Hispanic Marketing: How To Sell To Latinx Customers

Hispanic marketing is the future of ecommerce.

According to Pew Research, the U.S hispanic population hit 60.6 million in 2019. Pew Research also found latinos accounted for 52% of all population growth in the U.S between 2010 and 2019. Other sources also show that latinos will account for up to 80% of all population growth in the U.S by 2040. Latinos also have a median age of 30 as of 2019, which means they have the longest purchasing window out of all groups of people.

In other words, there is an opportunity to make lots of money by marketing to the latinx community.

The problem is that most hispanic marketing strategies are archaic. Many hispanic marketing campaigns are based off of an old understanding of the traditional hispanic decision maker. This is OK, but it doesn’t reflect trends based on the past decade.

Today, it’s actually about marketing to hispanic millennials/Gen Z or 2nd generation hispanics. Considering I’m a 2nd generation, hispanic millenial myself, you’re going to get perspective of someone who is one and sells to them at the same time.

Let’s talk about it…

The Secret To Advertising To Hispanic Consumers

Here’s a little talked about truth that has fueled most of hispanic marketing tactics…

They’re typically run by old, white men who have only been exposed to hispanics from other American media sources. So to them, everything is black or white. If you’re hispanic, you automatically want everything in Spanish, you love soccer, and all you do is eat tacos/burritos all day.

This is so far off from what today’s latinx consumers want, it’s laughable.

With that said, this presents an opportunity for any ecommerce brand that does it the right way. Fortunately, it’s not even that complicated. The secret to advertising to hispanic consumers comes down to understand the new latinx consumer.

This new latinx consumer is generally…

Millennial or Gen Z
2nd generation
American first, hispanic second
Prefers marketing in english
Talks spanish/spanglish at home
Spends a lot of time/money online
Latin America, not just Mexican

In other words, today’s latinx consumers are young men and women who experience the world as Americans, but are brought up in a hispanic household. They’re tech savvy. And their families come from all over Central and South American, each with their own customs.

As you can probably tell, this is almost the polar opposite avatar that most companies use to market their products with. You can’t just translate your pitch in Spanish and use cliche cultural props. You have to understand that the latinx consumer is a hybrid between the old generation of hispanic consumers and the new generation of American consumers.

The Biggest Hispanic Marketing Trends Of 2021

In the past, the biggest hispanic marketing trends had to do with targeting the traditional hispanic household, with an emphasis on targeting older hispanics. For example, 50+ year old mom’s, dad’s, and grandparents.

By far the biggest trend in hispanic marketing though is the pivot from targeting older hispanics to targeting young hispanics. And with this pivot, comes new trends that can completely revolutionize your marketing.

Here are the 3 biggest to worry about…

Spanglish

The first language of most hispanics is English. So when in doubt, make ads that are completely in English. With that said, because hispanics live a “dual life” between their spanish households and their American life, many do identify with “spanglish”. This is when you combine English and Spanish such as saying “hola”, but saying the rest of your sentence in English.

For example, if you write an ad that would normally say “this is the perfect gift for your uncle”. In Spanglish, you would say “this is the perfect gift for tio”.

It’s important to not just replace english words with Spanish words at random. Generally speaking, there are certain types of words that get used in Spanish more often than English when talking in Spanglish. For example, hispanics will typically call their relatives by the Spanish phrases such as tio, tia, abuelo, and abuela. This is true even if Spanish is a second language to them.

The key to making this work though is to avoid “Spanish stuffing”.

So don’t just insert random Spanish words. The sentences have to flow like they would when a bilingual person says them.

Diversity

Diversity is a huge topic that almost everyone talks about these days. But for the purpose of this article, we’re going to define it as having hispanics in your ads so that latinx customers can see themselves in what you’re promoting.

Typically, this isn’t done very well, particularly in premium priced categories where you’ll typically have a group of white men/women and the one black man/woman to show diversity. That won’t work if you want to sell to LatinX customers though.

Instead, it’s best to focus on the diversity between hispanics.

For example, there are white, brown, and black hispanics. There are hispanics from Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba. And there are men, women, children, grandparents, and more.

So if you’re running an ad that is selling shoes, don’t have a group of white people and one hispanic person modeling your product. Instead, have 3 different hispanics as models.

In other words, don’t “include” hispanics. You want to be hispanic.

Cultural

The last huge trend is a deeper, more nuanced portrayal of hispanic culture.

Most hispanic marketing is very superficial. Yes, hispanics like soccer, but so does most of the world. Instead, it’s better to focus on things only hispanics would understand. For example, living in hispanic dominant neighborhoods or even being the lone hispanic in a white neighborhood. 

Other examples include…

Hispanics don’t identify with McDonalds. They identify with rice and beans.

Hispanics listen to all sorts of music. However, they’ll identify with latin trap.

Hispanics know what is like to be both latino AND American.

If you’re not hispanic yourself, coming up with these kinds of insights maybe easier said than done. However, they’re worth it. This prevents you from all the cliche tactics that make the latinx community roll its eyes.

The Best Hispanic Marketing Strategy For Ecommerce Brands

The best source of inspiration for a lot of marketing in general comes from the media. The reason is that media companies are masters at attracting and retaining the attention of their target audiences.

This is why the best hispanic marketing strategy is to model after media companies that attract and retain the attention of the latinx population. 

One great example of this is a company called Mitu.

They’re an entertainment company that specializes in the latinX community. Some of their shows include “Latina Moms Be Like”, “ConciencaTalk”, “Vybes”, and “Abuela”. In all cases, they’re taking much of what you would see in “white media” and then remixing it for millennial and Gen Z hispanics.

Study their videos and you’ll notice…

Spanglish terms and phrases
Specific cultural references
Latest hispanic celebrities
Adjacent media references
Common hispanic archetypes

… and more

The takeaway here isn’t to just stuff everything you see into an ad. Doing so will actually have the opposite effect and turn it into a cliche ad that just panders to the community for no real reason.

Remember, they’re Americans FIRST!

So when in doubt, treat them as such.

Instead, it’s to understand the latinx world and then make marketing materials that mirror their reality rather than inserting “easter eggs”. It’s the little things here and there that when put together in an ad, can make all the difference in making a latinx customer feel like it was meant for them.