How to Reach the Hispanic Market


When you are trying to reach one of the fastest growing groups in the US and one with a growing purchasing power that will near 1.5 trillion by 2015, the Hispanic population cannot be blanketed together but rather targeted and catered to as a “group within a group”. They are not a homogeneous group by any means (as so many believe) but rather different groups with their individual customs, values and needs. Therefore, all those cultural differences and language nuances have to be considered prior to a large Hispanic campaign. By language nuances I mean  that not because it is Spanish it translates across the board nor does each word carry the same meaning either.

Yes. Even in the commonality of Spanish  there are cultural differences in the meaning to the same word. You either make it or break it or lose them.  All this sounds  like common sense but  we have seen plenty disasters in marketing copy . For example, the  translation of the word ‘popcorn’ in Spanish; the reference changes from country to country.  Like this there are many other countless examples such as “guaga” in Chile (child) is not the same for a Cuban which means  a bus. Habichuelas in Puerto Rico are  red beans and to a Cuban habichuelas are string  beans. Try selling that plate in a Cuban restaurant!  Or visiting a friend and telling me what beautiful “pantallas” you have. To me I was using lampshades as earrings… Like these there are many and countless examples. You need to zero in on who is your target and go with their cultural references.

So it it not just a matter of merely translating content into Spanish it is understanding culture that makes the difference in their marketing , you may confuse or offend them greatly by the use of a poor chosen word.

In a Nielsen study on Hispanic consumer behavior, The Hispanic Market Imperative , the growing Hispanic population although  acculturating to the American lifestyle, is not assimilating to it and  this is important to note because of family and peers (who stress their importance of holding on to their roots, Hispanics still  maintain their  connection to their culture and heritage.

The study further says that because of this need to keep their cultural identity,  Hispanics tend to respond to ads that are not only culturally relevant but also speak their language and target their needs.

On a very personal note here and I am sure that many would agree here, If you want to reach the Hispanic market, besides language and culture you  have to consider the family unit, their values and yes, their opinions.

Besides their heavy use of the internet for research,they make decisions and purchasing decisions based on family opinions or make them as a family unit (this usually involves the entire extended family and shop as a family too).

Brands that cater to that need  specifically will gain their loyalty and business. For example  McDonald’s and Pepsi are two of the brands that have embraced this.   Both companies have gotten the two most important facets in the Hispanic market, family and culture  and coupled it with their own brand strategy. Both brands do this perfectly; McDonald’s by representing Latino culture on their website and Pepsi by engaging the family  using social media and apps which is also a factor for Latinos.

Strategies to Reach the Hispanic Consumer

By the Hispanic consumer we mean mostly the millennial and gen-z generations  who are by and large the biggest consumers.

Per MediaPost there are 6 very important factors of the Hispanic consumer: they are hyper-social,  they use television, smartphones, videos and download music at a faster rate than non-Hispanics and their engagement in the social networks such as Facebook, outpaces other groups.

Having said that then, so  what strategies that could be applied for this group?


Another marketing strategy to reach the Hispanic market is geolocation.  Geolocation essentially means that marketers use the built-in GPS of your device to track the location. Marketers use this with the use of phone apps that the consumer has to agree and approve.

Used for marketing purposes it can lead to a having a leg up in your competition because having your promotions pop up in their phone’s screen can be of substantial benefit to the marketers.

Furthermore, given that Latinos are very mobile friendly and  search online prior to sales and promotions,  they may see this as a convenience where  marketers  can already send out pre-sale specials directly targeted at them.

This is also a good way to place bilingual ads in mobile advertising. Marketers also use this strategy to reach customers within the store which is also a habit that Latinos have as well, they search online in store to see where the sales are. For this reason, marketers are taking note and although the following example is in news media the idea is the same they target their audience and cater directly through ads.


Social Media

Through geolocation, videos, and use of extensive social media , particularly Facebook, and heavy internet use,  Hispanics share, comment, buy, recommend  products to their friends and family therefore being  primary source maintaining and keeping in touch with the Hispanic millennial.

An added bonus is if you target them on their cultural and value system, they are more likely to buy from your brand and be loyal to it as well.  They like to build trust and like to do business with people they trust, particularly in the financial sector.

Per Pew Hispanic Research, they are highly influenced by online ads to visit a store and purchase. Although they do fewer trips to the store, they are more likely to shop more on each trip.  We have already note their preference bilingual advertising and information,  so they still prefer their content in Spanish, particularly web content and read English only sites if they have no other choice. (This is true primarily in the 1st generation Hispanics that still are more Spanish dominant)

Should there be a tab” En Español “they are more likely to click on that tab than continue with the English version.  Furthermore, for Spanish consumers a Spanish domain would help them remember you more that would an English domain name.

Couple that with the idea that they the most active in social sites and internet,   and are highly influenced by mobile ads and although they make less shopping trips, they buy more each time they go, This information is also listed in the link above.


In conclusion, you may say why all this research when all I do is translations well because there is still many, many companies that struggle with this market and apply the ‘one size fits all’ approach to marketing them and that is a no-no for them. Also, I have encountered disastrous  and embarrassing commercial blunders that have missed the mark completely with  this market and by that I mean in linguistic terms and mistranslations. But that is subject of another post.

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