Is your brand missing out on this growth opportunity?
The US Hispanic population is one of the largest markets today…
It’s time for brands to develop culturally relevant marketing to appeal to this growing demographic…
My guest Hernan Tagliani is the president of The Group Advertising, a multicultural, multidisciplinary advertising and digital marketing agency.
In this episode, he’ll share how he helps brands assure sustainable growth by targeting a more diverse customer base—and break down where executives should start when engaging with the Hispanic market.
Mentioned in this episode:
Voiceover: This is Performance Delivered, Insider Secrets for Digital Marketing Success with Steffen Horst and Dave Antil.
Steffen Horst: Welcome to the Performance Delivered Insider Secrets for Digital Marketing Success Podcast, where we talk with marketing and agency executives and learn how they build successful businesses and their personal brand. I’m your host, Steffen Horst. The topic for today’s episode is how brands need to reevaluate their marketing strategies to stay relevant and assure sustainable growth.
Here to speak with me is Hernan Tagliani who is the president of The Group Advertising, a multicultural, multidisciplinary advertising and digital marketing agency. Hernan helps brands become relevant by targeting a more diverse customer base. He is the leading multicultural marketing expert, acclaimed business speaker and the author of the Hispanic Market for Corporate America, How to Make your Brand Culturally Relevant. Hernan, welcome to the show.
Hernan Tagliani: Thank you. Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here today.
Steffen: So, Hernan, before we start talking about how brands need to reevaluate their marketing strategies, tell our listeners a bit more about yourself. How did you get started in your career and what led you to becoming the president of The Group Advertising?
Hernan: Well, I started my career 33 years ago. So I work in advertising since I was 17 years old. I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina had the opportunity to go to university, get my degree in marketing advertising. And then I started working for different ad agencies. Some of them American agencies, like James Walter Thompson, and so forth.
And then from there, I had the opportunity to meet one of my business partners who was a creative director at one of these agencies and decided to branch out and open our own agency in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which was a huge success, working with big brands, global brands. And then what brought me in the US, I lived here for 22 years, it was my wife.
My wife is an American woman, she was in Buenos Aires on vacation, we met at an Irish bar. And we have long-distance relationship. I decided to sell my business to my partners, moved here 22 years ago and started all over again. So started working for the Tribune Company, then different ad agencies. And for being this Spanish token guy of this agency, I was always in charge of all Hispanic marketing execution for all different brands that these agencies had.
And in ’06 is when I decided that it was the time for me to have my agency again, and concentrated on this growing and influential market, which is Hispanics. Which is part of the big multicultural arena at the present time, which is where the growth is coming. So I love my job. I love my business. I love helping executives and marketing people in how to seize one of the greatest sales opportunities next to the general market, which is US Hispanic market.
Steffen: So if we move into today’s topic, so how do brands need to, or where do brands to start to reevaluate their marketing strategies to continue to grow and be relevant?
Hernan: Very simple. United States is going through a culturally and demographic shift. And I’m saying these because more and more minorities are driving the growth of these nations. And it’s impacting everything from the economic side, the way brands they market their products on political campaigns at the same time. So in a nutshell, right now, what is going on is that minorities will become majorities by 2045. I’m not just saying this, the latest 2020 US Census already have reported.
So it is time for brands exactly to start thinking about how are we going to grow our brand moving forward, because the market is not the same market that was five years ago or before the pandemic. And it’s not going to be the same market next year in five years and 10 years from now. So the only way to grow your brand is exactly to pay attention in the markets that you’re conducting business.
How diverse the audience Is that those DMS, where you have a strong footprint are and if you haven’t done any through tap any other audiences then this is the time for you. This huge business opportunity sitting right on your lap that is just about reaching, getting to know your, these influential consumers. And introduce yourself to them and generate a really strong brand experience from the first time they interact with your brand.
