavior, multichannel habits and sophisticated biculturalism. This is even more true during the holidays, when trends in Hispanic shopper preferences and spending patterns are revealed all at once. We talked to Tracy Galindo, an independent consultant who works steadily with Jewel-Osco and Albertsons, and Randy Stockdale, Chief Marketing Officer at multicultural marketing firm Solex Marketing Solutions, about trends in targeting Hispanics during the 2016 holiday season.
At-A-Glance: The Hispanic Shopper
The IRI’s latest HispanicLink study revealed that there are 55 million Hispanics in the U.S. representing 18 percent of the population, with a spending power of $1.5 trillion. The study also revealed that almost 60 percent of Hispanics are Millennials or younger, accounting for 80 percent of segment growth.
And brands are paying attention: Target announced that it is increasing its spending on Spanish-language television ads by 67 percent this year while making an effort to incorporate Hispanics into its general marketing strategy instead of creating a separate Hispanic marketing plan. Target has been called out for careless mistakes in its Hispanic targeting in the recent past: Spanish-speaking Target consumers noticed that “habanero” was spelled “habañero” on one of its Archer Farms brand sauces.
Randy Stockdale, Chief Marketing Officer at Solex who has led teams that have launched well over 15 brands in the US Hispanic market, explains that when he was engaged to re-position a well-known grocery chain whose primary customer base is the Hispanic consumer, the most important objectives “included re-focusing the creative messaging, In-Store Merchandising, and all shopper marketing initiatives.” Other priorities included “integrating all communication plans to include the ever-growing bicultural segment who tends to cross-shop the most.”
Holidays Offer Wide Opportunities to Connect
The holidays offer brands a particularly unique opportunity to connect with Hispanic consumers, who feel a strong tie to seasonal holiday traditions, often thinking of it as the most important time to connect with family and loved ones through ritual and a celebration of their shared culture.
The ever growing bicultural segment tends to cross-shop the most.
Target will be running ads including “The Toycracker,” starring a young girl named Marisol, and Target’s mascot, Bullseye the dog, with a parade of toys available at the store. Another features a Broadway-style musical and two bilingual actresses, Kylie Cantrall and Isabella Russo.
Target has also announced that it is increasing its overall television spending by 21% during the holidays (it spent $9.1 million on Spanish-language and $100 million total on total market television ads in 2015).
But the months leading up to the holidays are also key, as they are used to develop strategies for the year to come. “November is not only a great time to analyze all the happenings of 2016, but to truly hone in on ideal timeframes, themes, stores, and brand partnerships for 2017,” said Tracy Galindo, a consultant to Jewel-Osco/Albertsons and owner of a small business.
For Jewel-Osco, this means sending success stories to 30+ brands for Jewel-Osco’s 9th Annual Hispanic Heritage Month program, complete with sales lift from our circular, merchandising and event activations, recapping on their Día de los Muertos sponsorship, where they sponsored and sampled at the 30th Annual Day of the Dead festival at Chicago’s National Musuem of Mexican Art, or “finalizing plans for our annual Felices Fiestas program,” through which they interact with Hispanic shoppers, over a month, during the holidays.
Galindo also laughed while referring to what the Hispanic marketing universe calls ‘El Maratón Lupe-Reyes,’: “a light-hearted way to refer to the seemingly countless traditions honored by members of the Hispanic community, starting December 12, on the Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe, running all the way until January 6, on Three King’s Day.” This includes the nine days of Las Posadas, the Nochebuena, Christmas Day and New Year, and then ends with Día de Reyes, but can even be extended to February 2, Día de la Candelaria.
Mix of Ad, Display, Experiential and Social
One of the biggest focuses of Hispanic marketers during the holidays has been how to best integrate multichannel behavior into their strategies. While Hispanics are showing particularly high use of digital channels for browsing, reviewing products and comparing prices, and are increasingly interested in convenience, they have also been revealed to enjoy the in-store shopping experience more than other shoppers.
Prioritizing convenience, Hispanics enjoy online shopping, and multichannel options like “click and collect,” which allow them to browse, order and pay online and collect the physical items in-store, are popular. But the IRI study also showed that 68 percent of Hispanic shoppers (and 7 in 10 Hispanic Millennials) say they enjoy grocery shopping versus 59 percent of total U.S. shoppers. And while 39 percent of U.S. shoppers report shopping alone, 79 percent of Hispanic shoppers go grocery shopping with someone else, such as a spouse, child or friend.
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This has led to much greater mix in terms of the channels used for reaching Hispanic shoppers. Galindo explained that the Ethnic and Specialty Marketing Department at Jewel-Osco is “prepared with a multi-brand platform in place, featuring a comprehensive ad, display, experiential and social plan featuring some of the top items used for each of these celebrations” including tamale prep endcaps, month-long hot pricing, tastings of champurrado, arroz con leche and Rosca de Reyes at stores throughout Chicagoland to stay “lockstep with the community.”
2017 Forecast: A Focus on Integrating Hispanic Consumer with Digital Strategies
So what will be changing between 2016 and 2017, as more insight is revealed about this key consumer demographic? “If anything, in 2017, we’ll be integrating even more feedback from brand and broker partners, Store Directors – not to mention executive teams at Jewel-Osco – and implementing even more themed experiential events throughout the year and tying them into hot pricing, display and social initiatives,” said Galindo, who helps organize more than 70 large-scale events for clients every year. “Think Chinese New Year, Día del Amor y la Amistad, an even bigger and better Taste of Passover, Día del Niño, Día de la Madre, Italian Heritage Month, and so many others.”
One thing that Galindo and her collaborators have learned is that “sometimes, the right products and the right assortment, at the right price, can be a lot more genuine and effective than a simple bilingual or in-language welcome sign.” Sometimes all the data in the world, or the thoroughly researched digital media plan, are less effective than that which is unquantifiable: “It’s about knowing the community our stores exists in, making the right hires, putting on a local lens, finding authentic products, and helping those products shine through endcaps and special callouts,” she elaborated.
Stockwell explained that in terms of big shifts between 2016 and 2017, “it will not be so much ‘shifting,’ but implementing plans to fully integrate the Hispanic consumer in key areas such as Mass media, Digital, Social, and Shopper Marketing.”
He added that “the Shopper Marketing component will also have more of a digital presence versus just in-store or near store.” And he made note of the rise of mobile among Hispanic consumers: “Given our Hispanic consumers are more and more relying on their mobile devices, there is a clear opportunity to enhance messaging and offers through a digital platform” in 2017.
No matter what media mix and messaging a brand selects to reach Hispanic shoppers in 2017, they will all need to find a way to make that personal connection with a demographic that sees right through inauthentic messages, and highly values family, and the shared moments that so many brands strive to bring them. “Knowing how much our shoppers – especially Hispanics – value the experience, the personal interaction, the trust factor, is the sweet spot,” said Galindo.
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