Saying engaging the growing Hispanic market is crucial to the industry’s future, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation has officially launched a Hispanic outreach program.
“Our current participants are aging and we need to replace those customers with new ones,” said RBFF President Frank Peterson in a webinar introducing the five-year program.
According to statistics shared by RBFF, Hispanics now number 53 million in the United States, representing 17 percent of the population. Twenty-six percent of those 5 years old and younger are Hispanic, and they are a key demographic in several major markets including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Miami.
Despite that, they represent only 8.4 percent of boating participants and 7.7 percent of boat owners, according to 2012 data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
The Hispanic population is not only growing, but is also becoming more affluent and better-educated, Peterson said. In fact, last year a higher percentage of Hispanics entered college than the rate of non-Hispanics.
With that in mind, RBFF decided in 2013 to partner with other stakeholders in the industry to pursue the Hispanic population. RBFF is working with Lopez Negrete, a nationally recognized, Hispanic-owned communications firms to develop its plans.
They have identified several key barriers to Hispanic involvement in fishing and boating.
- Lack of exposure and lack of experience
- Fishing perceived as passive, waiting game
- Full family participation is often difficult
- Outdoor activities in general are waning
- Money is a major issue, whether real/perceived – Affordability needs to be addressed with this audience just like others
- State licenses & regulations are problematic
- Culturally relevant invitation is missing
The outreach plan is designed to address those issues through education and information.
In March, the foundation launched VamosAPescar.org, a website aimed specifically at the Hispanic market, available in Spanish and English. It includes information on how to fish, getting licensed, debunking myths and more.
The site also has responsive design to work on a variety of mobile devices. This is important, Peterson said, because the Hispanic population has a higher rate of technology adoption than the general population.
Working with local agencies, RBFF is also running 15 events in Florida and Texas this year. The two states are the first being targeted because of their large Hispanic populations. Over the next three years, the program will be expanded to other states.
On a national basis, RBFF and its partners will be using social media, search engine marketing, radio and more to put the boating and fishing lifestyle in front of potential participants. The foundation is also working with Discover Boating on a video campaign featuring an Hispanic family.
“We need to build mindshare before market share,” Peterson said.
Working with Lopez Negrete, RBFF has identified three target groups, totaling more 14 million Hispanic adults. That number more than doubles when children are included.
- Social Anglers (3.3 million) – Highly active, recreation-minded singles and couples. They fish on occasion, but it’s activities like hiking, camping, tubing and mountain biking that deliver the active thrills they seek.
- Happy Hikers (5.9 million) – Family-oriented nature lovers whose lives revolve around their kids. They plan activities around budget and time constraints, with fishing rarely, if ever, making the list.
- Fishing Fanatics (5.1 million) – Avid anglers who adamantly believe fishing is more a religion than a sport, and their shrine’s in the garage. They get out on water to drop a line every chance they get.
There are several resources available for companies that need assistance in marketing to a Hispanic audience on the RBFF website, TakeMeFishing.org, including research, webinars and a photo library. RBFF has also produced a series of Spanish-language how-to fishing videos available at YouTube.com/takemefishingfilms.