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Successful Hispanic marketing examined at CATA seminar

September 28, 2012
With Hispanics in the U.S. accounting for one in six persons — and growing – sensible retailers don’t overlook that market segment. But even if you succeed in attracting them to your store, are you prepared to negotiate with them there?
Sara Hasson of Univision Communications spoke at a CATA seminar in September about how to reach the 2 million Hispanics who are widely disbursed in the Chicago market. Indeed, while 29 percent of Chicagoans identify themselves as Hispanic, that percentage is 47 percent in Elgin, 55 percent in Waukegan, and 42 percent in outlying Harvard.
And more are on the way: one in four babies born in Illinois is Hispanic, according to National Vital Statistic Reports. Nielsen projects that from 2012 to 2017, Hispanics will represent 100 percent of the total population growth in Chicago and Illinois.
Among Chicago Hispanics, 11 percent speak only Spanish and 10 percent speak only English. A whopping 79 percent are bilingual and they consider speaking Spanish to be a choice, not a necessity. Yet among the 25 top-rated TV shows among bilinguals, 24 appear on a Spanish language network.
The top three sports for Hispanics—soccer, soccer and soccer—air year-round on Univision’s Chicago station, WGBO-TV, and the ratings exceed those scored by the Cubs, the White Sox and the Blackhawks.
Polk reports that Hispanics make new-vehicle purchases more frequently than all others, 35 months to 39 months, respectively. Polk also found that Chicago Hispanics spent an average $25,300 on new vehicles, compared to $28,100 overall.
An attraction to auto makers seeking to reduce the ages of their first-time buyers, the median age of Illinois Hispanics is 26, compared to 37 overall. Hasson said marketing to Hispanics “is a great way to achieve that.”
But how is that done best? Hasson said that while non-Hispanics typically view buying a car as a business transaction like any other, Hispanics consider it to be a family event. And while they can be wary of the process, the salesperson is seen as a trusted advisor who can help the family reach a team decision. Spanish-speaking salespeople have an advantage in becoming that trusted advisor.
To be able to do that, negotiation areas must exist to accommodate families. Some dealerships, Hasson said, convert the employee lunchroom into such an area on Saturdays, when traffic is greater.
A Hispanic-friendly showroom, she added, should include Spanish signs, POP and brochures; “Se Habla Español” on all entrances; (Spanish Spoken Here); “Yo Hablo Español” on employee name tags (I Speak Spanish); and a children’s section with small desks and chairs with coloring materials.
Hasson said F&I managers who speak Spanish often enjoy greater closing ratios. “It eases the stress in the negotiating process,” she said. “It also presents opportunities to increase product sales.”