Friday, July 29, 2011

Older Latinos: An Underestimated Marketing Opportunity

I have been thinking that for the last 20 years the marketing industry keeps talking about Hispanic youth as the promised land of opportunity. No question that Latinos are fundamentally characterized by their youth because their median age is 10 years younger than that of the overall US population. Still, there are older Latinos, and surprisingly they are a fast growing subpopulation of people 50 and over in the United States. That is not hard to understand since everyone ages and Hispanics are the fastest growing cultural group in the United States.

The cult of youth among marketers is understandable, but looking at some data from the Florida State University DMS Insights Multicultural Marketing Research Project of 2011 suggests that there is ample opportunity to capitalize on 50+ Latinos because their aspirations are high.

For example, among those who are online who do not currently have a blog, one can see that those who prefer to communicate in Spanish are more likely than anyone else to say they are planning to have a blog within the next year, and those 50+ are the most ambitious in this respect than anyone else in their age group.

% Plan to have a blog within the next year

Another example is the aspiration to have a smart phone. 50+ Latinos who prefer to communicate in Spanish are more likely than anyone else to say they are planning to have a smart phone within the next year.

% Plan to have a Smart-Phone within next year

Marketers should listen to these aspirations. While they may be overly optimistic, they are worthy of closer examination. These older Hispanics are likely to be very interested in furthering their communication with others and marketers should facilitate this aspiration. Now, the reason why Hispanics who prefer English are less aspirational according to these charts is because they already have these technologies (see prior blog postings). Now it is the turn of their Spanish speaking counterparts.

It seems to me that the idea of concentrating only on Latino youth may be obscuring the important opportunity of listening to the needs and aspirations of more mature Hispanics. They can be a gold mine for those who understand their views, opinions, and product interests.
The interesting thing about the explosion of Latino growth in the US is that youth always results in older age. This is something worth remembering.

The data for this study was collected during March 2011. This online sample was comprised of 500 respondents per segment, for a total of 2,500, based on quotas by gender, age, and geographic location. DMS Insights managed the sample and data collection and they graciously contributed their effort to the academic program of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at Florida State University. This study was conducted by the faculty and students of the graduate Multicultural Marketing Communication course offered by FSU.

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