Connecting with the Hispanic market means understanding and appreciating cultural differences.
You are probably aware of the huge potential that the Hispanic market offers not only today, but also in the years to come. But do you really know how to sell to and grow the Latino and Hispanic markets? Maybe you’ve tried to target these groups in the past, but your efforts were unsuccessful.
I saw the results of this disconnect firsthand in 2019 when I assumed the responsibility for JAFRA’s United States operations. The general market and the Spanish market at that time were fragmented. Neither market understood each other. They felt unappreciated and unrecognized and there was fighting happening between them.
Two weeks into my role, I invited the main leaders from both markets to my office and asked them: What is the company doing right from your point of view and what needs to change?
The answers were very different, but there was also middle ground when it came to the values of the company. So, I went back to basics and created “One Heart, One JAFRA,” signifying that the values of the company are more important than the values of each group or person. Today, both markets feel appreciated and respected and are experiencing growth.
Through that experience, and in working with other countries throughout Latin America such as Brazil, I have learned that creating a great strategy means understanding how culture, geography and social influence impact human behavior.
It’s true that the Hispanic and Latino markets offer huge potential. But to reach them, you must understand what sets them apart, and then ask yourself if your company is communicating and interacting in a way that respects their cultural differences and strongest drivers.
El Dinero Habla / Money Talks
If inclusivity and developing minorities is not important to you as a concept, then maybe money will catch your attention. In just the United States, according to the 2019 GDP report, there are 60 million Latinos living and working in the United States. If Latinos living in the United States were an independent country, the US Latino GDP would be the seventh largest GDP in the world—larger than Brazil, Italy or South Korea.
But Latinos are not only a huge opportunity now. Forecasts within this segment predict continuous, steady growth in the years to come.
According to the 2020 Latinos GDP report, population growth among U.S. Latinos is currently increasing 7.6 times faster than the population growth for non-Latinos. Considering the 2020 census growth trends, by 2060, Latinos will contribute 30 million people to the working adult population. Conversely, the non-Latino working population will shrink by one million.
Latinos equal growth, and growth equals expansion. But when selling to Latinos, there is one piece of information that is often missing in a company’s strategy: Cultural mindset.
Culture Is King
Culture is who we are; how we see the world; and how we see each other. It is an accumulation of life experience that spans generations. Culture impacts the way you behave, dress, speak and even eat. It affects the way you define beauty, love, friendship and what constitutes business-as-usual. If you don’t understand the culture, it is difficult to develop the right strategy to attract Latinos.
I represent the Latino market, and I can tell you that there are four key elements you must consider when attempting to connect with our culture.
1 / Family is the center of life and has a core relationship with the way we consume. For instance, 40 percent of Hispanic families have kids under 18, so products for kids are really important.
2 / Food is a way to preserve traditions that help us connect with family, to express friendship and to build emotional connection. This is why doing business with Latinos is frequently going to happen during lunchtime. And I can promise you, it’s not going to be a 30-minute meeting—expect two to three hours. This is because first, I need to know you. This lets me see if I can trust you, and then, finally, if I can do business with you.
3 / Optimism gives us faith in a better tomorrow. Latinos believe that with hard work, we can achieve success. We are willing to work harder and spend more time to achieve our goals. This means good business opportunities and entrepreneurship are always welcome.
4 / Friendship is sometimes more important than money. We want to build a bond and create an emotional connection. Because of this, communication must be warm and friendly. Training and corporate emails have to be emotional first and functional second. When I’m speaking to my general market, I speak in a functional way with a clear call to action. When speaking to the Hispanic market, the call to action is motivation. My goal for the message is the same, but my conclusion is completely different. Keep in mind also that context and tone are more important in Spanish than they are in the more direct English language.
So now that you know the four keys to connecting with the Latino market, I can also share four important tips to build a winning strategy to sell to Latinos.
1 / Make sure that Latinos are a part of your overall strategy from product to communications, customer service, training and all coaching points. Give this market the same value you would give to any client. We are important.
2 / Latinos within the U.S. represent a diverse group of cultures. You must define the target group you are trying to reach because there is a difference between generations and levels of acculturation. Each sub-segment consumes differently. “Hispanic” describes anyone who speaks Spanish, including Spain, while “Latinos” includes only people from Latin America, including Brazil.
3 / Understand the culture’s core values. You need data and an expert in the market who can translate these insights into a strategy for your brand. If you really want to open a door to this market, you should invite more Latinos or Hispanics to join your board of directors. You will be a more inclusive company, and they will help you grow your business.
4 / Remember that details matter. Emotion, passion, culture and values are what you need to understand and emphasize when talking to Latinos. Strategy without correct implementation is a waste of time and money.
JUDITH Sánchez is a Senior VP and General Manager at Jafra. She’s an international leader with more than 30 years of experience in the beauty and cosmetics industry, with a focus on launching and driving business growth in a variety of Latin American countries, South America, the USA and Asia.
From the February 2022 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.