So that’s what is going on is minorities will become majorities very soon. Right now, what is going on if you take a look of multicultural and particular millennials, it is estimated there are a little over 75 million Millennials. 42% is multicultural, a little over a 25% is US Hispanic. More than 52% of the Hispanic, US Hispanic population is millennial. And if you take a look of Gen Z, the census rate reported that 54% of people 18 years old and younger, are multicultural. Hispanics represents 27%, of overall Gen Z. So, in a nutshell, it’s useful.
Diversity is becoming the counterweight of white aging consumers. So for brands, if you really want to stay relevant, besides technology, you know, all social media and all that stuff, it is time to start reevaluate how we can take the brand to the next level. What are we going to do to take advantage of this business opportunity out there that we haven’t talked or tapped in the past. So that’s where we’re going.
Steffen: So if a brand is interested, after listening to the podcast episode to explore the Hispanic market, as one of the, you know, the multicultural groups in the US, where would you suggest they start their journey?
Hernan: The start of the journey, first of all, it has to start from the decision makers in the organization that truly understand the market, the Hispanic market overall, right? Right now, what we’re talking about the Hispanic market represents over 19% of US population. It is considered as the one of the top 10 economies in the world with a GDP larger than Mexico, Spain, and Australia, if you take just the US Hispanic market, which is over 62 million people living in the US and turning to their own country. That’s why is their GDP is larger than these other countries. So it’s a huge business opportunity.
So understanding that more than 75%, sorry, only 1/3 of the Hispanic population is foreign-born. The rest is US-born. Bilingual, bicultural, higher household income, higher level of education. They tend to spend 90% of their disposable income. So it’s a very lucrative opportunity. And the problem is, there’s still a little bit of misunderstanding that, you know, some people, they still associate Hispanic, with people crossing the border illegally.
And that’s the minority. As I said before, it’s only 1/3 of the US Hispanic population is foreign-born, the rest is US-born. So understanding that and then how can you integrate that into your marketing decisions and strategy. Now, most of the time brands, they look at the Hispanic market, on an ad on, and they see it more on the language execution rather than understanding the culture.
So that’s why there’s a tendency or translate in English to Spanish. And you know, there are more than 20 different nationalities that speak Spanish. So we have different language variations, in English we call slang. So you need to be very careful with your marketing campaigns, how you truly get your message across and how strong that message is, that truly appeal to their needs and the cultural nuances.
That’s why we as an agency don’t believe in translations, we believe in trans creations. Which is create a communication campaign driven by strong solid data, that with messages that truly appeal to the needs of these consumers in a really culturally relevant way. That’s when you will make that success that you’re looking for.
Steffen: Interesting that you just said that because one of the questions I have jotted down here is you talked about that they are bilingual. Which a lot of agency and again, you just said that, will say, well, you know, what, should we advertise to them in English? Should we advertise to them in Spanish? If we do it in Spanish, which was kind of the first level right of going in the right direction, potentially, but then it’s like, did you use Spanish Spanish air quotes I’m doing here right?
Or should you use kind of Latin American Spanish, which is different to the Spanish Spanish but you already said you know, there are obviously several countries that have all their different ways how things are pronounced, called, etcetera. Which sounds like a big undertaking to serve all of them, right. So how should they look at that? I mean, if you just want to get your feet wet to go all the way in it sounds like, you know, a mountain to climb.
Hernan: Yeah. Well, the answer is very simple. Is people get caught up into language. And language is not as important as culture. So in order to be successful with the Hispanic market, you need to make sure that you have a campaign in both languages. English and Spanish, but with messages that truly appeal to their cultural needs. So it has to be culturally relevant. When it comes to translations, of course, there are as I said before, they’re more than 20 different nationalities.
So it’s not cost-efficient to have campaigns for Puerto Ricans, Argentinians, Colombians, Venezuela, it will cost you a lot of money. What you need to find out is what are those behaviors, common denominators, where you can introduce your brand and use a Spanish language like for example Casiano with words that will allow you or help you to get the message across. But with the intention to truly engage that audience the right way appealing to what is relevant for them.
