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What the New Era of Assistance Means for U.S. Latinos

Published on April 10, 2018

As marketing technology evolves, the established relationships between brands and consumers now embark on a new era. We could dissect this evolution into three broad phases that reveal how marketers have engaged with consumers:

Infographic Era of Assistance Apr12 2018

  1. It all started with interruption, during which we imposed our message on unexpecting people (a practice that’s slowly and thankfully fading away).
  2. The permission phase. This is when we decided to ask people who they are and what they need before approaching them with a more relevant message.
  3. And finally, the assistance phase. By now what people want is a given, so marketers must anticipate consumer needs and desires to enhance their agenda.

Traditional TV advertising is a staple of the first phase, while search marketing has been, and probably continues to be, a prime example of the second phase. But which practice represents the third phase best?

We think this chapter in Marketing history is only getting started. However, right now “Digital assistants” in any of their formats (from Amazon Alexa and Siri to Google Home and Google Now, to smaller omnipresent chatbots and even outdated wizards) represent clear prototypes of what “enhancing the consumer’s agenda” will mean.

U.S. Latinos are ready for the era of assistance

We believe U.S Latinos will be more open and devoted to the new era of assistance, providing a substantial opportunity to build relationships with them in this environment.

There isn’t a lot of hard usage data yet available to back this statement up, still, U.S. Hispanics are 19% more likely to use the Amazon Alexa companion app on their smartphone compared to non-Hispanics (Spring 2017, Simmons Connect).

They already seem to interact conversationally within the digital world to a higher degree than non-Hispanics. For instance, they are 29% more likely to use messaging apps over 200 times a month (Spring 2017, Simmons Connect).

Latinos have always been power users of answer sites. For instance, they are 17% more likely to use sites like Answers.com (Spring 2017, Simmons Connect). Even when these sites may feel outdated, it seems clear that the “question/answer” dynamic feels natural to them.

Beyond the virtues of personalization, U.S. Hispanics understand the link between data and caring at a very fundamental level. Nearly half of Spanish-dominant Hispanics feel that when a brand advertises in Spanish, they are showing respect for their heritage (Spring 2017, Simmons Connect). This constitutes a value that transcends immediate transactional utility and aids the building of a deeper relationship.

Language is probably the greatest challenge of the assistance era when it comes to U.S. Latinos. All current assistance platforms provide a reduced experience in Spanish compared to English. Outside that, many bilingual Latinos are used to going back and forth between languages, including “Spanglish” vernacular. Platforms and brands which recognize this early are likely to reap immediate results.

We stand before a new opportunity for deeper relationship building between brands and consumers. One where we, as marketers, instead of responding to a need presented to us, proactively present solutions to enhance people’s agendas. As with many other trends before this one, U.S. Latinos are likely to spearhead the movement.


The source for the statistics in this article is Spring 2017, Simmons Connect.

Originally Published on The Marketing Insider on April 10, 2018.

Jonatan Zinger

Jonatan ZingerSVP, Media Insights - M8

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