The Simple Guide to Hispanic Marketing in Automotive: No Hablo Español – And I Probably Should

The Simple Guide to Hispanic Marketing in Automotive: No Hablo Español – And I Probably Should
Posted April 21, 2020 by admin

Hispanic Marketing in Automotive – Market Demand

If you are reading this, you’ve likely already observed a possible demand for Hispanic marketing in automotive in your market. You may have requested assistance from a subject area expert. Perhaps you’ve asked your Spanish speaking employees for input; the natural course and an important one, however have you tried to pinpoint who makes up this demographic in your area? After all, if marketing to this demographic were as simple as translating a few pages of copy from English to Spanish, companies nationwide would not be investing billions of dollars yearly in research and development.  Finding the most effective message to the estimated 59.8 million Hispanic people nationwide is a very real demand for marketers especially taking into consideration the vast array of culturally differences from group of Spanish speakers to the next.

Defining Hispanic Origin – Understanding the marketplace demand.

Viewing this market as one homogeneous group is a common and costly mistake; which is why understanding the makeup of your local community is the first step to delivering successful messages.  Consider this, a Hispanic shopper is both a 65-year-old male Puerto Rican immigrant shopper searching for a modest used Toyota Corolla as is a 25-year-old U.S. born Mexican American female shopping for a new Mazda3. Two vastly different people with two intents requiring unique micro-segmentation – but leave that to your marketing experts. All you need to know is there is a difference and the message you send must understand a consumer’s intentions, context and expectations of relevance.

First thing to understand, Hispanics and Latinos are not one in the same.

Hispanic Marketing in AutomotiveWhile there are many interpretations of how each is defined, lets use the most rudimentary and distinguishing feature: Language. Hispanic refers to language spoken, and Latino refers to location. Meaning if you are targeting Hispanics you are targeting anyone who has a Spanish-speaking origin or ancestry, including Spain, Central Americans or other Spanish speakers. The term Latinos, includes Spanish-speakers, but only people from Latin America—including Brazil. If this seems confusing, just remember Portuguese (not Spanish) is spoken in Brazil. Brazilians aren’t considered Hispanic, but they are considered Latinos. This is all significant especially if you are in Texas.

Regional Differences

Officially, both terms (“Hispanic” or “Latino”) are used by the U.S. federal government to describe the same population, and this extends out. Many organizations use the terms interchangeably and according to Pew research Center survey of Hispanic Adults, there isn’t a significant preference (ratio of about 2-1 prefer “Hispanic” over “Latino”) from one term to the next unless you are in Texas.


Going back to the original example, if you had a Hispanic shopper is a 65-year-old male Puerto Rican immigrant searching for a modest used Toyota Corolla; a 25-year-old U.S. born Mexican American female shopping for a new Mazda3 and  a 39-year-old Dominican father of three, searching for a Chrysler Town and Country in a New York suburb. The most important thing any advertiser can do is localize their marketing efforts since these preferences can vary from state to state and region by region.

Generational Differences

It’s important to consider the variances between these groups as well, since cultural integration can vary depending on the group and identification; it will also vary in philosophy.

Key Features to Successful Hispanic Marketing Campaigns

Traditionalist or Hispanic Dominant (typically less than 25% of population):

Hispanic Marketing in AutomotveThese are typically foreign born and have a mean age of 40. This group speaks Spanish predominately at home and generally consumes most information in Spanish. You can market to this group by using some traditional mediums including Spanish-speaking TV and radio stations. It’s also tremendously important to target Spanish websites; especially important on mobile. Hispanic mobile phone owners are more likely to access the Internet using their mobile devices than that of English-speaking Americans.

Your marketing strategy should emphasize these traditional Hispanic cultural values and traditions; including food, family, and holidays. It is also important to keep in mind, the various dialects and idioms within each specific region. Avoid translations of English advertising and use on-screen Spanish-language dialogues versus voice-overs in TV and over the top media video advertising. For this group, familiarity is key. We would recommend featuring characters in familiar and real-world settings, as they help create a higher message memorability, resulting is a higher overall return on investment.

Second-Generation, Bicultural or U.S. Dominant (typically more than 40% of the population)

This group includes those who speak both English and Spanish at home but consume most of their media in English. Individuals in this group may have been born the U.S. into a Hispanic family. They have likely adopted many U.S. customs but actively appreciate, respect, and enjoy their culture, language, and heritage. Use Spanglish for this segment. Intermingling both Spanish and English into your campaign(s), preserving English as the primary language but assimilating Spanish phrases, quotes, terms, etc. will allow you to genuinely connect to Hispanic consumers.

Ending Thoughts

Considering the large generational and cultural differences required to create specific marketing strategies for these groups, can be difficult and the best thing to do is to engage an expert. Don’t spend the hours immersing yourself; We recommend identifying your needs and designating an expert to spearhead this project. Don’t assume because you have Spanish speaking members on your team, that they know the best way to convey a message to other Spanish speakers across the globe. Include your personnel in the strategy meetings and let your dedicated expert take the lead when putting together your overall message. Lastly, remember to always reflect on cultural differences between the Hispanic populations and ensure your message speaks directly to your unique microculture.