January 2007 - U.S. Hispanic

Building Trust in the U.S. Hispanic Market

By Ana Pacheco

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently teamed up with 60 partner organizations in the U.S. and Latin America to conduct a one-day surf of print, Internet, radio and TV. The objective: to search out deceptive advertising that targets Hispanics.

The results of the surf were clear: “This snapshot reveals that the Hispanic community is bombarded with ads offering false information and often false hope for disease cures or a better lifestyle,” said FTC Chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras during the New York City Hispanic Fraud Prevention Forum.

The FTC’s effort to crack down on unscrupulous marketers is a great start, but the damage has been done. In the wake of this, mainstream marketers are now left with a thoroughly skittish Hispanic consumer who is less likely to volunteer a credit card or checking account number for an unknown brand or product.

What may surprise you to learn is that the fraud the FTC is finally bringing to light is not a recent phenomenon in this consumer group. Over the years, Hispanics have fallen prey to a host of fraudulent schemes.

To counteract the mistrust these scams have fostered, responsible Hispanic direct response marketers have found that the way to reach this consumer en masse is by providing them with a risk-free means of purchasing the product. And the best option they have found is collect on delivery (COD). COD is the only payment method out there that allows this consumer the means of receiving the merchandise at the moment they release custody of funds.

Not surprisingly, the adoption of COD has resulted in higher conversions and a more profitable bottom line for these marketers.

These marketers also have identified one other key component to increasing conversion rates: the quality of the agent who takes those calls. Hispanic DR marketers know that to the Hispanic consumer, the call to the 800 number is not the administrative function that it is for the general market. Hispanic consumers fully expect that the agent will not only answer their questions about the product but that he or she will instill a measure of confidence and trust in the purchase.

The need for non-scripted, high-end agents is, therefore, key to help increase conversion among this consumer base. Major call centers are not equipped to address these nuances. As a result, call lengths are far higher and conversions are substantially lower.

If you look for yourself at how the top 50 Hispanic direct response marketers are penetrating this market, you’ll find that the Hispanic consumer is responsive to these strategies because they help make that first purchase with an unknown marketer a risk-free one.

Only those general marketers who follow suit and recognize the importance of helping to build trust with their Hispanic customers will earn the right to a share of this up-and-coming market.

Ana Pacheco handles business development for Hispanic Logistic Services, LLC, in Los Angeles. She can be reached at (323) 231-4556, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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