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CADM Speaker: Much Groundwork Needed to Reach Hispanic Market

CHICAGO — Call Spanish speakers by either name — Latino on the West Coast, Hispanic in the Midwest and both in the Northeast and Southeast — but know the market well, a senior DM practitioner told attendees yesterday at the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing’s DM Days & Expo show.

To help them, Gustavo A. Gruber, business development manager of emerging markets at Banta Direct Marketing Group, devised the Hispanic TAR Model to target, acquire and retain those consumers.

Research obviously is important in the pre-targeting phase, but there are many other steps. First, have a realistic objective, and do not always compare Hispanic DM with that done for the general market.

Second, anticipate higher budgets for Hispanic direct marketing than that for the general market because there are different costs. Copy is longer in Spanish. Hispanic lists are expensive, and list owners know demand exceeds supply.

Third, apply the same metrics to Hispanic campaigns as to general market efforts, but do not expect the same results. Fourth, top executives must be committed to the program, not just the junior ranks.

“You need a three-year plan, at least,” Gruber said.

Fifth, the organization must set aside resources — people, time, money and systems. The reason many CEOs do not move into Hispanic marketing is they are unsure how it will change their organization. They want the option to retain, upsell and cross-sell.

“Either they don’t have answers or the answers are too complicated,” Gruber said.

The final step in pre-targeting is Hispanic readiness assessment. Marketers need the right back-end process. They also are advised to have third-party audits from specialists.

Gruber had an equally large laundry list for the three phases of Banta’s Hispanic TAR model.

Top of that list is defining the target with appropriate demographic and psychographic information, a task that is easier for the general market.

Second, the language of preference is important. Spanish is dominant today, but it will be English in five to seven years, especially for the younger generation. Just because Spanish is spoken at home doesn’t mean it is read.

“Many households are multigeneration, and it’s the younger individual that writes the checks in English,” Gruber said.

Third, gauge the acculturation level. U.S. Hispanics are less assimilated than Americans of European origin. Most Hispanics are in the United States for economic and family reasons, and some even plan to return to their native countries. But they never do, Gruber said.

House files are an important source. Companies generally have Hispanics in their files acquired through broader marketing efforts. Imagine the response if firms targeted them with a tailored appeal, he said.

Finally, marketers should undertake DM staples like data mining, modeling and segmentation.

The steps for acquisition are equally numerous. In terms of lists, marketers should use Spanish direct response files. Hispanics particularly respond to toll-free number appeals. Use ethnic surname lists. But remember that a person can acquire a Hispanic last name by marrying a person of that origin. Or the person could be from the Philippines, a Spanish-speaking country.

Companies also can go through an increasingly sophisticated process to identify the language preference, country of origin or other details about the younger Hispanic generation.

Other issues to consider are copy that is not just a simple translation from English, proper production standards and effective creative for graphics.

“Stay away from the jalapenos and sombreros,” Gruber said.

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