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Latino Marketing Needs Improvement

Ethnic differences matter enormously in the food business, because tastes change very slowly. My family hasn’t lived in Eastern Europe for five generations and yet even my little guys like to go to the deli where we order various Eastern European favorites. So, without a doubt, if you are looking to sell to people of Mexican descent, you better have bountiful displays of mangos and avocados.

But the use of Spanish has to be navigated. Advertising Age printed an American Demographics analysis of a Census Bureau survey and described the situation this way:

Nearly three-fourths (72%) of Hispanics 5-17 speak English ‘very well’; another 18% speak English ‘well.’ So nine in 10 Hispanic youth are able to communicate well in English.

In contrast, fewer than half (47%) of those ages 18-64 speak English ‘very well,’ and 19% speak English ‘well.’ Among those 65 and older, just 36% speak English ‘very well’ and 19% ‘well.’

Under certain circumstances, the use of Spanish can be a sign of respect to the Latino culture and homeland heritage. Used in the wrong way, it can be a backhanded insult. This is really an area where you need to know what you are doing. Bring in a professional marketing consultant.

You can read the analysis of the issue here. I discussed some of these issues in a column I wrote for DELI BUSINESS, which was a response to a cover story on the same subject.

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