;   Medical Translation Insight: Hispanic marketing at drug & device companies? No gracias - ForeignExchange Translations

Hispanic marketing at drug and device companies? No graciasHome Depot's surprise decision to shut down its Hispanic web site highlights the challenges associated with translating web sites in general and with Hispanic web content, specifically. While it's easy to second-guess the move from the outside (Is four months enough time to test the concept? How much would it have cost to maintain the site, now that it was built?), Home Depot executives clearly felt that this was not a good area to spend money on.

As it happens, most pharmaceutical and medical device companies agree.

Drug and device companies have tightened their belts and focused on cutting their overall media spend but Hispanic marketing and branding seem to be particularly hard-hit. For instance, despite the fact that Hispanic-targeted cable TV ads saw a substantial increase in advertising spend in 2008, pharmaceutical companies went the other way: Branded cable ads on Spanish language programming dropped from $1.4 million to under $850,000 and non-branded advertising was nonexistent on Spanish language network and cable TV. It's no wonder that the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) labeled the pharmaceutical industry as the #1 laggard when it comes to spending on Hispanic marketing.

This is despite the fact that the Hispanic population in the U.S. grew to 45 million in 2007 (U.S. Census Bureau). If you're keeping tabs, that's more than 15% of the U.S. population.

As importantly, between 1990 and 2007, U.S. Hispanic buying power grew at a compound annual rate of 8.7 percent (compared to non-Hispanic growth rate of 4.8 percent), says AHAA. Regardless, drug and device companies are largely taking the Home Depot approach and saying "No gracias".

That's not to say that Hispanic marketing is totally absent. As these examples show, companies that sell DTC or OTC products tend to offer token support to Spanish-language marketing and branding.

Nonetheless, for most companies, Hispanic marketing is not worth the effort.

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  1. Anonymous said...
    At first, I thought that the lack of marketing to Hispanics might be smart demographic research. Perhaps the US Hispanic demographic's access to internet and healthcare is not high enough to justify the cost, but quick research on the internet does not back up this premise:

    "The Hispanic audience segment is now growing faster than the total US online population by half"http://www.bizreport.com/2009/04/comscore_us_hispanic_online_population_reaches_milestone.htmlIt might still be perceived as a group that doesn't justify the cost, but it is certainly a growing market.
    Anonymous said...
    I think before we say adios to marketing to Hispanic's, we need to point out some crucial points to the Home Depot story.

    First, we have to remember the Home Depot only gave the site 4 months to live - could ROI come through in such a short amount of time?

    Secondly, according to the WSJ, Home Depot simply took the English site and translated it into Spanish. They also put over 4000 products on the Spanish site.

    Those of us who work in marketing know that a simple translation of English to Spanish is not going to bring in Latinos or build brand loyalty from us. Another question we have to ask is what products did they put up? Do they know if those were the products that Hispanics wanted the most? Perhaps Home Depot might have been better off starting off small in only building a few pages with products and contect that mattered to their customers and build a site with relevent content. All of this might have changed the outcome a bit. Finally, we don't know how they marketed the site.

    These are all important questions and key points that should be known before we all think of saying "no gracias" and dismiss investing in this audience.
    Mayrah said...
    For Home Depot to make the decision to bring down its Hispanic targeted website after a mere four months was a bit premature in my opinion - especially after having made the initial investment.

    Building the site in the first place might have been a good move but it is quite transparent to me that, once "established," how/when to support it might have become a critical issue - obviously not a very well thought-out business decision on the part of Home Depot.

    I guess the "home work" done prior to creating the site was not exhaustive enough to provide constant sustainability via messaging, products/services or other audience drivers that would keep the potential audience engaged.
    Drug-device-combination market said...
    Yes its true, I think before we say adios to marketing to Hispanic's, we need to point out some crucial points to the Home Depot story.

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