Study from Publicis Media, Adsmovil and ThinkNow Deepens Understanding of Hispanic Behavior

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As marketer demand for the Hispanic consumer audience continues to rise, Publicis Media recently partnered with advertising solutions company Adsmovil and consumer market research company ThinkNow on their new market research study "Embrace the Collective: The Hispanic Digital Purchase Journey." It provides a better understanding of the highly sought-after market, which is expected to reach more than $2.5 trillion in spending power within the next few years. The study revealed several key insights into trends, behaviors, and influence -- from research and language to mobile usage and online shopping.

"So many younger Hispanics become sherpas in their family, these guides between cultures. They live in one culture in their work or school and another at home or with their families. They become the bridge between those two worlds," said Ted A'Zary, Senior Vice President Client Insights and Strategy, PMX Marketplace, Publicis Media. "This market is not a monolith. You have to look at the acculturation level, the generational differences, and really understand how those pieces affect the purchase journey and how it's different from a general market consumer."

One of the most interesting insights found in the study was that Millennial Hispanics offered product/service research assistance to the widest variety of family members and friends, ranking highest across several groups. Boomers offered the most help to extended family members.

It was also revealed that Low Acculturated Hispanics (Spanish-Dominant) were the most responsible for helping family members who lived outside of the U.S. This implies that brands need to have comprehensive marketing assets available in both English and Spanish to "better serve the needs of the community and further the brand message organically," the study said.

"The reality is that when it comes to the Hispanic market, it is a collective ethos; it's not a self-reliant ethos," said Maria Lopez Twena, Chief Marketing Officer at Adsmovil. "It's a constant reminder that the Hispanic market is a collective. You may leave the household, but you never leave the home. I live very far away from my mother, but I've helped her for years so it's like I never left the home."

As advertisers and marketers have put in more of a nuanced approach to target Hispanics, they've learned that there is no one-size-fits-all approach with this incredibly complex and layered market. "The thesis was that if they're tribal offline then they have to be tribal online," Twena said. "How are they informing each other? How does that impact marketing from a one-to-one perspective, which is built on an infrastructure of a self-reliant ethos? How do you transfer that for a brand to better discern, 'I need to market one-to-many?'"

The study also examined which devices are more frequently used for product searches and purchasing, revealing that Hispanics are more likely to shop online compared to non-Hispanics, and that mobile devices are the primary device used for product/service research and purchasing, regardless of the time of day. The study also showed that the Low Acculturated (Spanish-dominant Hispanics) are more likely to conduct their product/service searches directly using a retailer's website rather than a search engine, while the opposite was found true for the Mid Acculturated (Bilingual) and High Acculturated (English-dominant) Hispanics.

This suggests to brands that mobile campaigns and websites optimized for mobile are an absolute must in order to successfully engage with the Hispanic market. Language is not the primary reason that Hispanic consumers need assistance with searches, but rather difficulties with conducting searches. And brands should be sure to include clear and concise copy that can be shared with ease across devices and platforms.

A'Zary admitted his surprise that language was not the No. 1 reason for younger Hispanics to assist others in their purchase journeys. But the first reason -- technological intimidation -- does make sense. "Even I get confused looking at search results on Google at this point," he said with a laugh. "Easing that search process and making it easier for consumers across the board is something that brands can do, especially when approaching the Hispanic marketplace."

"If you can identify the individual that you're communicating with as the sherpa, and then give them the tools to exude their sherpa behavior seamlessly and without burden, that individual will co-brand for you and become your brand advocate because you're facilitating their process and their life experience," Twena added.

What is made clear as day through this research is that in order to successfully target and reach the U.S. Hispanic market, brands must create a clear, concise and comprehensive approach in their digital and online marketing.

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