No New Places To Market Your Products? Hispanic Marketing Strategies Remain Largely Untapped

by Sheldon Baker

There are six cities in where the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2000 data says Hispanics represent the majority population. Chances are you can’t name them.

Nationally, the Hispanic population accounts for more than 35 million people. That’s 12.5 percent of the total U.S. population. Furthermore, Hispanics as a category in the U.S. Census report have grown 60 percent in the last decade. A closer look tells us there are more Hispanics in the United States than the entire population of our northern neighbor—Canada.

Nationally, it is estimated that Hispanic purchasing power in 2001 crossed the $561 billion mark. With these figures, marketers still only allocate on average between one and one percent of their budget for Hispanic marketing promotion strategy.

While every person is unique, there are some cultural similarities that exist within Hispanic communities. Here are a few examples.

      • Hispanics tend to have a strong commitment to traditional values such as family, religion and heritage.


      • They have a strong work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit and tend to measure success monetarily.


      • They are generally very loyal to product spokespeople, celebrities and sponsors.


    • Hispanic are most likely to use cash to make purchases versus credit cards and checks.

Our research has found the Hispanic population skews young with 40 percent being between the ages of one and 19 years old. The median age is 26.4 years, which is nine years younger than the U.S. population as a whole.

Research conducted by KFTV television, an affiliate of the Univsion network, in the Fresno/Visalia Designated Market Area (DMA), which includes a six county area, found:

      • The Fresno/Visalia DMA is the 13th largest Hispanic marketplace in the U.S., based on Hispanic households.


      • Hispanic households represent 37 percent of the total television households in that area.


      • Hispanic households tend to be larger, with 3.7 persons versus non-Hispanic households, which average 2.6 persons.


      • Hispanic school children from 6-17 years old make-up 57 percent of total classroom attendees.


      • Hispanic buying power is $7.7 billion, which equates to 28 percent of local spending.


      • Hispanic buying power increased eight percent from 1999 to 2000.


      • Hispanics spent $283.3 million on 13,167 2001 model year cars.


      • In the Fresno/Visalia DMA, Hispanics spent the following in 2000:
        $812 on medical care


        $932 million on groceries


      $413 million on dining out

Those numbers should be very appealing to manufacturers of health and food products. Keep in mind, that’s only the Fresno market.

While we have discussed the Hispanic population, don’t forget other similar groups. For example, the Puerto Rican or Cuban communities are two closely related, separated mainly by language.

You cannot translate general market messages literally into the Spanish language. Of course, Spanish is the common language. But the Mexican community has different idioms than Puerto Ricans and Cubans. Nevertheless, an experienced Hispanic marketing consultant can transcend the dialects with a common message. You’ll also find media Spanish is used extensively versus common, everyday Spanish, to reach a wide-range of people with various educational levels in U.S. population.

In the Fresno DMA, 86.4 percent of Hispanics speak Spanish and 13.6 percent speak English only.

Hispanic marketing can be extremely successful if done properly. As with any marketing strategy, the organization or products being marketed must have an infrastructure that can support the Hispanic community. This means employees who speak Spanish, an answering system with Hispanic language prompts, product packaging and brochures. Publicity vehicles might include production of a video news release in Spanish, paid promotion with Spanish radio stations, news releases written in Spanish and distributed via a Hispanic news wire service, or a media tour with a celebrity spokesperson or doctor who speaks Hispanic.

The next time I hear a natural products industry manufacturer say that sales are down and there are no new markets to tap into I just might offer these words of advice, “se habla Espanol?”

If developed properly, marketing to the Hispanic population can generate a hearty revenue base from customers who will show their loyalty by referring family and friends to your health-related products.

As for the top six U.S. cities where Hispanics represent a majority of the population, we give you—Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, McAllen-Brownsville (Texas), Fresno and El Paso.

So get creative and start marketing your products to the Hispanic marketplace.

Sheldon Baker is senior partner of Baker-Dillon Public Relations, a California-based publicity and promotion firm working with natural products industry companies to promote products to English- and Spanish-speaking markets. For information about publicity opportunities contact Mr. Baker at or (800) 570-1262.

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