How Marketers Are Courting Latino Consumers

  |  October 15, 2010   |  Comments

Don't understand the difference between Hispanic and Latino? Start here.

There's power in numbers – a fact not lost on marketers courting Hispanic and Latino consumers.

Consider these U.S. Census statistics:

  • The Hispanic and Latino population in the United States is now estimated at 47.8 million; that's 15.5 percent of the nation's population. In California and Texas today, 37 percent are Latino and Hispanic.
  • The number of people who are Hispanic and Latino is projected to double in 40 years. By that time, one in four people in the United States will be of Hispanic origin.

Marketers are taking varied approaches to connect with Hispanic and Latino consumers. Consider these recent initiatives:

dondeestaelisaNBC Universal's Telemundo: As a Spanish-language broadcast television network in the United States, Telemundo specializes in storytelling, said Borja Perez, VP of integrated solutions and digital media. As a storyteller, including the producer of telenovelas (define), Telemundo can extend those story lines to online audiences and have actors and characters interact with audiences on social networks. For instance, one character for the telenovela, "Donde Esta Elisa?" was featured in webisodes on and in discussions on the show's Facebook page - and not on the TV program.

quericavidaGeneral Mills: The company behind Cheerios, Pillsbury, and Betty Crocker brands, rolled out an iPad app this week that provides more than 900 recipes for Spanish-speaking consumers. The free app, Qué Rica Vida Recetario, takes its name from General Mills' five-year-old website,, (What a Rich Life) and recetario (recipe depository).

Qwest: The Denver-based telecom company is reaching out to Spanish-speaking consumers with its "Domina Tu Mundo" (Rule Your World) television advertising campaign for its so-called Heavy Duty Internet service. The company also serves its customers on its Spanish-language website,

yahooenespanolYahoo: This summer, Yahoo partnered with, a Latin America automotive portal, and, to update Yahoo en Español Autos. According to Yahoo, millions of Hispanic consumers visit the site each month to research, buy, and sell vehicles.

Univision: The Spanish-language media company teamed up with the National Basketball Association to promote the league's dynamic Spanish-language website,, on Univision Interactive Media's online platform. The co-branded site will include blogs by Latino NBA players, video highlights, news, and interactive fan content.

Tips for Marketing to Hispanics and Latinos

  1. If you don't understand the difference between Hispanic and Latino, you're not alone. "One of the most popular debates and one of the least likely to be solved - ¿Hispanic or Latino?" Richard L. Vázquez wrote on "While both 'Latino' and 'Hispanic' are generally acceptable, some people have a strong preference," New York Times wordsmith Philip B. Corbett explained last year in a blog post, "Hispanic? Latino? Or What?" Check out both blog posts.
  2. Don't assume that using Spanish in your messaging will guarantee success. Like English-speaking audiences, messages must be targeted and relevant.
  3. Recognize that the Hispanic and Latino market is diverse. "There's no such thing as a single Latino market," said Giovanni Rodriguez, CMO, Broadvision, during the LatinVision CEO conference in New York City last week that brought together Latino and Hispanic advertising and media executives. "There are Democrats and Republicans, Cubans and Puerto Ricans...the social media world has helped to expose mini-markets." The Pew Hispanic Center, has demographic, economic, education, and other data that marketers should find helpful.
  4. Besides being diverse, the Hispanic and Latino market is complex. "There's something about our Latino identity that causes us to huddle together if we're approached the right way or attacked the wrong way," Rodriguez added. Take California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's call to prosecute illegal aliens. While Whitman was criticized for that position, she ignited even more fury following the allegation that her nanny and housekeeper was an undocumented worker. Entrepreneur and talk show host Fernando Espuelas succinctly summed up Whitman's political (and marketing) challenge in this HuffPost blog post: "Meg Whitman's Big Fat Latino Problem."

In coming weeks, ClickZ will launch a column, "Marketing to Latinos," to better equip marketers looking to connect with Latino and Hispanic audiences. Strategic Sense President Gustavo Razzetti and BroadVision CMO Giovanni Rodriguez have agreed to share their insights with ClickZ readers in upcoming columns. Stay tuned.

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Anna Maria Virzi

Anna Maria Virzi, ClickZ's executive editor from 2007 until 2012, covered Internet business and technology since 1996. She was on the launch team for Ziff Davis Media's Baseline and also worked at, Web Week, Internet World, and the Connecticut Post.

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