Hispanic purchase decision making

06 Aug 2003|Felipe Korzenny

While clustering all Hispanics in one large category is difficult, because of the many groups that compose the market, there are trends that can be highlighted.

1. Purchasing decisions among many Hispanics are driven by familiarity or lack of familiarity with brands. The bulk of Hispanic consumer, particularly those who are Spanish dominant, buy products that they recognize and know about. There are great opportunities for marketers that have not communicated with the Hispanic market because “just letting them know” what the marketers has to offer is one of the most important drivers of trial and consequent usage. Simply communicating product attributes and uses can create demand because many Hispanic consumers do not know about many of the available products and brands in the U.S. marketplace.

2. Once the obstacles of awareness and knowledge are overcome, then there is the issue of relevance. The way in which Hispanic consumers construe the world is different from the way in which other cultural groups organize information. If the message used in positioning a product is relevant to the needs and culture of Hispanic consumers then purchasing decisions occur. This issue of relevance is complicated because it is composed of cultural compatibility in the first place, but it also consists of life stage and life style compatibility. The joint impact of these difference “relevances/compatibilities” is what accounts for a large part of the prosperity of brands in the Hispanic market.

3. It needs to be clarified that cultural relevance includes language. The construct of culture includes language as a fundamental element. Language is not just the explicit code for communication but the way in which emotions and experiences are shared. The Spanish language “connotes” emotion far beyond the explicit code. Advertising relies on emotion because emotion is what ultimately differentiates products in a crowded marketplace. The emotion communicated via the Spanish language makes the product relevant to the consumer. That is besides the fact that for many in the market, the use of the Spanish language is just a prerequisite for understanding a message at all.

Marketing to the Hispanic consumer has at its core the establishment of a relationship between the seller and the buyer. Hispanics are particularly sensitive to the establishment and maintenance of that relationship.

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