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Hiring Hispanic “Switch Hitters” is Key to Business Growth in the Hispanic Market

Why should your company be concerned with the Hispanic market? The short answer is because 15 percent of the total U.S. population is currently of Hispanic descent. By the year 2050, one in four people living in the United States will be a Latino.

Other ethnic/racial groups are also rapidly expanding. All in all, the intertwining of these growing minority groups with the traditionally defined mainstream is defining a new “general market” that is quite different from the one your parents (or even you, depending on your generation) experienced not so long ago.

Your business has to be in tune with this new reality to survive and thrive in the future. The Hispanic market is a vital part of that future because it is the largest and fastest growing minority in America. Period.

These days there’s a lot of talk about marketing to Latinos, and everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon or is at least curious about doing so. A word of advice: any money put into Hispanic advertising and marketing without being fully prepared to serve these consumers will most certainly be a waste. Let me share with you one recent anecdote that illustrates my point.

I was visiting a potential retail client with several locations in two key Latino markets in the Midwest. They had been following the highly publicized demographic changes in their neck of the woods, but the tipping point for them was the news that an under-performing radio station had changed to a Spanish-language format and doubled its ratings in the blink of an eye. This prompted them to explore marketing to the growing Hispanic community.

When I entered their first store, I was sure that all the staff members had to be related. Everyone (and I mean everyone) was tall, blonde, light skinned and blue-eyed. Let’s ignore the fact that there were no bilingual sales materials whatsoever and the only Spanish phrase one single employee could fluently pronounce was, “Dos cervezas por favor” — the only hint of multiculturalism in the entire place was an image of a smiling Asian couple adorning one of the walls. When I inquired about it, they said it was a stock image they had bought a while back. It was a similar story at the other company locations.

After a long conversation with the company’s CEO, I recommended that prior to making any effort to advertise to the Hispanic community, the first step he should take was to diversify his staff. By incorporating different racial/ethnic/cultural backgrounds, his company would better reflect the consumers they were trying to attract.

You see, the employee-customer relationship is crucial. It largely determines the customer’s level of satisfaction, whether they make a purchase or not, and if they will return and recommend your company to others. This is especially true of Hispanic consumers, who are highly relationship-oriented and loyal to companies that understand their needs. Latino consumers are also more likely to be influenced by the opinions of friends and family when it comes to purchasing decisions.

The best way to attract and retain Hispanic consumers is by recruiting workers who not only have the aptitude for a given position but can also relate to Latino customers through a common cultural background and language. You should be looking for employees who understand the Hispanic frame of mind, belief system, idiosyncrasies, prejudices, etiquette, and culture.

What you need are “cultural switch hitters”, people who can go back and forth in the blink of an eye from being very Hispanic to being very “Anglo” in their interaction with your company’s clients.

Remember, 15 percent of the entire population in the United States today is made up of Hispanics. This is a significant market segment. Ask yourself: Do you have employees in your ranks who can connect with Hispanics? Do you have someone at the management level who is at ease with your Latino frontline employees?

Your business must adapt to the changes that not only have taken place but also are currently and will be taking place in the United States. By embracing this new market reality you will guarantee your company’s continual growth. Your clients will appreciate it, and your bottom line will most certainly benefit.

Juan Tornoe


4 comments

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  • My Hispanic colleague takes every chance she can to remind me that I’m white and don’t get it. I tell her of my trip to the Civil Rights museum and how I’ve studied the Fair Housing Laws and understand how our government has screwed minorities economically via segregation laws, etc. Her response is: “Just economically? Now you know why we’re so pissed.” Well, I guess that I’m supposed to know what that means but, regardless, it is very condescending. I will never get it, in her eyes, and she has said to my face, that I’m not brown enough and will never understand. I’m not the enemy but she makes every effort to treat me like one.

  • So getting back to the article, let me get this straight; the guy can’t understand why he can’t go around kissing all his female employees?? GTFOH. In America we have laws that protect employees from unwanted behavior and sexual harrassment. Besides in my experience Latino men particularly in CA use the work place as a dating pool and targeting and coming on VERY strong to their female co workers. Thank God the laws here are not like where this writer is from.

  • Well, what I see here is an article about how I should adjust to another Culture in my own country with it’s own culture. The one mistake company’s make is telling me to be respectful of another Culture that does not respect me or my culture. I work along side 200+ Latinos every day. I have been sexually harassed on a daily basis by Latino men, called a gringa by Latino men and women. Asked why I only have one child, I should be home cleaning. Americans are lazy ect…. All by people who can not shut a door,clean after themself or even put there tolit paper in the tolit and flush it. People who have been in this country for 10 years+ who have made no progress in learning the language to help improve there lives. All classes provided by employer and always have an excuse to avoid building themselfs. If you are American they will not teach you and if they do they teach you wrong, so maybe you will get fired. If you are one of the Latinos who wants to better yourself your called a sell out by your own race and they say that wanting to better yourself because you are becoming Americanized. This article is a bunch of hog wash. I know been living it for almost 4 years are some of my Latino coworkers good people yes but even they talk about how there own race is not very intelligent and only want to do things there own way. I don’t think company’s should expect you to adjust to other Cultures but to creat there own company culture that all workers should follow by.

  • So much hate in this thread. No matter which way the accusations are pointed; there is no way you can generalize an entire people with stereotypes. Whether its a nation or culture , or color you are pointing finger at; its complete and total foolishness to put them all into the same basket and say they are “this way ” or “that way”. You can claim whatever experience or knowledge you want to back it up ; but its still complete foolishness and ignorance to do so.