That’s what I’m saying in culture is more important than language. So the more acculturated, the more use of English, the less acculturated, the more use of Spanish, so it has to be both, depending also on the generation, right? If you’re talking to a Gen Z, they will prefer speaking in English. But one of the biggest mistakes that I see with brands is they get caught up into the language aspect. So when it comes to Gen Z, they will tell you well, we don’t need to do a campaign for Hispanics because they speak English.
So my English campaign will relate to what these Gen Z or these millennial is looking for. And reaching and engaging are two separate things. Yes, you will reach the Hispanic audience with this English message who are watching general market TV mainstream TV. But is your brand thoroughly engaging with them? Not necessarily, because your brand lacks a cultural relevancy and your efforts has been doing translation-based.
So you’re forcing basically a strategy created for the general market to make it work in Hispanic market by a simple translation. And that’s when things you know, I have seen many times brands that they are not successful with Hispanic market because it was translation based. There was no data analysis behind. They used general market data to dictate what they’re going to do with Hispanic market. And when it comes to language the same. It’s like saying like Australians, and Americans are the same, because they speak English. No.
You have to have a campaign, of course, it’s going to be in English, but you got to make adjustments on the execution. Because culturally, they are a little bit different. And that’s what I see that brands are doing wrong. They get caught up into the language aspect, rather than understanding the consumer’s wants, needs, desires, common denominators, and how they want to be approached. In what language and how to make that experience relevant.
Steffen: Yeah, yeah. Now larger companies, enterprises, they might have deeper pockets to kind of actually do it, right. The way how you just explained it. What about smaller companies? How can they become culturally relevant when they want to target, you know, for example, Hispanic audience, but with less available budget?
Hernan: Okay. So two things. One, my experience in many occasions, I’m not saying all the time, but sometimes you will think for being in large corporations that they have the budget, they understand the importance, and they’re ready to do something. Most of the time, they’re not. They do have the budget, but they don’t see and understand the business opportunity that they have. It’s not part of their priority list.
Even though in their mind when you ask them, what are you trying to do? They say I’m trying to increase sales because we didn’t have a good turnaround with pandemic so we need to increase sales. So where are the growth is coming? Multicultural. So multicultural should be part of your priority this year. And in many cases, or Hispanics, you know, they’re just used to the same, doing the same thing expecting a different result.
So something to point out because I was many times I’m amazed talking with big brands, they say oh, they have the money. They have the budget. They have the I’m sure they have research plan and they have done some campaigns. Some of them they haven’t done anything, or they’ve done it, but it wasn’t executed properly. For a smaller business owner, you know, of course, budget is a critical thing.
So depending on the area where you’re conducting business, I always said first start by understanding and identifying your multicultural audience, in this case, Hispanic market, for example. Develop a lot of really good connections and relationships in the community. In many cities, they are Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, there are some other organizations, how you can partner with them. Whether they are at events that they put together, or golf tournaments, you and I, we love to play golf.
So develop that relationship with them. Sometimes they have, let’s say, an event that maybe you’re a catering company or you have your own restaurant. So you can get your word out by you know, helping them with catering their events. And then you know, start also if you’re willing to advertise, well, there’s a lot of Hispanic media out there from radio station to you know, AM/FM TV stations, you name it, that in many cases, depending on the city, they are very, very affordable.
And nowadays, you know, with social media it’s crucial. With Facebook as well, you have a very captive audience there in YouTube and Tik Tok. So, there’s a lot of things that you can do with a little bit of money as a starting point. And then depending on your budget, then you can be a little more aggressive and advertise, you know, more on an omni channel type of campaign. But, that’s the key.
Steffen: How important is geographic consideration in when you are planning to target Hispanics, obviously, there’s a greater population, you know, Florida, California, kind of the Sunbelt just kind of southern states, obviously, because they’re bordering Mexico. How important is thinking about geography, when you are running or planning campaigns?
