U.S. Latino Culture: Doing Business with the Latino Community- Part 1

By Rob Coven | March 4, 2012

Business people are becoming aware of the potential the U.S. Latino community offers to them. Yet most non-Latino business men and woman do not speak Spanish or know much about Latino culture. Many may be hesitant to engage the Latino community in marketing and business strategies without some knowledge about them.  They also want to be careful to reach out to them in culturally appropriate ways.

U.S. government mapThe 2010 U.S. Latino population is approximately 50 million people, and Latinos are found in every state and urban area in the country. Because of the the potential market the Latino community holds, it is helpful for businesses to understand some of the basic qualities and values Latino culture is known to hold.

First one should be careful not to over generalize or stereotype a particular culture.  Yet in my 27 years of speaking Spanish and living and working with the Latino community, I have learned some common traits which broadly describe aspects of Latino culture here in the U.S.

Here are a few things to know if you are going to do business with the Latino community:

1.  Latinos generally live in households of more individuals and greater numbers of extended family members.  Grandma, cousins, aunts and uncles often live together in Latino households.  I have seen this wherever I have traveled or lived.  This may be due to economic necessity and/or that Latino culture is very close knit and any family member in need is welcomed into the household. Businesses reach more potential consumers per household by engaging the Latino community.

2.  Latino culture by nature is very social.  How does this affect businesses?  Word of mouth is very efficient in the Latino community.  If an individual has had a positive experience with a particular company or product the entire family and friendship network will soon also know about it.  A marketing dollar travels farther.  Also Latinos love technology that keeps them in communication with each other; cell phones, internet, social media websites, iPads, etc.

3.  Latinos often take the slow and sure approach to new engage new businesses, products and services.  Though when they do choose they are very loyal.  So for example the typical Latino family may take longer to choose from whom to purchase their next car. But when they do decide, given that their experience is positive, they often become loyal to that dealership and sales person for life.

4.  Because most U.S. Latinos consider themselves a minority community, (albeit the fastest growing one) they want an indication from the business community that are welcomed and accepted.  Discrimination in its variety of forms is still present for the U.S. Latino, so he/she will look for indications that the welcome mat has been extended.

How can businesses show the Latino community they welcome them and their business?

Here are a few business tips which will go a long way in getting the Latino community’s attention.

-Use Spanish not English in advertising and marketing messages online and off.

-Hire Latino employees, representatives, contractors etc.

-Place retail outlets in or close to Latino communities.

-Advertise in Spanish on billboards in Latino urban areas

-Use Latino culturally relevant images and graphics in marketing executions.

-Use Latino spokespeople to promote the company to the Latino consumer.   Here are two examples:  Macy’s or J.C. Penney

In following blogs, I will talk more about doing business with the Latino community.






Rob Coven is president and founder of Market To Latinos an online, Spanish language based, marketing and consulting company. He has been working and living with the Spanish speaking and Latino community since 1984. He writes blogs and shares important articles and research on the Spanish speaking population in the U.S. and abroad. Call Rob at 706-850-7555 or info@MarketToLatinos.com.

Visit our website: Market To Latinos