Businesses are likely to realign their strategic plans with this growing population and start prioritizing the Hispanic market, and legal organizations should not fall behind — for several reasons. Most important among them is that understanding diverse populations and how to reach them is the right thing to do. Additionally, Hispanics are the youngest population in the United States with a median age of 30 years.
With several years of experience marketing legal services to the Hispanic population, we’ll outline how legal organizations and their staff can effectively market their services to this growing population as well as build a long-standing relationship with them. However, as attorneys look to connect with the Hispanic demographic, some principles need to be addressed.
1. FIRST, IT GOES BEYOND INCLUSIVITY
We can’t deny that inclusivity has been front and center in the past decade, perhaps even more so since 2020, when a predominantly white America could no longer ignore racial disparities. With the Giant Five (Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft) spearheading diversity and inclusion efforts, it’s hard for law firms not to follow suit. However, winning over the Hispanic market goes beyond inclusivity — it’s also strategic growth.
Between 2015 and 2019, the Hispanic population grew by an average of 1.9% per year. In the last decade, they accounted for 52% of the U.S. population growth. In a country with four major racial groups, Hispanics account for more than half the growth. That’s worth attention.
This growth is not only in headcount. Annual spending by Hispanic households in the United States is at a record high — just shy of the trillion-dollar mark. And with Claritas reporting that this group is expected to drive 62% of the country’s population growth through 2025, it appears that this spending could reach new heights.
Legal organizations need to better position themselves to serve this growing population, which has a reported high brand-loyalty rate. Even as they focus on winning them over, legal practitioners have to also understand another important point …
2. INCLUSIVITY DOES MATTER
The Hispanic market is filled with great potential, given that Hispanic people tend to trust one another’s referrals and exercise a high level of brand loyalty. However, they are one of the toughest clients to close. This is mostly due to their inclination toward connecting with other members of the Hispanic community or, at least, companies in which they are well represented.
To stand a better chance at winning their trust and loyalty, legal organizations must consider opening their doors to more Hispanic staff and lawyers. A majority of Latinos consider a connection to their heritage an essential part of their identity. Besides, 95% believe it’s important for future generations to continue to speak Spanish and connect with people they share a similar cultural heritage with.
Hiring Spanish-speaking lawyers and staff can help you build that necessary connection with this group. But there is more.
3. TITLES ARE EVERYTHING
Hispanics should not be seen as a monolithic group, despite some levels of cohesion within the population. If there is one area they don’t seem to completely agree on, it’s nomenclature.
Historically, they are generally addressed as “Latinos” and, in cases where a message is specifically targeted to women, “Latinas.” However, as the population has gotten younger and LGBTQ visibility has increased, gender inclusivity has become a growing concern. Therefore, some have become sensitive to titles that retain the strict masculine/feminine formula.
That’s why many prefer the more gender-neutral “Latinx.” Simply addressing the group with this uniform title would be a simple fix for this, but a significant amount of Hispanic people also think “Latinx” disregards their original identity and deep-rooted heritage. The article “Latino/a vs. Latinx vs. Latine: Which Word Best Solves Spanish’s Gender Problem?” — published by Latina in 2017 — asserts that “they are putting a distinctively American viewpoint into [their] language [and identity] without reverence for it.”
Still others prefer to be identified by their family’s place of origin: Puerto Rican, Mexican American, Cuban American, etc. This recognizes the cultural differences evident within the Hispanic community.
Therefore, for legal organizations looking to strategically align their business with this growing population, appropriately addressing your audience in your marketing campaign is another bridge to cross. Thankfully, there is a way to navigate this often confusing situation.
4. CONNECTING WITH THE RIGHT HISPANIC SUBGROUP
Again, Hispanics may share some similarities within the group, but they can be segmented into several subgroups with varying views and levels of connection with their Latin origin. Understanding each subgroup will help you address and market your services to them appropriately.
For instance, the Latinoamericano subgroup has very strong ties to their Latin origin. They speak Spanish almost exclusively with little to no English. They are more likely to frown upon the gender-neutral Latinx title and may prefer to build intimate connections and trust with only Spanish-speaking attorneys. Ambicultural Latinos, on the other hand, are well immersed in American pop culture. However, their bond to their Latin origin is not broken. This subgroup is more likely to welcome the gender-neutral term.
However, between the Latinoamericano and Ambicultural Latinos, there are three other subgroups that every attorney and law firm with an interest in the Hispanic market must understand and connect with. But we uncovered a key finding in our book, Beyond Se Habla Español: How Lawyers Win the Hispanic Market: all five subgroups are internet-savvy to a significant level. Therefore …
5. DIGITAL MARKETING IS VITAL
This is true for most younger populations these days, and the Hispanic population is no different. With about 98% of Hispanic people in the United States using smartphones, they are the group with the highest smartphone penetration and social media use, followed by non-Hispanic whites (95%). Because much of the population has been born in the internet age, they are better acclimatized to the digital space.
On average, more than half of U.S. Hispanics (52%) spend at least one hour on social media each day. And a significant proportion (27%) say they visit social media to discover new products or services. This makes the digital space a viable medium for legal practitioners to connect with this growing population and position themselves to forge strong business relationships.
The Hispanic population will play a pivotal role in shaping the next decade, legal services included. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to reaching this (or any) population, but by keeping some of these points top of mind can help you build a trusted relationship with this growing community.
*The U.S. Census Bureau made improvements to the Hispanic origin and race questions between 2010 and 2020 that may have affected the figures.