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Direct Response Marketing

Net Gains: Using a Hispanic Market Strategy to Increase U.S. Web Sales.

17 Sep, 2010 By: Denira Borrero Response

In the U.S. direct response industry marketplace, we talk about a variety of tactics to increase sales: upsell, cross-sell and continuity programs are among the most common methods used to increase average order value (AOV), improve media efficiency ratio (MER), and enhance lifetime customer value (LTV). Each of these is certainly well-grounded in an abundance of proven methodologies, research and statistical results.

Simultaneously, we are putting a great deal of energy in DR into optimizing Web site performance. Why? Not only is it becoming the preferred way for consumers to transact (versus the phone), but Web channels operate at a much lower cost than the more traditional live agent channels. Additionally, businesses have access to a much larger audience at a reduced cost and possess more opportunities for self-service and automated processes.

An Overlooked Opportunity

But consider another far less obvious opportunity. At a high level, we know that the U.S. Hispanic audience is 50 million strong. The audience is younger, they have a larger household size and they have more than twice as many children as the general market. There are also significant market opportunities occasioned by the behavioral and attitudinal characteristics of the U.S. Hispanic population.

As our teams conducted in-depth analysis of multi-channel campaign data on programs running in U.S. English and Hispanic markets simultaneously during the past few years, we’ve concluded that there were several key items influencing U.S. Hispanic buying behavior:

  • The U.S. Hispanic “nuclear family” is largely multi-generational.
  • Bilingual and Spanish-only generations often live, socialize and watch TV together.
  • In the same household, generations of U.S. Hispanics are watching both English and Spanish programming and reading English and Spanish publications.

The Jewel in the Market

Based on our qualitative research, it became clear that a significant percentage of U.S. Hispanic buyers might be crossing over to U.S. English sales channels despite having viewed the advertisement in Spanish language. Further qualitative research concluded that the very nature of U.S. Hispanic family behavior, coupled with another basic marketing concept of “reach and frequency,” could (and should) be responsible for a substantial crossover of English-speaking U.S. Hispanics that would transact on U.S. English Web sites and lift unique customer visits, sales conversions, revenue and profitability. But how much impact could there really be?

Stunning Matchback Results

Detailed testing of our matchback theories occurred during the past two years. In order to get a broader spectrum of data, our initial tests began with two of our company’s internal products. The same tests were also run with client products and achieved similar results. During the tests, English-language campaigns were suspended to determine how many orders from Spanish-language campaigns were actually coming through English Web sites. The results were significant:

  • The percentage of Web orders relative to total orders rose from approximately 10 percent to 25 percent.
  • For our two internal products, 80 percent of one and 60 percent of the other’s orders came through the companies’ English-language sites despite the fact that no English-language television campaigns had been running.
  • Additional client tests concluded that 95 percent of Internet orders generated by the Hispanic media campaign were placed through the English Web site.

What We Know Now

Previously, most product marketers assumed that less than 10 percent of Hispanics ordered online, but we confirmed that a minimum of 26 percent of total Spanish orders were coming through the Web and a significant majority were coming through English-language Web sites.

It’s clear that marketers should look at the Hispanic potential in a new light — including a more in-depth behavioral understanding of the U.S. Hispanic buyer — as well as viewing it as an opportunity to lift overall campaign performance.

Denira Borrero is vice president/co-owner of Omni Direct, a turnkey Hispanic direct response marketer and contractor. She has more than 20 years of global marketing and commercial operations experience, and has led a number of successful global product launches. She can be reached at

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