Lists and Prospecting: Tips from a Hispanic-Marketing Pro

Hispanics receive considerably less Spanish-language mail than Caucasians receive English-language mail, says Maurice Herrera, vice president of retail sales for New York-based list firm Hugo Dunhill and chairman of Directo, the Hispanic marketing arm of the Direct Marketing Association. For that reason alone, he says, Spanish-speaking Hispanics are potentially more responsive to catalog offers that are at least partially in Spanish.

Herrera offers several other pointers for catalogers who are hoping to break into the Hispanic market:

  • Hispanics are very family oriented. “Everything has to do with family with Hispanics,” he says, “So any offers with family values-oriented themes have strong appeal to them.”
  • Don’t forget about Puerto Rico and its 3 million Hispanics. “Puerto Rico is a place that marketers look at as secondary,” Herrera says. “A lot of marketing plans don’t include Puerto Rico, which is a mistake.”
  • The Hispanic market skews younger than the U.S. market overall. While the average age of the Hispanic population is 25 years old, the average age of the U.S. population is 34, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.
  • Keep the offer and the ordering process simple, especially when mailing to Hispanic prospects who may not be familiar with your company. “Make the toll-free number stand out,” Herrera advises. “Don’t make them go through a whole big process just to place an order, because if they’re not familiar with your market and haven’t seen a catalog from you in the past, making them do too much work will make them hesitant to go forward” — advice that probably pertains to catalogers regardless of their target market.
  • If you plan to translate your catalog into Spanish, don’t translate it word for word. “The same message may not come across,” Herrera says. “Use a knowledgeable translator who knows your market to make your catalog sounds similar in Spanish.”

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