Hernan: It is very important. You know, you have to basically analyze geographically where the Hispanic audience is. How far for example, they’re willing to drive to come to a store like yours that you sell specific product. So instead of a, you know, national type of level campaign, it’s better to be geo-targeted. You know, it all depends on what type of product you have. You know, if you’re Coca-Cola, you are everywhere.
But if you have a very specific service, and you have specific stores, so analyze the different DMAs is on the market, populations, average age, income level, you know, everything and then start making your decisions accordingly. Just to give you an example, in the state of Florida, the number one city that has large Hispanic population is Miami. Second one is Orlando. The third one is Tampa and the fourth is Jacksonville.
So if you are a midsize company, and you are doing business in some of the city, and you are not taking advantage of tapping into this audience, so definitely, it’s a huge business opportunity, you’re missing out. In Miami, 75% of the population there is Hispanic. So if you are not doing any Hispanic advertising, then you’re talking to 30% of the population, which is not majority. Texas is another state where Hispanics became majority.
So if you are doing business in Texas and you’re not tapping into the Hispanic market, again, you’re missing, you’re not talking to majorities, you’re talking to minorities. California, where you are located. Number one Hispanic market. If you’re neglecting the Hispanic market, again, there’s so much business opportunity that my message is always try to be open-minded and understand where the growth is coming.
And the business opportunities that you have, just for the fact that you have been in the market for 20, 30, 40, 50 years, doesn’t mean that everybody knows who you are. And I always in this example, you and I we can be neighbors, that we live each other from across the street for 20 years. I never invite you to my house to have some drinks and get to know my wife and get to know you as a person.
So I cannot say I know everything about you because I live across the street. That’s my message to brands. Just the fact that you have been in the market for 40, 50 years and all you need is to advertise to the general market, don’t take the assumption that everybody knows every Hispanic audience knows who you are or why they should be doing business with you. So in order to be to be relevant is understand what the consumers are looking for. Wants, needs, desire.
That’s why I strongly believe that we are shifting from the transactional marketing as many corporations run selling products 80s and 90s, to the brand experiential, and that’s what technology created a demand of cultural connectivity. So the more you know your consumers, the more you know their patterns that behaviors, wants, needs, desires, the better chances your brand has to succeed with Hispanic market.
Steffen: Now, for the brands that bought into what you said, I was like, this makes all sense. But there are a lot of marketing media advertising solutions that you can use to communicate with your target audience. What are the most effective ones that you would recommend to engage with the Hispanic market to start off with?
Hernan: Well, first of all, digital social media is a must. It’s huge. You know, not only Hispanics over index on a smartphone ownership, but also an access to the internet. Besides that, they tend to spend more time on social media platforms. And according to Google is 35% more likely to reshare posts or make comments.
So starting there. When it comes to traditional media, well, radio is very, very, very strong. And depending on what markets you know, for example, Puerto Rico, just to give you an example, it’s radio it’s very strong. But TV as well, you know. Print of course, is not as strong as it used to be. And the idea is you have to have a right omni-channel campaign where traditional and non-traditional media, they supplement each other. You know, outdoor is a great outlet as well you know, as directional.
So understanding where your store is and the demographic of those zip codes where your store is, it might give you a little bit of intelligence on okay, maybe these billboards or digital boards we’re gonna place as the directional for the store will have it bilingual. So we’ll have it in Spanish, and we’ll have it in English. Every time it rotates. So that’s why where the media stands out right now, the omni-channel approach is the way, the best way to go.
Steffen: Now, throughout our conversation you already mentioned a few do’s or don’ts. What are some other do’s and don’ts that you would recommend or that you think are relevant to consider in addition to don’t translate from English into Spanish, and make sure it’s culturally adjusted so that you’re able to hit your target audience?
Hernan: Yeah. So one, I always said be open-minded. Just for the fact you have been in the market for many years and you market to general market, doesn’t mean Hispanics, they’re dying to do business with you. Okay, if you haven’t talked to them in the past, or, or really the efforts that you have done, they were more like, on and off type of campaigns that sometimes I see with brands. You just hear from them during Hispanic Heritage Month, and then they’re quiet the rest of the year.
