Hispanic TV Summit: Maldonado: Know Your Market

The key to marketing and providing cable services to the Hispanic community lies in understanding what parts of the market are changing and what are not, said Cox Communications vice president of acquisition and marketing sciences Tony Maldonado.
Speaking at the Broadcasting & Cable/Multichannel News eight annual Hispanic Television Summit here Wednesday, Maldonado said that among the rapidly changing aspects of the market are rapid adoption of high-speed Internet services (HSI penetration in Hispanic market is 63% compared to 76% for general market); wireless consumption (Hispanics are among the largest percentage of early adopters for wireless and advanced wireless applications); and the bilingual nature of most Hispanic homes.

Maldonado said to address those aspects of the market Cox has adjusted its packaging and marketing. Cox has taken a balanced approach to programming packaging, presenting a mix of Spanish and English language. Maldonado added that while most Hispanic households are multigenerational, it is the second generation that drives Maldonado growth - about of quarter of Cox's overall high-speed Internet growth in the first half of this year was in Hispanic households.
But operators also have to be mindful of what hasn't changed in Hispanic community, such as its focus on community (including a focus on issues like education); the cash-centric economy in many Hispanic communities (Latinos over-index in retail locations for payment and purchase) and the fact that many Hispanic households are multigenerational (22% of Hispanic households have 3 or more generations living under one roof, vs. 13% for white families).
Maldonado said that Cox's approach is to show the community that it understands its unique aspects and acts on insights that are hyper-relevant to the community.
One example is how Cox has split its Call Centers to handle calls from English and Latino customers differently. For English-speaking callers, Cox representatives are less formal, asking the caller if they can refer to them by their first names. With Spanish-speaking customers, reps always take a formal approach.
Maldonado sad that approach has seeped into Cox's brand advertising - with the tagline "Your Friend in the Digital Age" - a message that he said is "super-sized" to the Latino community to incorporate multigenerational and bilingual aspects of the community. In addition, Cox also recognizes in its marketing the importance of the third generation, which increasingly serves as a facilitator and translator for technology, as well as being an influencer of technology purchases.
One area of technology that Cox has avoided pushing is VOD, but that is more a cultural issue, Maldonado said. Most customers in the Latino community don't trust that they won't be charged even for Free VOD when they push the play button on their remote, he said.