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Me llamo es Lauren: My thoughts on Hispanic Marketing

January 15, 2009

I am not an expert in Hispanic marketing, nor will I ever claim to be. My thoughts here only reflect the household I grew up and the culture I  have been surrounded with daily for the past 23 years.

A little background about me:

My dad was born in Cuba, and came over here when he was young. No details needed, but my grandfather was a Cuban revolutionary and my family had to flee. I grew up with a whirlwind of dinner parties, with Cubans and Puerto Ricans dancing, smoking cigars and talking loud.  Music was always playing, and it was truly an amazing childhood. My culture means everything to me, truly because of the people I was raised by.

From the talks I have had with my Hispanic friends in the business, working for various Spanish publications and marketing firms, the trend these days seems to be that translating a release is enough – that anything will work to promote in this market. I mean, if it’s in the language, the common bond between all Hispanics, it should work, right? Not really, but that is what the mindset is right now. I have a lot of friends who make money just for translating materials and releases.

1. We are not all the same

I can say it time and time again, but it always happens: some assume we are all the same. Just because my last name is Fernandez, does not mean I am the same ethnicity as the Martinez sitting next to me. A Mexican is different from a Honduran, who is different from a Cuban who is very different from a Puerto Rican. The culture is different, the mindset is different, and really, learning the cultures can be done by talking to people of these descents, by researching, by listening to music (it sounds silly, but the beats differ from culture to culture).  My thoughts, values and the way I was raised are different, and it even varies from generation to generation (ie. I am first generation, so I was raised differently than a 5th generation).

2. Know the market you are pitching

Just as we all are a different ethnicity, different sectors live in different places. In Texas, the vast majority is of Mexican descent. If you go to New York and New Jersey, you will find Dominicans and Puerto Ricans. (This could have changed) Before pitching any market, you should know what demographic it is. A Puerto Rican influenced newspaper will be different than a Mexican influenced magazine in Texas. Also, the language is different – a word in Cuban Spanish is different than a word in Mexican Spanish. The base is the same, but it does differ and this is where research comes in handy again.

3. Family First

Out of everything, this is probably the one concept that can tie together all Hispanics, so in a national campaign, it is my opinion that this should be underlying. The Hispanic culture is extremely family oriented – most of us grew up surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, and the friends of these people were also considered family. What you are pitching needs to be for a wide range of ages, or something that everyone can do as a family. If it’s not family oriented, most of the market will not be open to hearing what you have to pitch. It is a very close knit community, and a release or announcement that is family oriented will grab attention over most other things.

Again, I am not an expert. I am just someone who grew up in a Cuban household. I may be way off based, but these are my perceptions. All in all, if you do research by knowing your target market and aim correctly, you should at least be going in the right direction, or show the initiative that you want to learn.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2009 8:10 pm

    Great post. I’ve never understood the tendancy to lump all people of Hispanic/Latino decent into one category. Hello, they come from different *countries*! Who different continents even. As you say, it boils down to knowing your audience, and make assumptions is always a mistake. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Manny Morales permalink
    January 17, 2009 5:39 pm

    Lauren, let me say that I’m not a PR/Marketing guy, I’m just a guy who has a varied interest. I grew up very much the same way you did but in Mexican-American family. It too bugs me the way companies try to sell to us a whole category rather than an individual group. That issue alone will make me avoid or not buy that company’s product because they didn’t do their homework. I found you on Hispanic Trending. Thanks, Manny.

    • January 17, 2009 6:15 pm

      Hey Manny, I am the same way. I tend to be loyal to products and companies that market to me, not as a broad demographic but as a specific person. Thanks for the comment and for reading!

  3. tina permalink
    August 31, 2009 11:43 am

    Was the grammatical error intended?…”Me llamo es Lauren” should be “Me llamo Lauren”. Literally translated would be “I call myself Lauren”
    Great article.

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