The New Sweet Spot for Reaching the Hispanic Consumer

By Patricia Odell (

There is a lot to understand about the Hispanic shopper. In particular there’s a lot of empty space between what brands know about the consumers in this demographic and what retailers know about how and why they shop. The intersection of these two knowledge bases is the new crossroads in truly understanding how to market pre-, during and post shopping to this consumer. And most brands and retailers are not there yet.


“It’s really [about] understanding how to get to the deeper insights that will influence the behavior of the Hispanic shopper,” says Frenchie Guajardo, vice president of digital and shopper marketing at Marketvision (photo, right). “There is a vast knowledge gap in the industry. The information is just scratching the service. Manufacturers are just beginning to understand the differences. Retailers are still testing and trying to understand the differences in behavior and how their current marketing is performing with their Hispanic shoppers.”

Here are Guajardo’s five tips to make that happen:

1. Brand + Retailer: Getting to the core of insights about this shopper requires understanding the deep knowledge the manufacturer has about their consumers and how they shop that category. That knowledge should then be combined with retailer data on their Hispanic consumers. Reaching this “sweet spot” is identified by understanding language preferences, acculturation and country of origin. That information can then be applied to all messaging, including digital, packaging, P-O-P etc.

“It takes those different levels of insights in order to be effective,” Guajardo says. “A brand will have a very specific Hispanic target, like mothers with young children or Hispanic women with extended family members outside the home. A brand will also be a little more evolved in understanding its Hispanic shopper. Retailers have to serve all their shoppers so they have a broader view when it comes to acculturation levels or even language preference. They need to appeal to all the shoppers.

“When you have an understanding where the fit is; that’s the starting point of where to start looking to identify shopper cultural insights,” she says. “A lot of times many marketers do not go through that exercise. They’ll look at the retailers’ shopper and their consumer versus really understanding the nuances of where they come together.

2. Media: Use the insights to identify what media and promotions are best to reach this shopper base, generate awareness, drive traffic and communicate in store. Define the time(s) of year or merchandising windows and how those times fit with the consumers’ lifestyles in terms of holidays, occasions or other celebrations to hone the messaging.

“You might find that radio works really well with Hispanics in general, but that the retailers’ Hispanic shopper best engages with digital coupons,” says Guajardo.

For example, sweepstakes don’t work in general with Hispanic shoppers because they are motivated more by instant gratification; that comes as a cultural insight. The possibility of winning something in the future is not generally motivating enough for a Hispanic shopper to buy something right now, so sweepstakes will not drive velocity. Use coupons; add value like a free recipe booklet; offer a sampling or demonstration experience or some form of entertainment, such as meeting a soccer star or famous chef.

3. Social media: Retailers lag behind manufacturers in digital tactics, including social media and website design and function and tend to target those media to the general population and are not thinking about how to use those platforms with Hispanic shoppers.

“Retailers need to make a commitment and focus on how to leverage their digital assets best to connect with their Hispanic shopper both in culture and language,” Guajardo says.

However, once you make that digital connection, Hispanics in general do not like to give up their personal information, but that is changing and tends to be true more with first and second generation Hispanics, as opposed to acculturated Hispanics. So make it easy and provide an incentive for them to participate.

4. Messaging translations: This is where cultural insights and expertise in language becomes really important, and Guajardo suggests that you do not do direct translations. One of the most effective ways to connect to Hispanic shoppers is to leverage the best of both languages. Get the message out in English and use Spanish as the complementary language, but not as a direct translation.

“Sometimes when you do a direct translation, it doesn’t make sense,” she says.

5. Don’t overlook loyalty: Shopper marketing is short term by design, and budgets do not reach any kind of relationship-building after the purchase, Guajardo says. The majority of a shopper marketing manager’s job is to promote trial and sales. However, there is a bigger opportunity now to create a lasting relationship between the brand, the retailer and the Hispanic shopper using social, email and text messages to alert them to upcoming events, insider previews and other offers.

“This is really critical especially to Hispanics because this customer really respects brands that understand them and connect with them and serve their needs,” she says. “That is viewed as a sign of respect. We see that as the golden opportunity for relationship building.”

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