This article was originally published online by the Orlando Business Journal.

Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct. 15) is a memorable time for Hispanics and a great business opportunity for your company. You can create some big promotions around it that can generate a strong buzz for your business.

This celebration starts on Sept. 15 with the anniversary and independence of five Latin American countries — Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on Sept. 16, and Chile on Sept. 18.

Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the Latino culture and heritage, as well as the contributions U.S. Hispanics have made to the nation. For example, San Miguel de Gualdape was founded in Georgia in 1526 as the first European settlement in North America. And St. Augustine — the oldest city in the U.S. — was founded in 1565 by Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and subsequently was the capital of Spanish Florida for 200 years. Hispanic Americans have been making positive contributions to life in the U.S. ever since. Read Full Article

This article was originally published online by the Orlando Business Journal.

There has been a lot of debate about using a “total market approach” when reaching out to Hispanics, especially in regards to their millennials.

Total market approach is relying only one marketing program designed to reach all consumers across both general and ethnic markets. If you take a shortcut like this and try to tap into the Hispanic market using a straight translation of your Anglo campaign into Spanish, it’s basically like serving a burger with every Anglo topping imaginable and then adding beans, rice, sofrito, mofongo and habanero pepper. You simply cannot be effective trying to please so many people at once with the one approach.

The Hispanic market is unique and diverse — with differences between U.S. born and foreign born. Even U.S. Hispanic millennials, the Hispanic consumer of the future, are a little different. If we compared them with the general market millennials, the differences are even bigger.

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As part of my career, I meet with decision makers on a regular basis. Whether they work for different industries or not, the pattern I have seen in some of them is the lack of understanding on how impactful the Hispanic market could be for their businesses.

Some executives still think that the Hispanic market is homogeneous; that it is just people that speak Spanish or Mexicans. Others feel that since they haven’t done any outreach in the past and they currently have some low market penetration, it is not necessary to invest in this target audience. However, each of these executives are still struggling on how to increase sales and stay ahead of their competition.

The answer is right in front of them. We live in a country that is constantly evolving. Minority groups are growing fast. And as a result, Hispanics are no longer a sub-segment of the economy. They are emerging as a powerhouse of economic influence. So, whether executives embrace it or not, this segment will definitely affect their company’s bottom line—now and well into the future.  Read Full Article

Hispanics are growing at a fast pace. By 2050 the population is expected to grow 167%, making Hispanics the fastest growing subgroup in the American marketplace.

According to a report from the Pew research Center “What is the future of Spanish in the United States”, there are more than 37 million Spanish speakers, making Spanish the most spoken non-English language in the USA among people ages 5 and older. Since 1980, this number grew 233% when there were 11 million Spanish speakers.

Whether they are foreign born or U.S born, what keeps this community together as a strong group is a very defined culture from motherland Spain, thought by the Catholic Church. Also, they share one language: Spanish and the pursuit of the American dream.

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Multiculturalism is redefining what it means to be American today.  Acculturation levels, language of preference, and country of origin make for unique sub-groups within the U.S. Hispanic market. The biggest mistake that a company can make is to view it as homogeneous. This market is comprised of subcultures from over 20 countries in Central and South America, including Spain and the Caribbean.

So, is it Hispanics or Latinos? It’s a question that people have struggled to answer when deciding what to call this growing group (which is now the second largest consumer market in the USA).

It is important to understand that “Hispanic” or “Latino” refers to an origin or ethnicity, not a race.

“Hispanics” refers to language, whether you or your ancestry came from a country that speaks Spanish. This term was adopted in 1970 during the Nixon administration for political purposes.

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The success of an advertising campaign relies on a series of controllable and uncontrollable factors that will determine the end result. Knowing exactly who your target audience is, the consumption patterns and what triggers or motivates the purchase desire, will help you reach your audience successfully.

The success of an ad campaign also relies on the perfect balance (50%-50%) between messaging and the right media selection. Sometimes, this is a big hurdle and ad agencies need to understand that success is not measured based on the piece of art created or the award won at the last creative competition. It is based on the results and ROI the client was awarded through their marketing efforts.

You can have a strong and compelling story to tell, but if you don’t have the right media selection, it is all money wasted.

Every Hispanic media has their strengths and weaknesses. It is important to have a cohesive media plan where all vehicles will support and complement each other during the period of the campaign.

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The World Cup is around the corner and your sales can dramatically increase by having the right strategy that appeals to Hispanics. There are many things Hispanics from different nationalities and generations have in common, such as language, culture and food—but sports are central to their identity. Soccer is the king. Their favorite teams are passed down through generations, creating a strong family bond.

Soccer games featuring Mexico “El Tri” are among the hottest sports properties, drawing immense viewership among Spanish-speaking sports fans. Considering that 73% of Mexican Americans speak mostly Spanish or are bilingual, these games are a sure bet to draw huge audiences, emphasizing the combined influence of language and country of origin.

Soccer is a cross-cultural appeal that unites Hispanics including the general market. It is a great opportunity for your company to leverage this consumer’s passion and emotional connection with the sport by associating your brands with soccer. The right understanding will help you grow your business significantly.

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For some companies the Hispanic market means an opportunity to expand their businesses. For others it is the million-dollar question: should they do something now or wait until they have to?

As the Hispanic community is the 2nd largest consumer market in the USA, you must have a true understanding of their culture and how to engage with them.

Other than the right form of advertising, one of the most effective ways to be successful in this market niche is community outreach. You must make a genuine effort in being part of and giving back to this community. For example: Sponsor Hispanic festivals, provide some scholarship opportunities, participate in events and others. Your company needs to show the appreciation for their trust and business.

Sometimes, companies look at community outreach as a quick way to generate revenue. They become members or sponsors of some Hispanic non-profit organizations. They sponsor a couple events during the year but they don’t fully embrace the effort by making an impact in the community. They don’t even have a marketing strategy or media buy in place to reinforce these half-hearted efforts.

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The clock is ticking and brands must finally resolve their fate with Hispanic consumers. There are a lot of misconceptions and myths about marketing to Latinos. Many corporate American businesses still have a tendency to look at this market as homogeneous, whether they are people that speak Spanish or just Mexican people.

With Hispanic purchasing power expected to reach over 1.5 trillion dollars by 2015, you must have a true understanding of this market and their level of acculturation. Because one direction or another, this fact will significantly impact your company’s bottom line.

Brands aren’t doing enough to know who Hispanic consumers are, how they naturally think, and what cues trigger their behaviors. We live in a fast world where sometimes companies try to make a quick buck without seeing big the picture. They are trying to get from point A to C without taking the necessary steps.

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