The Presidential Election: A Case Study in Hispanic Diaspora Marketing

5 min read
August 04, 2016

(photo courtesy Barack Obama) 

Presidential elections are interesting case studies into the science of grassroots marketing and demographic targeting.  Each party has a message, much like brands, that they're trying to influence consumers with.  There are market leaders like the two major parties.  They each have their core customers that swear by the brand and will never switch and those that look for the best deal.  Those consumers are what presidential races are usually about, the undecided consumer.  There are several types of undecided consumers.  In this race, which is primarily a marketshare battle, the grand prize is the Latino consumer.  


Following the last Presidential Election, we talked about President Obama's ground game and how he largely won support amongst ethnic buyers by winning in the trenches.  WIth the Latino consumer, again the ultimate prize for both parties, we can expect to see an all out marketing assult in effort to acquire them.  Let's take a look at some campaign best practices that translate to Hispanic Diaspora advertising.  

Understanding the Latino Marketplace

The Hispanic consumer is long been misunderstood by marketers and politicians alike. Often under-estimated, their $1.3 Trillion contribution to the American consumer market last year far outpaces other groups in areas like groceries, used cars, phone services and others.  with that level of buying power, they deserve consideration in any party platform or your marketing strategy.  We know now that Latinos aren't one homogenius group and that they are quite complex, displaying uniquely different behaviors for each generation removed from immigration.  We know that cultural cues, spending habits, language choices and decision makers can be starkly different from one hispanic diaspora to another.  While no longer an underrepresented group in martketing efforts, they remain rather ellusive due to a lack of consistency and dedication to traditional media outlets.  


PRO TIP: Try Spanglish.  While not an official language and frowned upon by purist, Spanglish ( a mix of spanish and english) is widely used in the Hispanic Diaspora.  With so many words not accurately translated laterally, bilingual Latinos seemlessly hop back and forth between languages.  Using Spanglish in your marketing can be fun but don't over do it.  

Embrace the Hispanic Diaspora

So what makes up the Hispanic Diaspora.  Diaspora is defined as a group of people living outside of their original homeland.  Unlike the Caribbean Diaspora which is largely undifused, a smaller percentage of Latino bloodlines can be traced back to a single country of origin.  We see far more cross pollination, especially among those immigrating from the Latin America.  For marketers this can be challenging.  Political campaigns often use serogates that look like and speak like the targeted voters to communicate and better resonate with the populations than the candidate themselves.  They also are able to uniquely address the needs of the community on a micro level.  Latinos in the Hispanic Dispora often see themselves as part of the minority and as such often feel American Society doesn't cater to them.  Creating products and experiences that cater specifically to this audience goes a long way to endearing your brand to the Latin community.  


PRO TIP: Spend some time thinking about how you can create specific days or unique experiences that honor the unique Consider adding a Latin Heritage Night to your events calendar, perhaps you can add some salsa, meringue or reggaton to your background music in-store playlist.  Think about selling products or add decor that can only be found in Latin countries.  But remember authenticity is key.  

Si Se Puede... Be Social 

Social and other forms of digital media have become a huge communication tool for Presidential Campaigns.  In the last 8 years, President Obama has become the first President with not one, but two Twitter accounts (@POTUS stays with the sitting President.)  In 2008, his embrace of social media gave him a leg up on young voters who felt closer to the candidate and could communicate with him, even if it was actually an aide who would answer back.  For the Hispanic demographic, one of my Top 7 Hispanic Marketing Trends to Watch certainly applies here.  With Latinos over-indexing in digital, brand experiences must be more intereactive.  We can't all follow the candidates from campaign stop to stop so Latinos seek on-demand video soundbytes, social media posts and now even snaps to educate themselves on the candiates.  Our marketing must mirror this grassroots marketing philosphy. Marketing to the Hispanic Diaspora must be a two-way dialog and response must be on demand.  Facebook pages keeps track of your response time for a reason.  Latinos, especially millenials, can be impatient and can disregard a brand that takes too long to offer a response.  

 If you are targeting Hispanic Millenials, consider Snapchat and the brand new snap features in Instagram. It allows you to communicate with your audience using extremely short clips and its fun. You can use a variety of filters that you can geo customize, features and the wildly popular, Snapchat Lenses. Snap stories organize your thoughts into nice and neat windows over the past 24 hours that keep content from becoming stale and stays in the moment.   

Own Up To Your Mistakes

Like every Presidential candidate, you're going to make mistakes or your actions will have unintended considquences.  The best marketers address issues as they arise and don't let them linger.  Latinos are extremely brand loyal while it may take some time to build trust, they will stick with you through some missteps as long as you own them.  


PRO TIP:  One mistake non-Hispanic marketers make is trying to give off the perception they are Latino.  Its ok to be different.  One of the most endearing personas an American can be is a "gringo."  Former New York City Mayor and billionaire media mogul, Michael Bloomberg famously would often do press conferences in Spanish with a horrible English accent earning him the nickname, "Bloombito."  Latinos, to this day, love him for the effort and honor his commitment to recognizing their community.  Remember, you don't need to be a native speaker to be accepted.  Owning your shortcoming goes just as far as not having any at all.  

Analyze, Rinse and Repeat

Lastly its important to analyze, rinse and repeat.  Marketing to the Hispanic Diaspora requires a sustained effort and just like a Presidential race, its a marathon, not a sprint.  You need to make sure to periodically analyze your activities to see what is working and determine why or why not.  It takes time to make an impact so don't get frustrated.  Stick with it.


PRO TIP:  Keep a dashboard of your marketing activity and schedule time weekly to evalute what's working and what's not.  Set goals and measure key performance indicators that show whether or not your efforts are working.  Always look for trends.  If you see that a certain tactic is working, increase frequency and consider building an entire strategy around it.  


In an election enviornment or a brand marketing relationship, communicating with the Hispanic Diaspora audience requires savvy.  While I've outlined some best pracices, its important to try your own and take risks but always remember to keep your audience first.  If you have some other ideas, please feel free to share in the comments section below and check out our new multicultural lead generation eworkbook.


Multicultural Social Media Prospecting


Get Email Notifications