The Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) returned to South Beach late last month to hold its annual Great Ideas Summit at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. The three-day event, which was held from January 26-28, attracted thousands of representatives and interested parties from the direct-to-consumer marketplace and electronic sales industry.
Among those in attendance was the ERA Hispanic Council. A combined peer forum and networking body, the Hispanic Council is the country’s leading organization working with both U.S. Hispanic and Latin American direct response marketers and service providers. Over the course of the past five years, the infomercial industry targeting Hispanic consumers has grown rapidly, both in its ability to reach consumers and in the quality and production of its programming.
“What we really hope to accomplish here is to share valuable information with all Hispanic marketers out there,” said U.S. Hispanic Council committee chair Tom Baker. “Everybody consumes differently. When you say Hispanic or Latino, it’s very broad-based. There are 23 different countries that you’re pulling people from that are here who all have different tendencies in the way they learn and spend. Everybody’s just kind of learning that right now, which is why we’re seeing the spending dollar go up when investing in reaching those communities.”
With infomercial giant Guthy Renker investing more than $100 million last year alone in reaching out to Spanish speaking buyers, marketing approaches with regards to the Hispanic community are undergoing a renaissance of sorts. Where before English language infomercials were merely overdubbed by one dialect of Spanish and broadcast throughout the U.S. and Latin America, some companies are now dedicated solely to reaching Hispanic clientele, with infomercials made specifically for audiences in individual countries and regions.
Certain tendencies among Hispanic consumers, such as the fact that they are the largest base of consumers who purchase through mobile devices, have also affected how products are marketed to them.
“They’ve realized the buying power of this audience and have a better understanding of how to market to them,” says Baker. “You have to find the right resources to use, the right agency, call center and approaches to handling calls. An Anglo call takes about 15 minutes on the average, where it’s going to be a 20 to 30 percent increase on the Latino side because they’re more conversational, ask more questions and want information. At first, marketers didn’t like that, but what they realized after trying it for a while was that they made more dollars on the back end because of the loyalty from the marketplace.”
At the forefront of this shift in sales techniques is Listen Up Español, the leading Spanish language call center focused on the U.S. Hispanic market. The Portland, ME headquartered company—whose Hermosillo, Mexico based center employs more than 800 agents and serves direct response, nonprofit and corporate clients in areas including inbound sales, customer service and lead generation to Spanish advertising services—has been ranked #1 in Business Production and Services among the Fastest Growing Private Companies by the INC 500.
“We want to be able to help our marketers to be smarter,” said Listen Up Español co-founder and president Tony Ricciardi. “We’re trying to create more touch points in our technology that allows the marketer to have more touch points with the customer, such as text messaged or emailed receipts at the end of a call that double as a way for the customer to communicate with the agency after the sale. In today’s economy it’s not just about the transaction, it’s more about getting into a conversation, having a longer lifetime value. Working with the Hispanic market is all a question of how to become better communicators in that market, whether on the customer service side or the sales side.”
For more information, visit <www.retailing.org/greatideas>.