Last month we found a knock-you-over-the-head infographic, shown again below, that amplified for us just how important it is for marketing and communications professionals to map out a strategy for targeting Latinos.  Broadcast media quickly responded to this quickly emerging audience segment, creating a tremendous number of targeted outlets across radio and television.  And as this audience has continued to prove their value in sales – over 1 trillion in buying power – the media has added more and more options, ever more targeted, to reach them.

There are websites and libraries full of Hispanic audience demographic, psychographic and geographic data, so we won’t delve too deeply here, but rather outline some key insights for planning.  The first insight is to NOT assume uniformity.  Targeting “Latinos” is almost as broad of a statement as targeting “Women 25-54.”  There are the typical demographic differences, including age and gender to consider, and others like primary language spoken, time spent in U.S. and geography.  Eight states in the U.S., for example, have a population of one million or more Hispanic residents including: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, California, Illinois, and Texas (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, August 2012.)

Media-wise, Arbitron, via Uniradio, tells us that Latinos are heavier users of radio than either television or print.  And, Latinostatisticswhen listening, they spend about half their time with the standard English-language formats and the other half of the time with Spanish formats.  And in response, Spanish language radio stations in the US have increased almost tenfold from 67 stations in 1980 to 664 stations in 2002.

Television relied heavily for years on Univision and Telemundo as THE places to reach Hispanics and both have grown and evolved to meet the needs and interests of their audiences.  In the most recent February sweeps, in fact, for the first time ever, Univision passed NBC in the ratings to as third most watched of all TV Networks.  Bill Gorman of said, “They’re spending more on programming, they get better marketing, their audience is growing. Univision has been closing the gap for quite some time with the English language broadcast networks.”

But as Hispanics have many interests, a number of new broadcast and cable options have emerged. In fact, most major cable programmers offer Hispanic targeted options reaching across genres.  For example, Discovery Networks offers both En Espanol and Discovery Familia, ESPN offers deportes, and CNN offers CNN Espanol.   And many more are in the planning stages from Univision, Comcast, and Disney.  And it’s not just English or Spanish, but many offer a combination of language options, because research shows that only 20 percent of U.S. Hispanics now prefer Spanish-only language programming on TV. The rest prefer bilingual programming and watch both or they prefer English-language programming.

Roberto Orci, CEO of Acento Advertising told NPR that it was expected that Hispanics would come here and assimilate into the American culture.  Instead, he say, they’ve “acculturated.”  “We take the best of American culture that we came to adopt and love,” Orci says, “and we keep the best of our culture that we value. And so, you have this hybrid American that is very proud and happy to be an American, but is very proud and happy to have his culture which makes him unique, or her unique.”

We understand now that this is NOT a homogeneous audience, but there some insights that can guide our communications approach?

Stay tuned…


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