Wanna speak Hispanic?




There are many reasons why I started this blog, not the least of which is a burning desire to shatter many myths and false assumptions people make about the Hispanic market, especially when trying to communicate to them.

The first rule of marketing is, of course, to know your market. But how can we even try to get into Hispanics minds (or wallets, for that matter) if we don’t speak to them in the right manner?

I’m not even talking about demographic figures or language here. Yes, demographics are important, as is speaking to them in Spanish, but it is not enough to know the numbers, their salaries, the neighborhood they live in or how to say “buy this” in Spanish. You have got to “speak HISPANIC.

I’m talking about COMMUNICATION. I’m talking about understanding their personal feelings, beliefs and cultural values. Which brings us to CONNECTING.

How do you connect? How do you get to speak to Hispanics in a way that resonates? By following a very simple formula:


It’s about respect for who they are. It’s about getting to know them, sharing genuine experiences. It’s about two-way communication, and it’s the only way to build a true connection.

In this blog, I will share with you some Hispanic psychographics, beliefs, superstitions and just plain cultural tidbits that will take you right to the Hispanic heart. Follow me as I show you how to “speak Hispanic”, one random factoid at a time…

© 2009 Elianne Ramos. All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “Wanna speak Hispanic?

  1. Do you find the Latino/Hispanic market more keen on face-to-face business and less internet oriented? I live and work in Spain but I’m native English and could spend hours analysing the subtle and overt cultural differences here – but especially I see businesses very tentative about web sites, about online product marketing and about establishing their presence on the web.

    Like the blog, btw!

  2. Hello, Penny
    Thanks for visiting. This is a great question, and I’ll try to give you a short but fulfilling answer. I think we marketers are still trying to figure out a lot about Latino internet habits and the reasons for growth to be so slow in comparison to other demographic groups. I have found that Latino internet habits are more of a generational issue than anything. In the United States, the issue is further compounded by acculturation, educational and socioeconomic levels. Usage among 2nd and 3rd generation Latinos/Hispanics is a lot higher than that of 1st generation Latinos, for example, which may be a combination of a different mix of all the factors I listed before but also might just be that the younger generation has grown up in the US and is therefore a bit more detached from the culture and the traditional “Latino” way of thinking. To a culture that values the human touch, sharing, moments spent with family, closeness, the internet can seem a bit “too cold” and impersonal for many.

    In traveling to Latin America and Spain, mainly for business, I have started to see a slow but sure shift to online business, with big businesses plunging in first (as is expected) and smaller businesses being a bit more apprehensive about the whole thing. So you will find big chain stores have an online presence, and usage is growing faster in countries with higher populations, like Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. In fact, e-marketer.com just published a report on it this week, you might want to check it out (warning: it’s a bit expensive!):

    With consumers in Latin America, it’s very similar. Age is also a factor (younger people are more active on it), but the main culprit for consumers might be just plain trust. Whereas here in the US most people wouldn’t think twice about shopping online, there is still some sort of distrust in online transactions, even in the younger segments. Another factor you have to consider is the socioeconomic, not everyone can afford a computer in Latin America. Businesses are well aware of that, so depending on their target market, they may think twice about investing on the internet when there are so many other venues that may prove to be more effective, or at least have been tried and true.

    So really, and I’m sorry I’ve made this so long, the answer is this: Yes, Hispanics/Latinos are more about the face-to-face, touchy-feely if you will, both businesses and consumers have a trust issue to get over. Thankfully, the whole thing seems to be shifting with time, but as you may know by now, living in Spain, our sense of time is just slightly different…

  3. Hi Elianne,
    Followed this here from LinkedIn. I recently wrote a magazine article for Latino Leaders magazine on Gisela Girard, a Latina who runs a marketing agency. You may be interested in their philosophy: it’s called Creative Civilization & they are out of … Texas. Can’t recall the city.

    Post Note: My family/social circle tends to favor ‘Latino,’ I believe. We’re in Michigan. They’ve taught me (the resident guera) that it’s because it was a term made up by whites, kind of like “bestowing” a name on Latinos without their input.

    Great blog!

  4. Thanks, Allena! Glad to see somebody is actually reading this!
    I have to agree with your parents, “Hispanic” is one of those terms people come up with when they don’t know what to label you (I guess it’s the only way they can try to grasp the idea of someone who’s got a different background. When they put a label on you, you are no longer a threat in their heads ;).
    I will look up the agency you mentioned, thanks for the tip!

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