Hispanic flagsBy 2050, Hispanics will account for more than half of the U.S. population, with a projection of 138.8 million total. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, in California alone, the Hispanic population is expected to increase to approximately 41 percent by 2020. As the demographic landscape of the U.S. changes, so must the marketing approach. So how do we reach this highly coveted group?

To answer this question, I asked the most credible Hispanic I know — me. In doing so, I had to consider the things that mattered most in my life. Those included:

  • Family
  • Language
  • Food (I saved the best for last)

However, the term Hispanic is all-encompassing and does not refer to solely one ethnicity. In fact, it refers to many! And according to Portada-Online, the leading source on Latin marketing and media, addressing varying groups isn’t the only thing to worry about!

Portada reports that hyperlocal content is crucial to effective Hispanic marketing because it targets ethnicity and geographic culture concurrently. For example, Diario Mexico USA creates two different editions of its publication – one specific to Mexicans in New York, another specific to Mexicans in Chicago. This approach results in content that is not only tailored to a specific race, but also to a very specific geographic culture with very specific needs.

In addition, Hispanics vary in age so marketing to a young Hispanic, also known as “Generation Ñ,” will look very different than marketing to an older Hispanic. But no matter how old you are, the following attributes never change!
Family. Many Hispanic families resemble a game of loteria. We are equipped with a musician cousin, el musico; a proper aunt, la dama; and sometimes even the inebriated relative, el borracho. Just kidding! No te creas!

Regardless of the quirky personalities that envelop our familial surroundings, we are a unified group that believes in the well-being of our own. We have big family values and even bigger family numbers so tapping into that bond is critical. Don’t believe me? In 2010, Advertising Age reported that consumers find on-camera Hispanic families more credible than non-Hispanic families.

Language. The retention of the Spanish language has been a source of debate for many a Hispanic family. According to Advertising & Marketing Review, when Hispanics were asked about advertising effectiveness, 38 percent stated that English language ads were less effective than Spanish ads in terms of recall and 70 percent less effective than Spanish in terms of persuasion. Further, with the vast number of young, bi-cultural Hispanics, the use of Spanglish, or the combination of English and Spanish, must be considered. The Huffington Post reports that while many younger Hispanics are fluent in English, they are largely influenced by their Hispanic background and culture. Last year, ADWEEK recommended that advertisers targeting this particular demographic should utilize Hispanic actors and models speaking Spanglish.

Hispanic family foodFood. In my house, if my mom offers you food, you eat it — hungry or not! Food is a mechanism for familial bonding and plays a vital role in the Hispanic household. According to CBS News, while many groups at cutting back on food spending, Hispanics are spending more. Hispanic marketing firm Latinum Network reports that between the years of 2005 and 2008, Hispanic food spending rose 18 percent, while non-Hispanic consumers declined. Brands such as Goya and Old El Paso have had longstanding success with marketing Hispanic food products to Spanish-speaking families. See Old El Paso’s latest television spot for their flat bottom taco shells here
These brands have been so profitable that now American brands are setting their sights on this highly coveted market. Pepsico, Kraft, General Mills and Starbucks are targeting Hispanics with products tailored to Hispanic taste. In example, Pepsico’s sparkling apple drink called Manzanita Sol; Kraft’s Philadelphia Canela Cinnamon Cream Cheese; General Mill’s Dulce de Leche Cheerios; and Starbucks’ Caramel Flan Latte.

Final Takeaways

  • Tailor your marketing efforts not only to varying Hispanic groups, but geographic culture! One size does NOT fit all.
  • Include important Hispanic values in your marketing efforts
  • Determine the appropriate language (English/Spanish/Spanglish) when targeting Hispanic groups of varying ethnicities, age groups and geographic location
Images by Nina Ramon and National Cancer Institute via Wikimedia Commons