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Latino Link: Reaching Hispanics online

We've written before about Website localization, how companies are trying to connect with the public and their customers and how to reach Hispanics online. Last week, I attended an informative presentation that wrapped up all of these concepts. The talk was given at the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association annual conference by Joe Kutchera, an expert on online marketing to Hispanics.

Kutchera, a marketing veteran who worked for companies like Time Warner and CNN, has recently written a book that presents lessons learned in his career marketing to Hispanics as well some case studies that demonstrate that marketing to Hispanics is not as simple as translating content into Spanish. The book, "Latino Link: Building Brands Online with Hispanic Communities and Content", is a must-read for marketers who hope to draw in the steadily growing Hispanic population in the U.S.

According to Kutchera, by 2015, almost 40 billion Hispanics will be active Internet users. And that's in the U.S. alone. He also pointed out the oft-overlooked fact that Spanish speakers from Mexico and Central and South America are looking for online content in Spanish. Often times, these cross-border surfers aren't finding what they want and end up on sites originating in Spain.

In many Hispanic households in the U.S., it is the younger generation, the kids who are most Web-savvy and therefore serve as conduits for information gathering for others. Also, because there is far more content in English than in Spanish for American Web users, children's English skills are better due to growing up in English neighborhoods and schools.

One great takeaway from "Latino Link" is that Hispanics tend to form and value strong communities. This can be a key learning point for marketers using social media to reach its customers. By leveraging this community aspect and providing the right content in Spanish can draw Hispanics in, build loyalty and spread the word to others. Building this loyalty takes time and the companies who have been successful at it have maintained their commitment and focus over years.

Kutchera's presentation, and his book provide many more valuable anecdotes, best practices, case studies and demographics than can fit in this blog. For more reading on the topic, check out Kutchera's own blog.

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