Franklin Electronic Publishers is the worldwide leader in handheld electronic books, and the creator of the handheld electronic reference category. Three of their electronic products are offered in both Spanish and in English - two handheld Spanish-English dictionaries, and an electronic translator. The deluxe dictionary retails for approximately $110, and contains 2,500,000 translations from Larousse with definitions in both languages, as well as examples in context. It also speaks words in English and Spanish, including 600 common phrases in recorded human voice. Additionally, it features 6 built-in learning exercises to help users learn English or Spanish, including cultural notes and speaking spelling bees. All instructions and packaging for the three products are bilingual, making them as easy to use for Spanish as for English speakers.Background
The company had seen strong sales in Latin America behind several of their bilingual Spanish-English electronic dictionary products. However, sales were practically non-existent in high-Hispanic U.S. markets. It was believed that this was due to lack of product awareness. In mid-2000, Franklin hired Español Marketing & Communications, in Cary, NC, to analyze the potential for their products and develop a market program test for the U.S. Hispanic market.
The Use and Importance of Spanish and English Among Hispanics in the U.S. Strategy Research Corporation reports that the Spanish language is singularly the most important factor in unifying Hispanics of differing ethnic backgrounds. Due to an increase in immigration over the past few decades, an overwhelming majority (86%) of Hispanics indicated Spanish as their first language.
When comparing comfort of speaking English with frequent use of English, there is a wide gap between the typical Hispanic's proficiency and necessity - an ideal opportunity for a Spanish-English dictionary.
The number of Hispanics who are comfortable speaking English is growing, as children and grandchildren of immigrants become older and assimilate. This new generation can speak English as comfortably as Spanish and can watch and read English-language media. Since many (34.4%) Hispanics are under 18 years of age (and increasing) this new bilingual (and bicultural) group is a very attractive target to marketers who have dubbed them "Generation N".
However, the Yankelovich Hispanic Monitor found that U.S. Hispanic adults (89%) consider the Spanish language the most important aspect of Hispanic culture to preserve. This means that many parents with children growing up in an English-speaking environment make an extra effort to keep their children fluent in Spanish.
Parents and educators want their children to learn English, because it is essential for success. Educators are trying to determine the best way to teach children English, and are actively looking for tools to help them learn. The US Department of Education has made successful Hispanic education a primary area of focus. In bilingual, ESL, and dual-literacy classrooms, the DBE-1440 could easily become a staple learning tool, which is much easier to use, and more fun to use, than a dictionary. And if it can become a staple school tool, it can become an individual tool as well, for youngsters at school and at home (just like a calculator).Preliminary Consumer Testing and Reactions
The three Spanish-English electronic products were placed in target consumer households. Different members of the family were asked to use the products, and were asked about their reactions to the product after several weeks of use.
Dictionaries were preferred over translators, and received very enthusiastic praise.
The deluxe dictionary was judged an ideal tool for a U.S. Hispanic household to achieve many goals:
Consumers see the electronic dictionary as an easy-to-use, extremely helpful tool for them to communicate in English more easily. Children see it as a fun way to learn, while adults see it as a high-tech tool which they are proud to bring out in public. Employers frequently ask to use the product as well, to communicate more easily to the limited-English employees. The self-correcting function makes it more useful than a dictionary, since a user can input what (s)he thinks the proper spelling is, and see options for correct spelling.
When asked whether the prices of the dictionaries were reasonable, consumers agreed that they were (although they were not asked to purchase the product). There is no direct competitive comparison to the Franklin electronic dictionary, but when positioned as a fun and easy way to learn/improve English - this positions the product against many high-cost tapes and CD-ROM's, which can cost several thousand dollars.Hispanic Test Market
Based on the initial consumer research, together with Latin American learnings, Franklin Electronic Publishers and Español Marketing & Communications prepared a test market program designed to further explore the business potential behind specific targeting of the U.S. Hispanic market in the U.S.Objectives
Marketing Strategy: Feature high-potential electronic dictionaries, primarily the deluxe model (which talks), and secondarily the basic model, creating awareness of electronic dictionaries and their benefits, and awareness of Franklin name.
