The Opportunity with Latinas

Five Considerations to Successfully Reach Them A column by Luciana Gómez, marketing executive specialized in multicultural segments


Finally the discussion is not around targeting Hispanics anymore. We know we cannot win without Hispanics because of size of population, size of prize, growth and influence on other segments. We all get this.

Now we can focus on the hottest segment within the hottest segment: Latinas. Just as you cannot win without Hispanics, you simply cannot win without Latinas, no matter the category, the brand, the product, the market.

Why go niche when everybody is going total market? Because to market to her, we need to truly understand her and in order to do this we need to know the role that culture plays in her life. A generic message just won’t get to her. We need a deeper connection that speaks to the nuances of her biculturalism, gender roles, cultural influences, and family dynamics.

If we don’t, we are missing on a huge opportunity.

According to Nielsen’s 2013 Latina Power Shift study, Hispanic women are the key growth engine of the US total female population and are expected to become 30 percent of the total female population by 2060, while non-Hispanic white female population is expected to drop by 43 percent.

The same study points out that Latina women are responsible for 86 percent of the purchase decisions in the household. That is 86 percent of $1.5 trillion in annual Hispanic buying power, according to Nielsen’s latest report last month.

Latinas are prominent contributors to the educational, economic and cultural wellbeing even beyond their ethnicity, as key influencers to mainstream habits. They are educated, multicultural, increasingly independent financially, and constantly connected. Latinas are shaping the future of our country and as such no brand can afford to not talk to them in a meaningful, relevant way,

Finally, this segment is raising the largest group of all kids born in the U.S. today and they are very influential to their decisions. This is a habit from previous generations that so-called “acculturation” has not been able to erase.

Think about missing 25 percent of your target, which is the percentage of Hispanic kids being born in America today according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s one out of four births. With the increasing Hispanic population and the influence Latinas have on their children, if you don’t target her you are simply missing a growing portion of the pie.

But don’t take my word for it, listen to theirs:

According to Lyris Leos, director of multicultural marketing at JCPenney, “The Latina has our utmost respect and admiration, and that’s why she continues to inspire our work everyday – in all areas of the company, not just marketing. As she does in life, she continues to over deliver on every metric. She is the propulsion system that helps us get there faster, that is why we’re flipping the question “What will it cost us if we do that Hispanic Market program?” to “What will it cost us if we don’t?”

María Teresa Perea, director new consumer platforms at Hershey’s recognizes the important role that Latinas have played in the success of their brand. “Many Hispanic cultural traditions and social gatherings are centered around the family, and the Hispanic mother is always there, looking for ways to make those moments highly enjoyable and memorable.  As one example, our Hershey’s Smore’s campaign targeting Hispanic moms continues to be highly successful in bringing to life Smore’s fun to the family moments around the grill, growing our business by double digits for two consecutive years”.

For Stephanie Bazan, Hispanic marketing director at Avocados From Mexico, “the Nueva Latina is at the center of the Avocados from Mexico’s strategy to reach our Hispanic consumer base. Latinas are leading the shift in many areas:  they are driving the economy, they are over-indexing in technology vs. their non-Hispanic counterparts and they are the predominant decision maker in many categories including groceries.

They are also very different from previous generations given that they are bi-cultural and have the unique ability to leverage the best from either world and that is important when it comes to her eating habits as well as her children. We want to make sure that Avocados from Mexico remain at the center of all her meal occasions as it provides a unique opportunity for her to use avocados as a way to retro-acculturate and connect with her heritage and her children.”

Key considerations for targeting Latinas include:

  1. Messaging: Relevant content that can get to her heart first. To do this well, you need to understand her well.
  2. Environment: Her circle of influence is also critical: word of mouth, family and friends endorsements as well as like-minded celebrities are a good way to get her to consider a brand.
  3. Casting: How we portray Latinas is important but remains a delicate issue. Stay away from stereotypes. There is clearly not one “Latina” look and the attempt to achieve this by casting a “typical” Latina look can misinterpreted as a shortcut that can turn her off.
  4. Approach: Latinas are savvy and require a sophisticated approach to marketing. Talk to her in her language and by this I do not necessarily mean Spanish. She requires a forward-thinking, progressive, challenging and inviting message. Treat her as the influencer she is. This is a woman that is most likely working, raising a family in a modern form of a matriarchal organization that focuses most of the societal pressures on her. She is one step ahead, don’t push her back with a limited marketing message.
  5. Media: She is everywhere, particularly online, and so needs to be your campaign. Otherwise, you’ll miss her. And with her, you’ll miss a significant portion of your revenue today and increasingly in the next decades.