Insights for Capitalizing on the Hispanic Market


There are almost 309 million people living in the United States – 47.8 million are Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly half are believed to live in California or Texas.

We’ll soon have an update once the 2010 census is tabulated. The U.S Census Bureau is working overtime to develop the most-possible data. The 2000 census had a 72 percent response rate. At stake, of course, is the allocation of $400 billion+ in taxpayer dollars.

For marketers, the Hispanic population is an opportunity not to be ignored. And 2010 is an ideal time to touch the emotional heart strings of Latinos.

Consider two emotional holidays:

  • The 200th anniversary of Mexico’s Independence Day
  • The 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that commemorates Mexico’s defeat of the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. But it’s not the most important holiday in Mexico. (But I’ll have more on that later from an expert.)

The No. 1 holiday is Mexico’s Independence Day, Sept. 16th, which marks Mexico’s emancipation from Spain in 1810.

The Mexican Revolution is also considered important to citizens of Mexico and their supporters, especially, in this 100th anniversary of the end of class warfare on November 20th of 1910.

But like any target niche, consistency throughout the year is vital for top-of-mind awareness. So what’s the best approach for the Hispanic market?

Meet an expert I’ve known for several years: Rebecca Lambert, who is an account executive for Bustos Media in the greater Seattle area with 15 years of rich sales experience. (Bustos Media,, is headquartered in Sacramento, CA, and has 25 radio stations and 4 TV stations.)

But why Washington state? It’s considered a fast-growing Hispanic marketplace. With a population of 6.03 million people, 271,285 or 7.3 percent are Hispanic.

“Reaching out to the Hispanic community is not something you just think you will try, it requires commitment and patience,” she says. “But the rewards it can bring are huge for the bottom line of your company.

“I have seen companies who are just starting who have made a commitment to make Spanish an integral part of their marketing plan, who have not regretted it, and I have seen people who were much fainter of heart who knew that they should but couldn’t commit to anything but dipping their toes in the water, who failed,” Ms. Lambert explains. ”Don’t waste your marketing dollars, unless you are willing to commit to the venture for at least a year. Make the determination, and do it the right way the first time, and that is how you will build your brand into the community, and create a firm and loyal customer base.”

She provides other strategies, including understanding the market.

“First of all, you cannot just have someone translate your commercial or collateral into Spanish and think that you are hitting the target, it is important to speak with someone who can do needs assessments of your business, so that they understand who your current customer is, and how fitting a Hispanic component into that equation will work,” she says. “If your current customer base is age 24-46 males, then you want to make sure that your message is hitting 24-36 male Hispanics.

“…you have to tell Hispanics you want their business, that they are welcome to come in, you have to tell them why they should do business with you, and you have to give them a reason to do business with you right now,” she adds.

About understanding the culture, she suggests homework.

“Cinco de Mayo is not a Hispanic holiday, unless you are from the city of Pueblo (Mexico), then you might celebrate the fact that an important battle on the way to independence was fought and won there, but if you really know your culture, you will know that September 16th in Mexico is the true date of independence of Mexico.”

In other words, if you own a restaurant, acknowledge the difference. If you want to attract partiers on Cinco de Mayo, focus on attracting English-peaking consumers, too.

“Another distinction between Hispanic culture and American culture is that Mother’s Day is not celebrated on the second Sunday of May, but on May 10, regardless of the day it falls on,” Ms. Lambert advises. “Don’t discount targeting sales on general market holidays to Hispanics, but don’t miss those unique sales opportunities on culturally relevant Hispanic holidays.”

Are Latinos, in general, big on social media? 

“Hispanics are the largest-growing internet users in the country. It make sense to some degree. International phone calls are still pricey, and with technology today like Skype and even smart phones, it is becoming less expensive to stay in touch with family. And you can connect more often, send photos, videos, etc.,” she explains.

So, what’s her closing pitch?

“The spending power of U.S. Hispanics is over $1 trillion; that’s equal to the gross domestic product of Canada,” Ms. Lambert concludes.”Do you want a piece of their business? If you can make them loyal to you, you will have it.”

To contact Ms. Lambert: 

From the Coach’s Corner, Bustos’ stations include these fast-growing Hispanic markets:

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.