Reach Latin American Consumers With These Marketing Tips

Pizza Patron

The buying power of Latin American consumers is on the rise in the US, and that means working to reach that audience. Of course, when it comes to reaching Hispanic buyers, it doesn’t just mean peppering your ads with extra Spanish. Let’s talk about the best ways to build relationships with Latin@ buyers for better conversions – without cutting corners.

Marketing for Latin@ Buyers is Not “El Marketing”

Throwing in some Spanish words here and there – as with the NBA’s somewhat tasteless Noche Latina, where player jerseys are swapped out for their “Spanglish” counterparts – this year was “El Heat” and “Los Bulls.” Oops. Perhaps their level of commitment is right, but their strategy is a little off.

The same goes for Spanish in advertisements. It’s important not to assume that every Latin@ buyer is going to respond well to your marketing strategy if it’s focused solely on Spanish-language ads or a product that you assume the demographic would like, because that often feeds into racist stereotypes – and if you’re turning off potential buyers, those stereotypes are no good for your business. As a matter of fact, many Latin@ consumers – especially those who are second, third or fourth generation Americans – don’t even have Spanish as a first language anymore. It’s time to try something different.

Many Latin@ customers have noted that the best advertisements are those that appeal to the cross-cultural nature of being Latin@ in the United States. For example, this Volkswagen ad, which highlights the Passat’s fuel efficiency, shows two young men who don’t speak Spanish at first, put a Spanish language CD into the car’s player, and then at their first gas station are shown to speak Spanish at a near-native level. For Latin@ clients who are not constantly glued to Telemundo or Univision, a humorous advertisement like the aforementioned Volkswagen piece is a great example of what’s going to be appealing.

Pizza Patrón is Doing it Right

Spanish isn’t a bad move when done right. Consider the company Pizza Patrón (in English, “Pizza Boss”). Not only does this company actually take it a step further by marketing pizza specifically to a Latin@ demographic with a website that has seamlessly integrated English and Spanish, the company actually takes pesos. They were subjected to a huge media controversy, but their focus has remained on working with a specific demographic – and their success shows.

This is because companies like Pizza Patrón, headquartered in Dallas, take notice of marketing trends. For example, when sales dipped during the season of Lent, the company realized that it had to work with consumers who are both Catholic and Latin@, customers who weren’t eating meat during that time of the year. The pizza chain responded with specials on vegetarian pizzas – a period of Pizza Cuaresma (“Lent Pizza”). They have marketing to the Latin@ demographic all figured out.

Have you tried to reach Latin American customers? What failed attempts have you seen in advertising?

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Tree is a somewhat nomadic graduate student pursuing an MFA in Poetry and Literary Translation from Drew University. A self-identified “diplobrat,” she spent over 16 years living as an expat in countries like Guatemala, Bolivia, and Tanzania. Tree graduated from Smith College in 2012 with a degree in Spanish Language and Literature, a minor in Studio Art, and a concentration in Landscape Studies. In between writing poetry for school and content for CEM, she dabbles in goat herding and freelancing. Other interests include reading, watercolor painting, gardening, and traveling.

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