So, be open-minded. So be committed as the same time. Companies, they have a tendency when it comes to multicultural market, or even Hispanic market, they tend to allocate according to the Hispanic association and advertising agencies, between six to 8% of the overall marketing budget, which is insane. Because they are in certain areas or markets, they have footprint, where as I explained before, Hispanics are majorities.
But advertising-wise, they are not taking that into consideration. Number three, so be committed, and then number three will be take the time to understand your consumers. Do a lot of market research, if you haven’t done before. You cannot make business decisions from general market research and apply them to the Hispanic market. Even though they are US-born doesn’t mean they’re 100% fully Americans.
You know, there’s half and half. So that’s why the way they interact with brands, some of them they like to interact in Spanish, some of them they like to interact in English, some of them they they like to interact with both. So understanding your audience, consumer’s behaviors, purchase pattern is very important on that end. And then last but not least, make sure that the whole experience at time of purchase it feels welcoming and also is relevant.
From the first touching point when consumers go to your website, make sure that you have a bilingual page or a multilingual page. If you are going to advertise in the Hispanic community, and then in Spanish, and then you take them into an English site, well, you’re falling short on the execution, right? And the image you’re showing is this brand is not trying hard enough. So make sure to have the right elements.
The same when you go to community events. Sometimes I see brands, they sponsor events, and then you go to the booth and try to talk to somebody and everything is in English, and nobody speaks Spanish. Or, and they will tell you, I just speak un poquito. So then the whole experience is falling apart. So you know, let’s be realistic. Advertising and marketing, it is a lot of common sense.
The problem is that common sense isn’t that common anymore. Sometimes people get too caught up into the language aspect. And it’s more than that, you know, you have to have a strategy that is aligned to your general market strategy, but truly appeal to the cultural nuances of these multicultural audiences. Same with African Americans, right. I see brands that they do the same exact message for white consumers. And all they do is they change, put some African American actors into the spot.
So again, you’re not trying hard enough. Understand the culture. Your message most likely will have to be adjusted, right to appeal to African American community. The culture besides having African American actors. I see the same they do it with Hispanics, you know, or we want to make an ad that appeals to everybody, let’s just put actors that they represent African American, Hispanics, LGBT. But the core of the message is just one message.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that appeals to all different cultures, nuances, and ages. That’s why if you’re going to do it, my advice is just do it right. Be committed, have the right budget, this is not about investing more marketing dollars. I get it all the time. I don’t have budget, I’m not asking you for more budget. What I’m asking you is to be smart in the point of view of where are you doing business, how your demographic has shift, and how you will reallocate your existing marketing dollars to those areas of growth.
That’s how you’re gonna grow your brands. That’s how you will be able to assure sustainable growth. It’s not about spending more. It’s about being efficient with your budget. Outsmarting your competition instead of outspend more your competition. That’s the idea.
Steffen: Well, those are great last words. Hernan, thank you so much for joining me on the Performance Delivered podcast and sharing your thoughts on how brands need to reevaluate their marketing strategies to stay relevant and assure sustainable growth. If people want to find out more about you, how can they get in touch?
Hernan: They can definitely, you know, go to our website, www.thegroupads.com. That will be t as tango, h e g r o u p ads.com. They can also call me at 407-898-2409. We’ll be more than happy to help you with your multicultural marketing initiative or outreach.
Steffen: Perfect and as always, we’ll leave that information in the show notes. Thanks everyone for listening. If you liked the Performance Delivered podcast, please subscribe to us and leave us a review on iTunes or your favorite podcast application. If you want to find out more about Symphonic Digital, you can visit us at symphonicdigital.com or follow us on Twitter at Symphonic HQ. Thanks again and see you next time.
Voiceover: Performance Delivered is sponsored by Symphonic Digital. Discover audience-focused and data-driven digital marketing solutions for small and medium businesses at symphonicdigital.com.