Capturing Your Market: The Hispanic Population

When you think of your target audience for your business, does the Hispanic population play a role? If it doesn’t, you’re missing a big – and growing – opportunity, business and sales leaders say.

Consider the numbers: In the last year, 51 percent of the U.S.’s 2.2 million-person population growth was among Hispanics. Here in Denver, the Hispanic population is expected to grow nearly 10 percent over the next five years. And their purchasing power here is anticipated to grow to almost $30 billion by 2024, up from nearly $16 billion in 2014.

“This is a market that should definitely be considered in your marketing strategy,” Abel Corral, a local sales manager for Telemundo Denver, told Gold-level Denver Metro Chamber members at a recent Gold Program.

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Telemundo Denver President and General Manager Andres Chaparro agreed.

“When more than 21 percent of the total population in Colorado, more than 32 percent in Denver County and at least 66 percent of students in Denver Public Schools are Hispanics, those figures should spark the interest of any company or organization to learn about our Hispanic community,” he said. “They have an annual buying power and consumer spending of at least $16 billion, and I ask everyone, are you getting your fair share?”

So, you’re ready to start segmenting your marketing audiences – but do you know where to start? Business and marketing experts offered their tips, based on their own experiences marketing to a Hispanic audience.

Do your homework

No matter the audience demographic, you need to “dig a little bit deeper … think about who you’re trying to target,” Laura Sonderup, managing director of Heinrich Hispanidad a multicultural communications firm that is a division of marketing agency Heinrich.

That also means deciding on what your measures of success are – which may help you further segment that audience and find the right places to spend your ad budget – and your time building relationships.

Meet people where they are

Strong relations build life-long customers and referrals.

“Go to the people … they want to connect to you,” advises Sawaya Law Firm Managing Senior Partner Michael Sawaya.

When the Denver Broncos focused on growing their Hispanic audience – their “fanaticos” – they began hosting more events at the stadium, and they went to neighborhoods where their fanaticos live, serving carne asada and introducing fans to Myles the mascot and Broncos cheerleaders.

“It’s about being authentic,” said Ted Santiago, the Broncos’ director of marketing.

They’ve grown those events by 50 to 60 percent, says Fan Development Manager Marisol Villagomez.

“We knew that we had to put in the time to develop trust,” she said.

Create loyalty – in good times and bad

For the Broncos, that means even during a losing season that people still feel connected to the team.

“We want our fans to feel a part of our success,” Santiago said. “When we lose, we want them to be mad; we want them to feel that pain … we want them to feel this is going to get better and I’m a part of this through good and bad.”

Language matters

Experts agreed that while younger generations of Hispanics speak more English and consumer more English-language media, but Telemundo National Sales Manager Drew Wilson emphasized that Spanish is a language of comfort for native speakers.

“More important,” he added, “it’s the language we make decisions in.”

Villagomez agreed: “I work in English; I think and I feel in Spanish.”

And, it means better conversation: Spanish-language ads were four times more effective in driving sales than their English-language counterparts.

So, while adding “se habla Español” to your business card is a good start at building trust and differentiating yourself from your competitors, Corral said, “imagine what the next level is.”

A note on our usage of the term Hispanic: Our panelists noted that there is a debate on whether Hispanic, Latino or Chicano best identifies this audience. We use the term Hispanic to mirror the usage from the data shared during this program.

Sara Crocker is the communications manager for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.