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By Joe Naiman

Advice on marketing to Hispanics given at NGA show


Last updated 4/4/2019 at 3:14pm

The National Grocers Association conference at the San Diego Convention Center included a presentation on marketing to Latino shoppers.

Lilly Rocha is the president of the Latino Food Industry Association. Her talk “Attracting Today’s Latino Customer: Tips and Trends” noted that marketing and merchandising to Hispanic potential customers should not be a “one size fits all” approach.

“Latinos are very diverse,” Rocha said. “You can't just use a single approach.”

Hispanics include first-generation immigrants and descendants of immigrants. Not all Latinos are of Mexican descent; Mexico is one of 18 Spanish-speaking nations in the Western Hemisphere and that doesn’t include Puerto Rico, which is an autonomous commonwealth but also a United States territory. Rocha’s parents came to the United States from Colombia in the 1960s.

The numerous nations or territories from which Latinos or their ancestors were raised as well as the different number of generations of Latino families who have been in the United States mean that those who speak Spanish do so in different dialects and with different slang terms. It makes the translation of advertisements and other marketing tools complex.

“The English copy was just literally being translated,” Rocha said. ”It wasn’t making sense to a lot of people.”

Because of social media’s international connection ability, Latinos are more likely to use social media than their non-Hispanic counterparts.

”It is still a big platform of Latinos,” Rocha said.

Rocha said that 77 percent of Latinos were on Facebook compared to 73 percent of non-Latinos. Instagram is used by 40 percent of Hispanics and 30 percent of others while 32 percent of Hispanics and 26 percent of everyone else uses Snapchat.

“Hispanics are watching videos way more than non-Hispanics,” Rocha said. “We are using video as our No. 1 engagement tool. When Hispanics watch a video, they will share that video.”

The average age of Hispanics in the United States is the early 30s.

”We’re seeing a big trend toward marketing toward Hispanics,” Rocha said.

Even Latinos of Mexican descent don’t eat exclusively Mexican food.

”We love our chips and salsa, of course, but we’re more than just chips and salsa,” Rocha said. ”Panda Express, I would say that we keep them in business.”

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at


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