Marketing to the Latino Community – First Show You Care

Juan Lezama
Juan Lezama

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hispanic-marketingThe surge in ethnic population and buying power has won the attention and interest of corporate America. Minorities now account for 37 percent of the U.S. population (114 million), and for the first time, more than half of all children born in the U.S. are non-white. Minority consumers are expected to grow their buying power from $1.6 trillion in 2010 to $2.1 trillion in 2015, accounting for 15 percent of the nation’s total buying power. Among these multicultural markets, the Latino segment is the largest at 50 million strong, equivalent to 16 percent of the U.S. population and with almost a trillion dollars in buying power.

Don’t just talk at consumers; become part of their community.

Along with the Latino population’s rapid growth, communication efforts have resulted in new initiatives to reach them, some more effective than others. As an agency with a multicultural division, we are seeing some companies just beginning to test the market with campaigns most notably marked by simply translating their general market communications into Spanish. Conversely, companies such as General Mills and Clorox are finding success by establishing strong roots in the Latino community. Because Latinos are a highly social community, they are most likely to establish business and purchasing relationships with companies they trust. As we understand it — through communicating with Latinos — the long-term secret to success is developing culturally relevant communications consistent with this community’s values and acknowledging and inspiring the Latino consumer. Any small businessperson with enterprises in or near Latino communities will tell you that Latinos become lifetime customers if they are able to trust and develop a relationship with the company they do business with.

An example of a company that appears determined to build long-term relationships with Latinos is General Mills. The company spends more money than any other food company on communications directed to Latino consumers with their program Que Rica Vida (What a Good Life), which was specifically developed for the Hispanic market.

General Mills’ commitment to the Latino consumer has grown to include the introduction of Latino flavor-inspired products such as Dulce de Leche in 2012. The company’s efforts are not just limited to product development or marketing — they also extend to employee relations and corporate social responsibility (CSR). In 2010, the company was recognized by Latina Style Magazine as a great workplace for Latinas. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, General Mills contributes millions of dollars to hundreds of Latino community organizations. As a result of this investment, General Mills is experiencing consistent year-after-year growth of many of its product lines in the Latino market.

New entrants into the market are also following this formula for success. In the competitive remittance industry, for example, startup Xoom.com (a Mosaico client) is seeing substantial growth in recent years with international remittances from immigrants living in the U.S. who send money to their home countries in Latin America and the Philippines. In 2011, remittances sent through Xoom.com totaled $1.7 billion.And it’s not just Mexico. Peru, a market where the company still sees plenty of growth potential, is one of the strongest markets for Xoom.com.

In 2012, Xoom launched a partnership with the Peruvian Olympic team to develop a CSR campaign. Xoom donated to the team and waived any transaction fees for donations to facilitate and encourage Peruvians living in the U.S. to give. They also donated a portion of each money transfer fee to the team. Historically, Peru, like many Latin American countries, spends very little to fund its Olympic team, so this program resonated with Peruvians in the U.S. who were enthusiastic about being able to support their team while living at a distance. The campaign consisted of advertising, media relations and social media components and helped grow the consumer brand loyalty of expat Peruvians to Xoom.com.

General Mills, Clorox and Xoom.com are strategically targeting the goldmine that the Hispanic market represents and, in doing so, ensuring that the companies and their brands are becoming part of the community.

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