Hispanic Marketing and Latino Marketing: Get in the Game

January 20, 2012

Why Does Latino Digital Deserve Its Own Marketing Plan?

By Lynn Currie
January 11, 2012

There’s a tendency in general market advertising to think of minority advertising as a way of ghettoizing an audience. But when it comes to the land of digital consumers, author Giovanni Rodriguez says the Latino segment is more of a high-end neighborhood.

With roughly 10 percent of U.S. buying power, Latino marketing spend, he figures, should be around $36 billion. The number today, though, is only $5 billion.  More and more, marketers are sensing that the gap will be closed and that early experiments in the most promising sector of the Latino marketing world – digital – will pay off big. Recent hires at Google and other digital powerhouses confirm that the game is on.

Rodriguez refers to the newly created U.S. Hispanic Audience division at Google. This year, Google hired Marc Lopez, former chief operations officer at Terra Networks USA, to run the division and help the company catch up to Microsoft who ranks as the number one web property for Hispanics according to Comcast. Google ranks number two and numbers three and four are Yahoo! and Facebook respectively. Lopez concurs with Rodriguez that the Latino digital marketing gap will close, and adds that it will happen soon.

“Of the Hispanic media’s $4 billion in income from advertising, barely 3 percent is going to digital media. In the coming years, there will be accelerated growth,” he said to Spanish news agency EFE. As we enter 2012, those “coming years” are upon us.

Besides having such monstrous purchasing power, Latino digital users also qualify as abona fide vanguard group thanks to their love of social media where they out-index all other ethnic groups. Not to mention their tech-savvy, early adopter status that leads them to buy more smartphones earlier than other groups. Says Rodriguez:

Here’s where it’s clear that Latinos might actually constitute an outlier class. Not only do they warrant special attention. Marketers of all kinds might actually learn from them the way they have with any vanguard, early-adopter group.

As digital continues to evolve into the default medium for all audiences, it will be interesting to see how the definition of general market leans more and more toward what Latinos are doing.

Lynn Currie is one of the 3 founding partners at Mercury Mambo.