Hispanic Direct Marketing. What Are You Waiting For?

Michael Saray, Hispanicad.com, May 9, 2005

If you think that you may be overlooking the potential of direct marketing to the Hispanic market, you may be right. The direct marketing industry generates more than 3 trillion in revenues, and that doesn’t include the online and interactive area. And yes, the Hispanic potion of this revenue is increasing.

This year’s Directo Days Conference, the annual conference of Directo, the Hispanic Council of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) was a great success. Attendance was the largest ever, with well-received keynotes, sessions, and workshops. Participants ranged from experienced client side DM practitioners to Hispanic advertising agencies wanting to learn more about direct marketing. Sessions content was varied and comprehensive with only a few “basic” sessions. Channels covered included DRTV, online, and direct mail. Case studies came from banking, online, financial services, publishing, research, and non profits.

The final keynote, John Greco, president of the DMA, spoke about the association’s commitment to the Hispanic market. He also reviewed some of the key findings from the just released DMA/Directo 2005 Hispanic Market Report. Highlights included:

Clearly Hispanic attitudes to direct marketing are very positive. More important, all segments of the population can be marketed to. Yes, there is a tendency for direct buyers to be more acculturated but Ingles Sin Barreras is proof that you can target the non-acculturated Spanish dominant segment. Sold very successfully via DRTV, this product, with a price tag of well over a $1,000, thrives in an environment where most of its clients do not have credit cards.

The huge success of the AOL Latino’s computer offer demonstrates that Hispanics clearly see the Internet as a way of moving ahead. And the Internet may be the most direct channel of them all.

Direct mail might not seem as exciting as “advertising” but it too is very effective. Capital One has acquired millions of Hispanic customers through its Hispanic specific mailings, constantly testing and improving the offer and the creative.

The numbers above show that telemarketing channels are not frequently used by Hispanics. However the reasons for this are not clear. It could be simply that there have been relatively few telemarketers who have tried the Hispanic market. The National Do Not Call (DNC) list has about 82 million registrants. While not specifically counted the government managers of the DNC list indicate that those registered on the Spanish language site number only in the hundreds of thousands. True, some could have registered on the English site but it is apparent that Hispanics are not being inundated with telemarketing calls.

The above clearly suggests that there is plenty of opportunity for direct marketing channels in the Hispanic market. Plus, in today’s environment, where every marketing dollar is questioned, direct marketing is completely accountable and measurable. I was recently asked in an interview how you could tell whose direct marketing campaigns were working. My response was quite simple. If you see ongoing activities or frequent campaigns by a marketer they must be working. As  ROI can be easily tracked repeat campaigns generally mean success. Sure, the first few campaigns might not produce stellar results but all can be tracked and used to improve the next campaign.

So what are you waiting for?

Michael Saray is the president and founder of Michael Saray Hispanic Marketing, Inc., a full service direct marketing agency focused on Hispanic markets. He has been active in the Hispanic direct marketing area since 1993.