Businesses adapt content to reach different generations of Hispanics

Hispanics have about $1.7 trillion in buying power nationally, and those numbers show no sign of decreasing, according to local marketing representatives.

“This buying power makes the Hispanic market important to all consumer-facing businesses,” Barbara Pierce, president of Tipping Point Communications in Rochester, wrote in an e-mail to El Mensajero Católico.

The City of Rochester is home to the largest percentage of Puerto Ricans per capita in the United States, she said, which makes the Hispanic market valuable locally as well.

Tipping Point works with companies in health care and community health, which are interested in reaching Hispanic households with culturally relevant information and products. To do that, these companies must provide information in the language most accessible, she said.

For Hispanics who are millennials or younger, the targeted messages must be in English and through social media, she noted.

“Research indicates that Hispanic millennials spend 25 percent more time on their smartphones (than other media), and are more likely to engage with brands via social media,” Pierce said. “This makes digital and social media very important for effectively reaching young Hispanics. … Younger audiences, even if they predominantly speak Spanish at home, usually engage online in English.”

To engage older Hispanics, she said marketers use a mix of digital and traditional media, such as print or television, and usually the message will be in Spanish.

About 40 million people in the U.S. speak Spanish at home, making it the country’s second-most spoken language, according to a 2015 report from the Pew Research Center ( The report also found that while nearly all Hispanic adults have a personal connection to Spanish, dominance in the Spanish language is on the decline among second and third generations of Hispanics. The Pew Center reported that 61 percent of Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. are Spanish dominant and 32 percent are bilingual. The number of Spanish speakers drops to 6 percent among second-generation Hispanics and to less than 1 percent among third-generation Hispanics or higher. On the other hand, the share of Hispanics who are English dominant rises from 7 percent of immigrant Hispanics to 75 percent among third-generation Hispanics.

A Yahoo study ( found that Hispanics are watching more video content online regardless of language. Television viewership dropped 7 percentage points from 2014 to 2015, as the time Hispanics spent watching content on mobile devices increased by 53 percent, according to the study, which also found that 94 percent of Spanish-dominant Hispanics rely on mobile devices to watch online video.

Many businesses around the country are asking for dual-language content and Spanish voice-overs for video commercials, noted Rob Ferrera, a senior account specialist at NEXT! Ad Agency, a division of CGI Communications based in Rochester but with offices in other cities.

While targeted content in Spanish is mainly geared toward older Hispanics, it usually appears on several media platforms, he added. He hasn’t seen a high demand for Spanish material in the Rochester market but said a growing number of businesses are interested in it.

“We do have a handful of businesses that have Spanish-speaking clientele,” he said, noting that his office has Spanish-speaking staff to best meet those clients’ needs.

The linguistic preferences of Hispanics make it difficult for marketers to develop a one-size-fits-all approach, which is challenging no matter the racial or ethnic background of a targeted audience, Pierce explained.

“When we are working with clients that want to reach audiences across generations, we usually adjust messaging, communications channels and other details to ensure a brand’s message resonates with the target audience,” she said. “Remaining attuned to the culture of the audience we’re talking to is paramount. Market research is critical to ensuring we understand the sensitivities, priorities and interests of any target audience. Listening to the group you’re trying to reach is key to understanding what moves them.”

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