By Adam R Jacobson

MIAMI BEACH (Oct. 12, 2011) —  The greater the likelihood of a perceived benefit to the community, the greater the chance a Latino will participate in an Arbitron survey.

That’s one of the key findings from Roslow Research Group president Peter Roslow, who worked with the radio ratings company to best explore how Arbitron can increase Latino diarykeeper participation in emerging Hispanic markets.

Spanish-language radio listeners were queried in three “new” Hispanic markets – Boise, Idaho; Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Fort Myers, Florida – along with a long-established Hispanic market, Tucson. First-generation Hispanics were of considerable focus, to best determine ways to attract Latinos that likely weren’t comfortable communicating in English.

Research was designed to bring in Spanish-dominant Latinos; Roslow learned that “non-traditional recruiters,” those who have community standing, helped in encouraging Latinos to participate in this study. Use of video and communication in English was eliminated. Once Roslow commenced its research, it found that many first-generation Hispanics asked if Arbitron was “a serious company,” and was not a scam. Many commented that surveys “are just not a Hispanic thing,” and that “they don’t have time for such things.”

Roslow also found that phone calls trump mail communication with Hispanic diary placement – a good thing for Arbitron. “This provides people with an opportunity to talk to a real person, and Arbitron can build trust with the Latino community through this in-person communication,” Roslow says.

Lastly, Roslow notes that the subject of immigration cannot help but negatively impact participation in Arbitron surveys in all markets – not just Tucson, where state legislation has placed a chilling effect on Hispanics, some of who may be undocumented.  “Elizabeth,” from Boise, noted that “immigration knows what zones or houses there are more Latinos and they come.”

Dr. Ed Cohen, Arbitron’s VP/Research Policy & Communications, reviewed some of the methods the ratings firm is acting upon based on Roslow’s research.

* Sending a pre-alert piece before the questionnaire is mailed is planned “in the near term.”

* Using a one-sheet to explain to Latinos that Arbitron is “a serious company.”

* As 38.4% of all Hispanics are cell-phone only, Cohen guesses that it is even higher among first-generation Latinos. Thus, first contact by law through U.S. Mail needs the more personable follow-up by phone.

In markets such as Boise, there is no language weighting. However, Cohen believes the cell-phone sampling for diary placement is doing the best job against a rapidly changing Latino population that data hasn’t caught up to yet.

Are diaries heading to more tech-friendly delivery vehicles, such as digital accessibility via smartphones? Asked by an attendee at the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) conference session in Miami Beach,  Cohen explained that the need to make first contact via U.S. Mail at present hinders such efforts – for now.

“It is something we’re working on,” Cohen says.

For more coverage from the AHAA 2011 Annual Conference, visit www.hispanicad.com or follow #AHAA2011 on Twitter.

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