Timing: 4th quarter of 2000, as the Fall and Winter quarters are the key selling period for Franklin products.Hispanic Test Market MSA's
In order to test a program which would be expandable to the rest of the U.S. Hispanic market, representative test markets were selected, which met the following criteria:
Source: U.S. Census 2000
Target Consumer: Spanish-dominant Hispanic women 18-54 years old, with school-age children living at home, who are actively interested in learning English.
Current Consumer Viewpoint: "English is a difficult language to learn. Even if I know which word is correct, it is difficult to pronounce and spell. I know that learning English will help my family and me achieve greater success in our life here in the US. Other than a hard-to-use dictionary, costly language classes or tapes, there aren't many tools to help me learn English."
Selling Proposition: The Franklin electronic dictionary is an ideal tool for Spanish-dominant people who want to improve their speaking and understanding of English.
Desired Consumer Response: "I've got to get a Franklin electronic dictionary - it sounds like an ideal tool to help me speak better English, and there's no other product like it!"
Tone: Modern, reliable, noticeably attractiveMedia Selection and Communications Program
The media and production budget were fairly restrictive, ruling out Spanish-language TV. The product description and benefits are complex, and require time and visuals for a potential consumer to fully understand them. Additionally, there was a desire to offer co-op advertising to all participating retailers, in exchange for the purchase of incremental cases of product and set-up of in-store displays or Point-of-Sale materials. The Agency therefore recommended a combination of Spanish-language radio and bilingual direct mail.
Radio stations were selected based on their market rankings, cost-effectiveness, and their interest and creativity in featuring the Franklin dictionaries above and beyond traditional advertising. In both Houston and Phoenix, the radio schedules ran on Hispanic Broadcast Corporation stations, and were similar in delivery and in the added-value promotion.
A strong co-op advertising schedule ran for six weeks, featuring two :60-second commercials, with the tagline:
Improve your English instantly, with the Franklin electronic dictionary… it's like having an English teacher in the palm of your hand!
Each market created an on-air contest called "La Frase Que Paga" (The Phrase that Pays), where clues to the winning phrase were "spoken" each day by the Franklin Dictionaries, with heavy promotion, live DJ endorsement and elaboration of benefits. Consumer callers who knew the phrase of the day won the deluxe Franklin dictionary.
"It was one of the most amazing on-air promotions we have ever had," says Tandy Ingro, HBC, Houston. When Rolando Becerra, popular KLAT-AM host, played with the dictionary live on air, the HBC switchboard was flooded with callers asking where to buy the dictionary. HBC's KHOT-FM, Phoenix, also experienced overwhelming consumer response.
For the direct mail portion, ADVO was chosen as the supplier, due to their cost-effectiveness and to their ability to precisely target high-Hispanic neighborhoods. Since there was no way to guarantee that only Spanish-speaking consumers would receive the inserts, the direct mail piece was a bilingual one. In early December, n Houston, over 200,000 full-color, 2-sided inserts were distributed in the highest density Hispanic zones, which featured the benefits of the two key products, encouraged the purchase of a Franklin dictionary for Christmas, and featured participating retailers. In Phoenix, over 90,000 inserts were distributed in the highest density Hispanic zones.Retailer Participation
Five national retailers participated in the test program - RadioShack, Staples, Best Buy, Circuit City, and Service Merchandise. Retailers received co-op radio tags based on their relative support in each market, as well as logos included in the direct mail piece. Retailers ordered extra product to be prepared for increased consumer demand, displayed bilingual Point-of-Sale materials, and provided sales data to Franklin.Tracking and Results
Participating retailers were asked to submit monthly sales data by product SKU, for the year preceding the program through the month following the program (16 total months of data). Additionally, stores were sorted by the Hispanic density in the core shopping area; i.e., stores with a high % Hispanic population in the 10 miles around their location were considered core stores, while stores with low % Hispanic populations were considered secondary stores. Several retailers also provided control market data - corresponding data from similar MSA's which did not have any Spanish-language marketing activities.Conclusions
The Hispanic market test exceeded the expectations of the Franklin management team. According to Maritza Lorge, Marketing Manager at Franklin, "This test has shown Franklin and our retail partners the power and influence of the U.S. Hispanic market."
In 2001, Franklin expanded its Hispanic market efforts nationwide, with a co-op program with key retailer RadioShack. Franklin is running an advertising schedule and promotional campaign on Radio Unica network, and expanding its direct mail program to additional markets.
Agency: Espanol Marketing and Communications