Capital Media on gain with U.S. Hispanic market

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As part of DRTV News Weekly's ongoing focus on the U.S. Hispanic market, Contributing Editor Sarah Littman spoke to Nadia Ashrafian, president and CEO of Capital Media, San Juan Capistrano, CA.

U.S. Hispanic consumers come from many different ethnicities, and there are big regional skews. What modifications must a DRTV advertiser make when creating a national U.S. Hispanic campaign?

The U.S. Hispanic market is a blend of different Spanish speaking ethnicities. However, for a national campaign we want to make sure we're addressing the Mexican audience, since 70 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population is Mexican. It's very important that the testimonials are from Mexicans as well. When creating a campaign for the U.S. Hispanic market, you have to be dedicated to learn the matrix of your new business.

The average U.S. Hispanic consumer is about a decade younger than the mainstream consumer market. How are Hispanic DRTV marketers reaching this demographic, and with what kinds of products are they most successful?

The Hispanic household in the United States is definitely younger. From a short form media point of view, it affects everything you do. For example, a product for which we might target ages 25 to 54 in an English language campaign becomes an 18 to 49 age range in its Hispanic execution.

Skilled media buyers in the Hispanic sector know this, and address their buys accordingly. They are many stations and programming that target and reach this amazing audience.

For long form advertisers is it more similar with the English market - it's all about the time and location, location and location. As to types of products, Capital has had success across a broad array of categories. Ingestibles do particularly well, as do household products, health and beauty, fitness, computers and others. It would be wrong to assume any product could not do well in the U.S. Hispanic market.

Of the major brand advertisers in the U.S. Hispanic market, what percentage are using DRTV? Do you see the same trend towards increased use of DRTV marketing by brand advertisers in the U.S. Hispanic market that we are seeing in the English speaking market?

I am not sure about that number, but the trend towards increased use of DRTV marketing by brand advertisers seems to be somewhat behind that of English language. At this stage, there are still brand advertisers that have yet to enter into their first U.S. Hispanic brand campaigns.

The trend that we see is a large penetration of DRTV products also crossing over to U.S. Hispanic. By seeing more and more products on the Spanish stations and realizing that in our business nobody is on the air unless they're making money, the next decision for a product that is successful in U.S. English should be going into U.S. Hispanic, at the same time if not before deciding to go international. This is especially true because of the positive effect U.S. Hispanic direct response advertising has on the success of products at retail.

Moving to the back end side of things, what are some of the factors to consider when picking a call center for a U.S. Hispanic DRTV campaign, other than the obvious ability to provide Spanish-speaking operators?

Choosing the right call center is obviously a critical decision. And there is more to it than simply the presence of Spanish-speaking operators. As a result of the recent and rapid expansion of U.S. Hispanic DRTV, call centers are scrambling to keep up with demand.

Some of the important questions to ask are: How well staffed with Spanish-speaking operators is the center? Are they available 24/7?

Are they Spanish-only speakers, or bilingual speakers? At Capital, we have had the best results utilizing call centers employing Spanish speakers, rather than bi-lingual speakers.

And where is your call center located? A great benefit of an Argentina-based call center, for example, is the 5-hour time difference between Argentina and California. A show airing at 3AM in Los Angeles is generating calls answered by operators who are "morning-fresh" at 8:00 AM in their country.

One final, important question has to do with proficiency. There are a great number of quality Latin-based call centers with a long history of providing customer service type inbound telemarketing support for major companies.

But these are not necessarily call centers that are DRTV proficient. Make sure your Spanish call center has direct response inbound telemarketing experience. We have also had great success with IVR in Spanish. As with anything else, it's about testing and finding the best matrix for a specific product and campaign.

Fulfillment for the most part remains the same. If your fulfillment center doesn't have Spanish customer service -most do. You can use your call center for customer service calls.

Although credit card penetration in the market is at its critical mass and our campaigns are healthy and making money just by credit card and check by phone, there is definitely a market for COD. We work with a company called NaturaCorp that does the COD with no risk to the client; buying the product at a wholesale price and out bounding calls to clients interested in COD. This has increased the conversion by another 20 percent.

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