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Don’t Rely on Census Bureau Survey Results to Drive Your Hispanic Targeting

Posted by Elena del Valle on April 7, 2011

By Catherine Lovell
Consumer behavior analyst
Varga Media Solutions

Catherine Lovell

Catherine Lovell, consumer behavior analyst, Varga Media Solutions

Photo: Varga Media Solutions

The growth of the Hispanic market is certainly not a secret. In fact, this market is expected to account for nearly 11% of the nation’s total buying power by 2015 according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth. Many marketers have been anxiously awaiting the 2010 census results to assist in devising marketing plans that accommodate the emerging Hispanic market. What most of these marketers don’t realize is the data compiled by the census has never been more inadequate in pinpointing today’s Hispanic shopper.

In 2010 the U.S. Census Bureau sent out surveys by mail to households in order to estimate their base counts for the next decade. These counts rely upon each household accurately filling out a data questionnaire and then mailing it back to be compiled and modeled over the next ten years. Once the results are published, there are several data compilers who specialize in updating census data for small area geographies in between the 10 year census periods. These companies blend the census data with other inputs, using it to create estimates of consumer demand and segmentation, otherwise known as “modeled data”.

In my early years as a list broker and consumer behavior analyst I learned that my client’s results were significantly better when we targeted a consumer group based on factual, verified data instead of modeled data. Over the years much more verified behavioral data has become available, making it no longer necessary to plan an advertising campaign based on anything modeled. Instead of trusting in a hit-or-miss census report and data founded on estimations and algorithms, “verified data” can pinpoint the exact consumers within the Hispanic market you are trying to reach.

A verified data approach to Hispanic targeting, goes deeper than the surname, race and ethnicity information collected by the census. The variables that verified data offers are a much more accurate determinate of who has the most potential for purchasing a specific product since it identifies economically-active Hispanic consumers with actionable demographic, psychographic and transactional information. This data is also updated every 90 days in order to accurately reflect the active market.

In other words, verified data can help you target actual Hispanic consumers and leverage their demonstrated buying patterns with their household demographics instead of targeting buckets of people who are assumed to be like-minded simply because they are Hispanic. For companies who are looking for ways to capitalize on the booming buying power of the Hispanic market it boils down to this: census based data just doesn’t offer the detail and accuracy needed to be effective.

Catherine Lovell has more than 20 years in the demographic targeting business. She is currently the lead Consumer Behavior Analyst at Varga Media Solutions, a company dedicated to developing breakthrough, direct-to-consumer advertising campaigns using only the most accurate data available.