Marketing To Latinos: A Guide to the In-Culture Approach Part 2
Part 2 Case Studies | Part 1 Case Studies
  Electronic Book

Product Description

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.


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.

Spanish English
First learned to speak
Most Comfortable Speaking
Most Frequently Speak at Home
Most Frequently Used Socially
Most Frequently Used at Work

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.

  • They put words into context, making one sure that that the proper expression/word is being used.
  • It corrects the spelling, making it easy to find the actual word one seeks.
  • It is a high-tech product, but an easy-to-use one.
  • It has the definitions for 2.0MM words, making it useful for users who speak fairly good English, but are trying to improve their vocabulary.
  • Children (and adults) enjoy playing the games.
  • It is easy to carry/store.

The deluxe dictionary was judged an ideal tool for a U.S. Hispanic household to achieve many goals:

  • It helps users "assimilate" into the U.S. culture by providing English words in context.
  • It helps students be more successful in their studies, providing usable translations in a fun way.
  • It helps workers in an English-speaking workplace succeed in their job, better able to understand what is being communicated to them in English.
  • It helps parents with English-preferring children teach their children Spanish in a fun way.

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.


  • Generate awareness of and interest in Franklin electronic dictionaries.
  • Generate increased traffic to participating retail stores in high-Hispanic areas.
  • Stimulate purchase of Franklin electronic dictionaries at participating retail stores.
  • Obtain measurable results behind the test.

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:

  • high density of Hispanic households -- measurable sales impact on entire market
  • Mexico dominant country of origin for Hispanic households --representative of total U.S. market
  • strong Spanish-language media orientation by Hispanics -- easier to target with exclusively Spanish-language communications
  • strong retailer presence in high-Hispanic areas -- easier for consumers to find products in stores they know

Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Phoenix-Mesa
  • #7 U.S. Hispanic market
  • 1,348,588 Hispanics (29% of total pop.)
  • 73% Mexican country of origin
  • $37,894 mean HH income (1998)
  • #9 U.S. Hispanic market
  • 817,012 Hispanics (25% of total pop.)
  • 82% Mexican country of origin
  • $36,555 mean HH income (1998)

  • Source: U.S. Census 2000

    Creative Strategy

    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.


    • It's an easy-to-use, electronic dictionary. Type in the word in English or Spanish, and it translates it instantly.
    • It corrects the spelling in Spanish or English, making it easy to find the actual word you want to translate.
    • It has the definitions for over 2 million words, making it useful for users who speak fairly good English, but are trying to improve their vocabulary.
    • It puts words into context, so you can be sure you're using the right expression/word.
    • Children (and adults) enjoy playing the games, and improving their vocabulary.
    • Instructions come in English and Spanish.
    • It is easy to carry/store.
    • The deluxe model (BES-1840) even pronounces the words for you, instantly!
    • Franklin is the world leader in electronic publishing.

    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!"

    Creative Considerations:

    • Create memorable name and tagline for the product which can be used in all communications.
    • Whenever possible, distinguish between the two featured brands, both visually and in copy points. The DBE-1440 has 2,000,000 translations and does not pronounce words, while the deluxe BES-1940 has 2.5 MM translations and can pronounce words

    Tone: Modern, reliable, noticeably attractive

    Media 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:

      Mejor inglés al instante con el diccionario electrónico Franklin… es como tener un profesor de inglés en la palma de su mano!

      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.


    • Overall, unit sales increased +153% during the test period compared to the previous year.
    • In Houston, unit sales increased +192%. The deluxe model accounted for 60% of total sales.
    • In Phoenix, unit sales increased by +91%. The deluxe model accounted for 56% of unit sales.

    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

















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