Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

Niches You Might Be Missing

By David H. Martin

It’s a new year and the beginning of a new decade. Don’t look back! Look around you. You might be overlooking a market niche that could offer an important new opportunity to grow your business in the year to come. Here are two to consider.
Smart home water control and leak detection. Water treatment dealers need to be aware of sales opportunities in the rapidly expanding world of smart-home technology. Start your smart-water research at www.phyn.com. The exploding use of smart phones and apps has consumers excited about the future of home tech. A new marketing study reveals reasons why consumers bought their first smart-home device:
• 12 percent want better control of the home
• 10 percent thought it would make the home safer
• 10 percent said to increase convenience
• 10 percent thought it was affordable and wanted to try it out
• Nine percent thought it would improve quality of life
• Seven percent thought it would help them be more productive
• Six percent want to save money on home bills
• Five percent like its ability to sync with other tech devices
• Three percent wanted to be able to track personal info
• One percent thought it would boost the value of the home
The most positive news for marketers of smart-home gadgetry is that those who have bought in, love their devices. Almost all (98 percent) consumers are satisfied with their smart-home device and of those, most (74 percent) are very satisfied.

The growing Hispanic market
As you probably know, Hispanics are the largest minority in the United States: 13 percent of the population. This represents a marketplace the size of a European country. Targeting the $540-billion buying power of this fast-growing market can expand your customer base and boost sales, if you do it right. You don’t have to be Hispanic to market water treatment to Hispanics in your geographic market, but it helps. Do you have any Hispanic employees? Maybe you should.
The Hispanic residential water treatment market is one of the fastest-growing segments of the industry. As a result, marketers are scrambling harder than ever to address this market, which (in addition to its impressive size) is unified by a common language. Are you getting your share? In the Hispanic family, quality water is of primary importance to the ones they love and with whom they live. Mexican immigrants have a strong distrust of tap water learned from heavy chlorination practices in Mexico. When they settle in the US, Hispanics have a carry-over distrust of chlorinated water. Companies that cultivate relationships with these consumers today will be in a position to profit strongly in the future. Here’s how, according to a new review of current research into the demographic.

Use English and Spanish in your messaging
One of the most effective and powerful means of connecting with the demographic is through language, eMarketer says. More than half of Spanish-dominant speakers (53 percent) and nearly one-third (27 percent) of English-dominant Hispanics endorsed the statement. “When I hear a company advertise in Spanish, it makes me feel like they respect my heritage and want my business.” Similarly, 50 percent of Spanish-dominant and 24 percent of English-dominant Hispanics declared themselves “much more loyal toward companies that show appreciation for our culture by advertising in Spanish.”
Digital video is becoming an increasingly important part of the entertainment mix for Hispanics, in part because of the opportunity to tune into more culturally relevant programming. eMarketer forecasts that 76 percent of Hispanics will be digital-video viewers this year, versus 71 percent of the total population. YouTube has a strong following among Hispanics. Morning Consult’s September 2018 polling identified 73 percent of Hispanics as YouTube users, versus 60 percent of total respondents, in part because of the option to view Latino-focused music and content.
Many Hispanics also pay for digital video in the form of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD). Nielsen identified 70 percent of Hispanics as SVOD users in its Q3 2018 audience research, for example, in part because there is more Hispanic-oriented content on Netflix, Hulu and others than on network TV. That said, Hispanics watch plenty of traditional television. Nielsen’s Q1 2019 research showed Hispanic adults averaging just under 22 hours per week of live/time-shifted TV versus 31 hours for the total population. So television advertising is a solid means of getting in front of the demographic.

Addressing the Hispanic market
Spanish-language media includes magazines and newspapers, local radio and TV in select markets. Telemundo and Univision are the two largest TV networks. Research shows that Hispanics prefer television and radio over newspapers and magazines. Spanish-language television and radio are your most effective vehicles for targeting this market.
When asked about advertising effectiveness, 38 percent of Hispanics surveyed found English-language ads less effective than Spanish ads in terms of recall and 70 percent less effective than Spanish ads in terms of persuasion. Many younger and acculturated Latinos mix languages into a form of ‘Spanglish,’ in which they speak English peppered with Spanish words. But when it comes to selling, 56 percent of Latino adults respond best to advertising when it is presented in Spanish.
Television. The visual aspect of television advertising is extremely important, especially so for Spanish-dominant Hispanics. Forty-nine percent of US Hispanics who watch television during prime-time hours also watch Spanish-language programs. Forty percent of Spanish-dominant Hispanics regularly watch English-language programming. Thirty percent of English-dominant Hispanics regularly watch Spanish programming.
Radio. Radio is a proven, effective medium in targeting Hispanics. The most unique aspect of Spanish-language radio stations is the time spent listening. The Hispanic population often listens to the radio all day. The entire family may listen to one station and tune in, on average, 26-30 hours per week. This ranks more than 13 percent above the general population.
Print. Spanish-language newspapers are an inseparable part of the local minority community. They deliver what no mass medium can: news that is specifically geared to the needs and concerns of individual minority communities.
Event marketing. Events create excitement, reinforce image and allow you to hand-deliver your marketing message face-to-face with your target audience. Many company’s efforts at selling themselves to Hispanics, however, are limited to sponsoring the occasional Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Direct-response marketing. The process of acculturation influences the Hispanic consumer’s perception of direct marketing. While most consumers in the general market dismiss direct-marketing materials as junk mail, Latinos—particularly recent immigrants—welcome it as a means of becoming a more informed consumer. Overall, Hispanic households are 3.5 times more likely to respond to a direct-mail solicitation than a non-Hispanic household. Seventy-two percent say they always read their mail, including direct marketing. Sixty percent of the direct mail sent to homes is in English. Fifty-two percent of the respondents speak only Spanish in their homes.

The importance of Spanish-speaking employees
When planning a sales and marketing strategy that addresses the Spanish-speaking, be sure to include one or more Hispanic employees in the planning process. Consult with them on advertising copy, bilingual signage and telemarketing scripts. Be aware that different product attributes are deemed important by Hispanic consumers. Ask your employees to help develop the right messages in Spanish. Direct translations of English language messages and themes might not work nearly as well as custom-tailored ones.

¿Habla usted español?
Laura Sonderup, Managing Director at Hispanidad, suggests that you not only hire Hispanics, but also engage Hispanic vendors, sponsor Hispanic events, and donate time or money to support charitable efforts. “By becoming more involved in the Hispanic culture, Hispanic customers will become more involved in your business.”

Summary
It’s a new decade. Look for a new niche to expand your business in 2020 and beyond. Stay tuned for more marketing insight throughout the upcoming year!

About the author
David Martin, President of Lenzi Martin Marketing, has more than 30 years experience in the water quality industry working with dealers, distributors and manufacturers. He can be reached at (708) 848-8404 or dmartin@lenzimartin.com.

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