Over 2 million reasons to reach out to the Latino market

by Jerry Campagna
August 16, 2011


With the 2010 Census reporting 2,027,758 Latinos residing in Illinois (with over 1 million in the suburbs) and representing 72 percent of the population growth during the past decade, it’s time to spice up your business plan accordingly.

And like all other successful target marketing strategies, effectively engaging Latinos requires an integrated, culturally relevant three-step approach.

  • People: Trust is the most critical element toward gaining market share in the Latino community, and trust is established through the people who represent your brand. It is essential to recruit, retain and train a designated “street team” of motivated Latinos to carry your message into the marketplace, Latino style.
  • Product: It’s critical to know your audience’s cultural preferences and how they use your product or service. You start with a quality offering and adapt the packaging accordingly.
  • Promotion: The most effective component for building trust and market share in the Latino community will be event marketing. You need to be actively and authentically engaged at fiestas and community celebrations.

In the 14-plus years of developing effective Latino marketing strategies for clients, we’ve also come upon a series of best practices that have proved successful in a host of industries:

  • Start at the top: Effective Latino engagement initiatives always involve a different set of strategies than general market. Without the committed buy-in of senior management, including their willingness to champion the cause, your strategy will become bogged down in internal company policies, procedures and politics. Simply put, give your street team a portion of the dance floor and let them do what they do best!
  • Acculturation: The term “Latino” is an encompassing demographic, one that has distinctive subcategories. Does your product or service best align with un-acculturated Latinos (those who are Spanish dominant and whose purchasing preferences will be in line with Latin American consumers), or acculturated Latinos (those who are bilingual or English dominant and whose purchasing preferences are more in line with U.S. based consumers)? In both cases and either language, Latinos will be influenced by their cultural backgrounds.
  • Pilot program: It’s very difficult to change an entire corporate culture, so start with a measurable pilot program and build a case study that can be replicated after you have proved the strategy successful. Everybody wants to be part of the winning team — after they win! Only a few are willing to risk true innovation. Start with a dedicated team of professionals and a detailed action plan, and the rest will follow.

Those organizations that are successful in gaining sustainable market share in the Latino community are always implementing these strategies. They may call it by different names, but their bottom line always result in the same type of applause in the board room!



Jerry Campagna is president of MST Latino Inc., a certified DBE specializing in marketing consulting services. You can reach him at (224) 629-7100 or email jcampagnaatmstlatinodotcom.