Marketing to different Hispanic generations

(iStock)In an earlier blog I discussed the fact that not all Hispanics are Spanish-language dominant, and pointed to the reality that the only growth segment within the Hispanic market in the next couple of decades is in the second-generation or US-born Hispanic segment. Today over 60% of the market is US born (a mix of second and third-generation immigrants). The influx of new immigrants has slowed down for multiple reasons: the “wall” separating Mexico and the US; the aftermath of 9/11; and, the US’s declining economic situation.

Marketers need to discern this new Hispanic market topography in order to effectively reach AND realize its full potential.

As a US born Hispanic, with a Cuban mother and Spanish father, I fall into an interesting category. When I was in my 20s I came to the realization that no matter how hard I tried, nor how long I lived, I would never truly be assimilated. Assimilation doesn’t happen in one’s life-time, but rather across multiple generations.

First generation immigrants of any immigrant group, begin the acculturation process (they keep their primary language and adopt habits and traditions from their new homeland). For example, my parents have always celebrated Thanksgiving. That said, the pecan pie dessert is typically accompanied by a vanilla or chocolate flan. They acknowledge the holiday and respect it, but infuse it with their own culture. Furthermore, they lead a Spanish-language dominant life, engage with Spanish-language media (for the most part), and are reached AND touched by Spanish-language marketing efforts, hence their brand loyalty.

Second generation immigrants are the hybrid segment – the bridge between the immigrant and the assimilated, third-generation Hispanics. They tend to be bilingual and bicultural (at different times of their life accepting and rejecting the diverse aspects of their ethnicity and native-born status). They are much more acculturated than their parents, leading an English-language dominant life, engaging with English-language media (for the most part), and they are reached by English-language/general market marketing efforts but tend to NOT be touched by them; hence, their lack of strong brand loyalty.

The third-generation immigrant is different. My teenage daughter is US born with two American parents. As far as she’s concerned, she leads an English-dominant life and is reached AND touched by English-language marketing efforts. Her assimilation isn’t even questioned.

Understanding the various generations and that the Hispanic culture is extremely interconnected and interdependent may give us a better understanding as to why reaching them on-line makes a lot of sense.

Hasta la proxima,