In the US, the Hispanic population is huge but yet as a profession, we haven’t all given it the attention it deserves. While the death care industry often focussed on the baby-boomer generation, the Hispanic population is headed for a boom, and most of us aren’t ready! The Hispanic population is a young one – the majority are not currently of dying age. So the boom will come, but what do we need to do to prepare?
Hispanic vs Latino
Firstly, let’s understand the difference between the terms ‘Latino’ and ‘Hispanic’. The terms are often used interchangeably though they actually mean two different things. Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish or are descended from Spanish-speaking populations (including Europeans), while Latino refers to people who are from or descended from Central and South America (they speak Spanish, Portuguese and other languages).
The Hispanic Population
US states with the largest Hispanic populations
As you can see in the graph below, Hispanics already make up a large proportion of some of the biggest states in the US (source: Pew Research).
And that’s only the start of it! With the Hispanic population in the US set to reach the 143 million mark by 2050, this is a community every cemetery needs to cater for!
Furthermore, Forbes reported [external link] that US Hispanics currently have $1.7 trillion in purchasing power, a number that’s sure to rise in the years to come. In this article, they went on to detail a few points about the Hispanic population that every brand should know:
- Hispanics account for almost half of US population growth
- More than half of the US Hispanic population is under the age of 29
- TV makes up over 45% of total advertising spend
- 44% of Hispanics say they only consume online content in English
- Hispanic users spend nearly 10.5 hours per week using the internet on their smartphones, compared to the overall average of 8.4 hours
- Hispanic millennials are more likely to interact with brands on social media
Related PlotBox blog: How can Cemeteries Meet the Digital Expectations of Millennials?
Know YOUR Community
Despite all these statistics on Hispanic populations, when creating your strategy, don’t make the mistake of generalizing. It’s important to look at your own community and sub-categorize - different Hispanic groups have different religions, traditions, music, etc. For example, a lot of Mexicans aren’t Catholic any more. Know the specifics of the demographics in your area so you can cater to them appropriately - even marketing to different generations of Hispanic people is different!
There’s no definitive way to cater to each of these sub-communities. Therefore you have a responsibility to do your own research of your local community and make your own mark! You have to be proactive - go out into the community and speak to them and try and learn from them so you can tailor your strategy effectively.
So, what to do next?
Create the right practices in your cemeteryLanguage
- Have a TRUE Spanish speaking employee to help your Hispanic customers (that summer intern who studied Spanish in college? Not enough!).
- Offer products and religious items for sale
In Mexico, after a death, a vigil is held with family and friends for 24-48 hours. They will eat and drink together, and guests will pray and bring the family gifts. Help to accommodate this by:
- Attending to families fast and starting services quickly.
- Allowing families to have longer viewings and gathering times.
- Allowing families to bring their own food and drinks or offer the option of catering.
They’ll be willing to pay for such services so make sure you charge accordingly.
Celebrate important events
Día de Los Muertos – NOT to be confused with Halloween! This is a cultural and sacred event. Consider hosting a celebration and get an Hispanic person to help you organize it. Here are a few facts on Día de Los Muertos:
- The tradition dates back 3,000 years, during the time of the Aztecs. It survived through the 16th century, when the Spanish arrived to central Mexico and thought the tradition to be sacrilegious. Instead of it being abolished, however, the celebration evolved to incorporate elements of Christianity, such as celebrating it on November 1 and 2 instead of on its original summer observance to coincide with All Saints’ or All Souls’ Day, a time to pray for departed souls.
- Those who celebrate it believe that at midnight on October 31, the souls of all deceased children come down from heaven and reunite with their families on November 1, and the souls of deceased adults come visit on November 2.
- Among other festivities, families also bring picnics to cemeteries, play music and sometimes even spend the night as a way to celebrate the lives of those who are no longer on this earth.
Other important Mexican holidays include Mexican Mother’s Day; Diez de Mayo; 16 de Septiembre; 5 de Mayo; Father’s Day. Are there any important holidays for your other Hispanic markets?
Related download: Hosting and Managing Events in your Cemetery
Marketing to your Hispanic Community
Know your audience
- Create a strategy that specifically caters for your Hispanic community - to be tailored further depending on whether you’re selling for pre-need or at-need
- If you’ve ever heard the saying, “No soy de aqui, ni soy de alla,” which means “I’m not from here or from there” - some feel caught in between two cultures. Content needs to be tailored to their specific interests. This might mean using more ads in English, but with a stronger cultural or emotional connection
Connect with the local community
- Join/engage with your local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Network with your local Hispanic government officials and build good relationships with the communities
- Other good advertising outlets are Hispanic newspapers, gazettes, local magazines, church bulletins, flyers, etc.
For Spanish-speaking audiences
- Ensure advertising is in Spanish
- Advertise on Hispanic radio stations
- Add a translate page on your website and social media pages
Consider cremation vs burial
How will you market your services? Many Hispanic people will want to be taken back home after death, especially the older generation. How can you make this process easier for the families? Also consider the Catholic stance on cremation – ashes aren’t to be separated and are to be kept in a sacred place and guarded. How can you help with that?
The Hispanic population is the US is already huge and is set to boom! Don’t wait until the boom to start your strategy for catering to this market. Act now in order to serve your community promptly and effectively. If you start now to raise your profile with Hispanic millennials, it won’t just benefit your pre-need sales, but also consider the fact that they’ll be planning the funeral of their parents and grandparents too. There’s a lot of work to be done but the payoff could be huge!