Deliver Magazine. Mail Marketing Strategies from the U.S. Postal Service®

5 Tips for Sampling to Hispanics

June 21, 2011 | by Mindy Charski
Large Business, Medium Business, Sampling, Small Business, Strategy

Image of woman eating chocolate

Sending a sample is still one of the best ways to introduce a product, and it can be what marketing expert Alberto Ferrer calls a “1+1=3 proposition” for engaging U.S. Hispanic consumers.

“Sampling via mail is at the intersection of two well-performing tools in marketing to this very valuable consumer,” says Ferrer, managing partner at The Vidal Partnership, a New York–based Hispanic communications agency.

Ferrer’s shop has found that direct mail targeting Hispanics outperforms equivalent mail targeting non-Hispanics. And, he says, sampling allows the audience to try something new without worrying about the cost.

To be sure, there are unique challenges facing marketers interested in mailing samples to Hispanics; varying acculturation levels and language preferences are among them. But it’s a worthwhile investment — market research firm Packaged Facts says Hispanics have a collective buying power of more than $1 trillion.

Here are five things to keep in mind when sampling to a Hispanic audience:

Craft copy that educates

Simply translating a general-market campaign into a bilingual one — yes, it’s a good idea to write in both Spanish and English — can sabotage an effort. One reason: You may need to have a stronger educational component. Explaining why someone needs a product and how it works is especially important when reaching out to unacculturated, Spanish-dominant consumers, says Karla Fernandez Parker, president and chief executive officer of K. Fernandez & Associates, a Hispanic and multicultural marketing agency in San Antonio.

“That person is bringing a brand set with them from another country, and so to get them to try your brand — you might be the number one brand in the United States — you’ve got to explain why your product is better,” she says. “It’s really hard to change behavior without the reasons to believe.”

Customize the look

“Sometimes clients will just change the language but they’ll leave the visuals the way they are,” says Enrique Turegano, chief business strategist at alPunto Advertising, a Hispanic ad agency in Tustin, Calif. “You don’t want to do that if the visuals are very relevant to the story. If you’re showing a family, hopefully it will be a Hispanic family.”

Send an ample sample

Hispanic households are larger on average than those of non-Hispanics, so plan appropriately. “If you’re going to give someone, say, a sample of a cleaning supply, you’d better make sure it’s a slightly larger quantity than you might anticipate their household would need if they were [in the] general market,” Fernandez Parker says.

Add integration

Bringing other elements into the mix can boost results. “If you can have some sort of a retail component and a broadcast component, it’s just going to make your effort that much more successful,” Fernandez Parker says.

Align distribution and mailers

Understanding where your targets shop, and stocking products there, is integral. Fernandez Parker says, “I’ve seen some bad executions where people are sent things and they don’t have that product available at their primary grocery store.”

Large Business, Medium Business, Sampling, Small Business, Strategy