As demographics continue to shift in the United States, marketers and corporations are literately lost on how to market a large segment of the Latino population: Millennials. For those still anew to Millenials, it refers to those individuals ages 18 and older but born after 1980. The sense of urgency in the marketing world was triggered by the 2010 Census data and compiled by the Hispanic Pew Research revealing that one in five American Millenials is Hispanic. For Hispanics as a standalone group, Millenials currently represents 42% of its total population. The numbers, as impressive as they might be, currently represent an issue more so than an opportunity as most marketers lack a multicultural platform to target an audience that they don’t get. The numbers are legible; the approach is blurry at best.
Hispanic Millennials represent a paradigm to marketers not only for being part of a non-homogenous group but because in their own right they are not homogenous either. One segment of the Hispanic millennials is foreign born, usually referred as DREAMERS. They were brought into the United States as kids without legal status. Many of them are currently beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) although their status remains undefined. They are bilingual and live in both cultures. The second segment is very similar to the first one but they are U.S. citizens born to immigrant parents. The third segment refers to young Hispanics born to Latino families that have been living in the U.S. for two or more generations. Their level of cultural identity varies depending on their surroundings (i.e. Chicago vs. Massachusetts). In spite all their differences, Hispanic millenials still embrace their food, family and music.
Hispanic millennials, just like their counterparts, embrace the technological life style commonly characterized by social media networking, instant messaging, and smart phone media. However, Hispanic millenials are 211% more likely to download content from the internet in comparison to the general population. If indeed downloads are an effective way to expose a brand, marketers have missed a great opportunity to interact with 20% of the millennial population. Hispanic millennials have completely moved away from printed media, more than 60 percent are online and that’s their preferred method to receive their favorite media content. It certainly represents a great opportunity for media content providers to engage Hispanics online if they do it right.
The biggest flaw of all when targeting millennials lies on a basic marketing principle: language. Yes, Hispanic millennials are more receptive to the English language media than their parents, but it doesn’t mean translating ads from English to Spanish is the solution. The message has to be culturally relevant and show a “genuine” understanding of the demographic group. Anything short of that, it is high likely to become an irrelevant marketing effort.
In short, we are in a marketing era where it is less about language and more about cultural fluency. Marketers targeting millennials have to revamp their marketing strategies and hire bilingual and bicultural marketers to better attract a large and elusive demographic group.
Sources: Hispanic Pew Research, 2010 Census, Latinpost