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How are businesses reaching the Hispanic consumer?


In a recent New York Times blog post, a question on the minds of many Latinos was discussed: In spite of the figures, the projections, the potential, why aren’t all businesses courting what will soon be the biggest ethnic group in America?

It’s not that there is no interest in doing so. On the contrary, reaching this elusive part of the population is an attractive idea for many a business owner. The road is daunting, in part because there are so many misconceptions regarding how to reach these consumers.

According to the post, Juan Tornoe, chief marketing officer at Cultural Strategies, thinks that marketers assume that advertising must be in Spanish, which could very well seem intimidating. He argues that this doesn’t have to be the case, because the largest growth in the Hispanic segment comes from “the birth of second- and third-generation Hispanic Americans.”

Having been born, and growing up here, would have this group English-dominant, as opposed to foreign-born Latinos. This first group may not even speak Spanish fluently. Trying to reach them in Spanish could be very counter-productive. In the same vein, over simplifying marketing, as Tornoe puts it, could be “ineffective.”

Assuming the entire Latino demographic will only get the message in Spanish can quickly be seen as misguiding at best. At worst, it can be insulting, and will alienate the targeted audience. The solution is to acknowledge both the influence of the Latino and American cultures.

Successful marketers will navigate the synthesis currently taking place. It is a theme as old as immigration itself, but no less relevant to the population that is taking shape within our borders. A happy mix of traditional and modern, of old and new.


By Being Latino Contributor, Monica Sanchez. 

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. Carmelo Loran says:

    Very, Very interesting article. I wish it could have had more examples. I am doing market research for a photography business; of course focusing on the Latino market.

    If you have any information on the Latino market and their behaviors deal with portrait photography, please send me a note.


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