July 2007 - Channel Crossing: U.S. Hispanic

Experiences of the U.S. Hispanic Market Pioneers

By Kathi Moore

It’s been several years since the direct response community at large started tracking the successes-and failures-of marketers entering the U.S. Hispanic airwaves. In that time, many have come to realize that to ignore this segment of our consumer population is simply bad business.

But the path to the U.S. Hispanic market is not without obstacles. Using the experiences of DRTV professionals, this article will discuss how we have embraced the U.S. Hispanic market, identified the nuances of doing business in this sector and taken our clients successfully into the venue.

In 2006, Keith Mirchandani, president of Tristar Products, Inc.-intrigued by U.S. Hispanic DR success stories-decided to step into the arena, via the hugely successful Jack LaLanne Power Juicer.

“It became immediately apparent that there were definite differences between our English-language and Spanish-language campaigns,” says Mirchandani.

“Due to slightly lower credit card penetration in the U.S. Hispanic segment, our conversion-to-sale numbers were about 10 percent lower,” Mirchandani says. “The answer was really quite simple: COD.”

Credit card usage among U.S. Hispanics is increasing, but a COD option remains key to a U.S. Hispanic DRTV campaign. Several companies now specialize in providing Hispanic COD services to the DR community.

“There is definitely a need for more call center resources,” adds Mirchandani. “One of the biggest challenges is the need for more seats.” Mark Stenberg, CEO of Iceland Health, LLC, agrees. “There are good shops out there providing Spanish language call center capabilities, but we could definitely use more.”

Both Mirchandani and Stenberg have utilized a Mexico-based call center, and are pleased with the results.

“I’ve found that the best working model for telemarketing in the sector is for the company to be U.S.-based, working with Mexico- and Latin America-based call center staff,” notes Mirchandani.

Educators theorize that we all learn best in our native language. It follows that native Spanish speakers will communicate most effectively with native Spanish callers. The key is to combine language proficiency with good salesmanship in order to achieve the highest possible conversions. Global Telesourcing, ListenUp Espanol and CallZilla are three notable players in U.S. Hispanic telemarketing that operate in this manner. Surely more will follow.

Both Mirchandani and Stenberg agree that their experiences in direct marketing to the U.S. Hispanic consumer have been educational, as well as profitable. Says Mirchandani: “I’m proud to be among the marketers reaching out to the U.S. Hispanic community. Moving forward, Tristar intends to continue offering our products to the Hispanic consumer, in their own language, and with their preferred methods of doing business in mind. It’s a winning scenario for everyone involved.”

Kathi Moore is president of The Xcel Group, Inc. a full-service advertising and marketing agency specializing in U.S. Hispanic direct response television, radio and print advertising. She can be reached at (949) 936-2582 or via e-mail at [email protected].


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