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Hispanic Direct Response TV Apples are Manzanas…

Posted by Elena del Valle on March 9, 2010

By Marcelino Miyares, Jr.
Director, Mercury Media en español

Marcelino Miyares Jr., director, Mercury Media en español

Photo: Mercury Media en español

A bottom line is a bottom line no matter what we call it. That is why I am a convert to the strategic importance of Hispanic Direct Response TV (DRTV). Taking a DRTV approach to the Hispanic market is a proven and valid model for Hispanic marketing because it focuses attention on the bottom line, not just the investment.

The Hispanic segment has reached critical mass as a demographic and few argue its potential contribution to virtually any brand’s performance in the general marketplace. Thanks to Hispanic DRTV, this is now measurable; and more to the point, allows marketers to forecast and optimize the ROI of a Spanish-language media budget.

The account planning challenge is that Hispanic DRTV, retail and drive-to-digital campaigns, compared to their general market source campaigns, will in all likelihood be driven by the same metrics but in a different way. The typical Spanish-language campaign generates more calls and clicks but results in fewer conversions. On the surface, they seem to not perform as well.

Most clients are ready to give up at the first sign of distress; or worse, impose general market solutions to culturally driven metrics. They overlook the fact that between lead generation and conversion there are many variables. And these happen to be culturally and demographically sensitive variables like Average Order Value, Upsell Conversions, Offer Structures, Save-A-Sale and other tactics. These are the building blocks of success in the Hispanic market. This is the account planning opportunity.

We know that 2+2=4. But so does 3+1. Comparing general market and Hispanic metrics is like comparing apples to “manzanas.” Our path to profit may be different, but ROI is ROI. Patient and thorough marketers know this and almost always find that most measured response campaigns can ultimately be managed to exceed ROI goals.

It seems that some clients would rather be “right” than strategic. They would rather focus on how things are done in their general market campaign, as opposed to the resolving the challenges that the Hispanic campaign may pose at the outset of a test. Successful DRTV marketers know that we rarely get it right the first time. General market tests can last months and involve the fine-tuning of pricing, offer structures, creative, telemarketing scripting and other important elements of a successful campaign. Why would it be any different in the Hispanic market?

We need to be better at getting our clients to focus on their goals and business objectives, as opposed to the means to those ends. The path to profit in the Hispanic marketplace is often different from that of the general market. But math and metrics, like any science, are the great equalizers of all language and culture. ROI is all about metrics.

Brands would be much better off, and certainly more strategically effective in this space, if they came to realize that their Hispanic marketing campaigns should be separate but parallel. In other words, address the market in-culture and in-language, but stay within general market branding and ROI parameters. At Mercury en español, we call our approach “Parallel Planning.” Meaning that we manage to general market metrics and objectives but adjust tactically where necessary. We think of it in terms of two rails on one track. Success in Hispanic DRTV is not a question of “if,” but “how” we execute and deliver with a measurable ROI? And what tools do we need to get there?

Traditional media planning and buying focus on the delivery of a message, and measures impact by TRPs. As precise as this trade has become – at best it only allows us to measure the delivery or distribution of our messages. In essence, it all comes down to a CPM which is a “cost” not a result. It is above the line, not the bottom line.

DRTV, on the other hand, is by definition all about the measurement of a specific result. We tend to think of DRTV in terms of 800#s. But our discipline in metrics and sourcing apply to retail, branded DR, lead gen, and drive to web as well.

In the end – it is the end that matters. All marketing is ultimately about generating demand to buy or believe something. It is all about sales. Marketing does not build brands alone. Conversion (i.e sales) builds brands too. This is where the business modeling potential of Hispanic DRTV comes in.

The payoff for clients is a “found market” of 12MM+ households that not only buy on television, but are high index shoppers at all of the mass and general merchandise retailers where DRTV products are sold. How are these two related? In our experience, for every unit converted on television, our clients sell five or more in store. It bears repeating that Hispanic DRTV allows marketers to forecast and optimize the ROI of a Spanish-language media budget – for virtually any brand, in any category.

We should no longer wait for demographics to make our case. We are now on the eve of our fourth U.S. Census, waiting with baited breath for that “aha” moment when every marketer in America will convert to our cause. What will be different this time? Look to Hispanic DRTV as a means to prove to clients that ROI is ROI and “manzanas” are apples too.

Marcelino Miyares Jr. is the Director of Mercury Media en español. You can reach Marcelino at mmiyares@mercurymedia.com.

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