Six Insights in Latino Mobilization to Consider in 2022
The Colibri Collective builds elevated strategies for memorable, data-driven political campaigns that ignite emotion to amplify a cause. As the first Latina-owned digital marketing firm in Phoenix, Arizona, the Latino vote is a point of passion for our team. It was an honor and a privilege to be part of historic and award-winning campaigns during the 2020 election cycle with over 20 political IE/PAC multi-million dollar campaigns in Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania. These campaign goals had diverse calls-to-action: voter registration, political candidate awareness, mobilization, voter turnout and voter protection. With a particularly dense political market in Arizona, we pushed our creativity toward inventive solutions. In Arizona alone, we implemented diverse marketing strategies and dedicated work resulted in over 185,000 new voters, the election of the first indigenous woman to a county-wide office in Pima, and a history-making turn of the state from red to blue for the first time in 24 years.
Our team of multicultural experts draws upon a set of best practices that we have proven to be successful in mobilizing Latino voters. This population is particularly underrepresented in political marketing; for example, just 56% of eligible Latino voters received direct mail related to the 2020 General Election versus 73% of eligible White voters (Krogstad & Noe-Bustamante, 2021). Yet, there are 32 million eligible Latino voters in the United States (Neo-Bustamante, Budiman, & Lopez, 2020). For 2020, naturalized citizens made up one-in-ten of eligible voters (Budiman, Neo-Bustamante, & Lopez, 2020). Here are some of our strategies for mobilizing Latino voters.
1. Audience Segmentation
The Latino vote is not monolithic. Political marketers are already familiar with breaking down demographics by age, gender, etc., and should extend that practice to Latino voters. The demographic of Latino voters can be further broken down into country of origin, cultural heritage, region (East Coast Latinos vs West Coast Latinos), immigration generational status (naturalized, first generation, second generation, etc.), language dominance, etc. Cultural heritage is a crucial piece of information as 51% of Latinos in the US identify themselves by their country of origin like Mexican, Cuban or Puerto Rican over the broad label of “Hispanic” or “Latino.” Only 29% say that American Latinos have a common culture (Taylor, Lopez, Martinez, & Velasco, 2012). Messaging strategies need to also consider socioeconomic factors. Voters from the working class respond to messaging differently than the professional class. With this type of segmentation, it makes it easier to speak and target your audience.
2. Value-based Mobilization
Latino voters are driven to the polls to vote on issues rooted in their values. Messaging that is heavily focused on values is therefore more engaging, mobilizing, and effective with Latino voters. Depending on the demographic breakdown, Latinos are drawn to messages of family, economic self-reliance, the “American Dream”, faith, and social justice issues. The power of hard work is a strong belief among foreign-born and native-born Hispanics—77% and 73%, respectively (Taylor, Lopez, Martinez, & Velasco, 2012). During the 2020 election cycle, the Republican party made gains with Latino men based on messaging appealing to cultural family values and economic wealth (Medina, 2021).
3. Invest Early & Consistently
During the 2020 election cycle in Arizona, there was an outpouring of political messaging targeting the Latino community. Much of this push came in the last couple weeks before the election. Going in that late makes it look like you are trying to check a box. When targeting the Latino vote, it is critical to hire Latinos and empower the workforce of that community. Our team comprises a diverse array of immigrant stories and origins who share expertise in political strategy, communications, and more. Some firms, by contrast, only have one person to represent the multicultural perspective or put that responsibility on an entry-level personnel. Voters sense that superficiality and ignore or, even worse, turn against your campaign. When you invest early and intentionally, you show that you care and your campaign values the Latino vote.
4. Marketing Research & Voter Behavior
Market research is a key component in formulating strategy. It comprises several resources including demographic information, public opinion, consumer and voter behavior, and trends. Polls and surveys are a good resource to gain information. Research must be approached with an openness to new information, include larger samples, and ask diverse questions. This piece is critical, and it is often missed in formulating a multicultural campaign. It is important at times to challenge research, especially since many research companies do not do enough sampling to be representative of the population. Questions must be carefully and sensitively worded in order to target the correct information from cultural groups. Our team is robust and rich with cultural perspectives, and provides additional information that goes beyond polling to fill research gaps. It is a benefit in partnering with a multicultural marketing agency.
5. Language Real Estate Matters
There are many perspectives on what language should be used in targeting Latinos and for what platform. The truth of the matter is the majority of Latino households have a blended family of language speakers. Across the US, 73% of Latinos speak Spanish at home (Krogstad & Lopez, 2017). The number of high propensity voters who speak exclusively Spanish varies by region. Of those respondents, 38% are bilingual while the remaining are split between Spanish-dominant and English-dominant (Taylor, Lopez, Martinez, & Velasco, 2012). By using bilingual political messaging, you access a different mindset. The same direct mail piece, for example, can include both Spanish and English messaging in equal proportion so that all members of a household can understand it.
Follow the voter, not the platform. Different demographics share different behaviors, so it is important to recognize where your audience is. TikTok, for example, has a younger audience ages 16 to 24 (Doyle, 2021). Although some platforms are experimental for political marketing, there tends to be a higher ROI when a new type of ad i.e. political marketing enters a platform. For the 2020 election cycle, The Colibri Collective participated in a successful cross-channel campaign using Twitch. Creativity and thoughtful placement of the “Win the Battle” video on Twitch led to high engagement, outperforming benchmarks eight times over. LUCHA’s dedication and efforts to engage Gen-Z and Millennials helped win the battleground state of Arizona and democrats turned the state blue for the first time in 24 years
Budiman, A., Neo-Bustamante, L., & Lopez, M. H. (2020, February 26). Naturalized Citizens Make Up Record One-In-Ten U.S. Eligible Voters in 2020. Pew Research Center.
Doyle, B. (2021, February 6). TikTok Statistics. Wallaroo Media.
Krogstad, J. M., & Lopez, M. H. (2017, October 31). Use of Spanish Declines Among Latinos in Major U.S. Metros. Pew Research Center.
Krogstad, J. M., & Noe-Bustamante, L. (2021, January 29). Most U.S. citizens report a campaign contacted them in 2020, but Latinos and Asians less likely to say so. Pew Research Center.
Medina, J. (2021, March 5). A Vexing Question for Democrats: What Drives Latino Men to Republicans? The New York Times.
Neo-Bustamante, L., Budiman, A., & Lopez, M. H. (2020, January 31). Where Latinos Have the Most Eligible Voters in the 2020 Election. Pew Research Center.
Taylor, P., Lopez, M. H., Martinez, J., & Velasco, G. (2012, April 04). When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity. Pew Research Center.