An afternoon Graphics of the Americas session sponsored by HP examined “Marketing to the Latin Market.” Presented by John Bord, President and CMO of Guevavi in Tubac, Arizona, the session ran through the changing (read: increasing) demographics of the Latin market. The U.S. Hispanic economy alone is estimated to be the ninth largest in the world, and will have a purchasing power that will reach $1 trillion by 2010. The Latin market is growing two-and-a-half times that of the general market. The number of Hispanic-owned U.S. businesses is also growing rapidly.

One common pitfall of many marketing efforts assumes that the "Latino market" is one single, undifferentiated group of people. In fact, individuals in the Hispanic market can come from one of 20 different countries and speak Spanish, English, Portuguese, or be bilingual. When marketing to the Latin market, the goal is cultural relevance. Bord stresses that the use of clean, effective databases, combined with customization and personalization, can help marketers align them and their brands with “Latin individuality and self-expression.” He also emphasized that Latin marketing should involve more than simply translating something designed for the general market into Spanish, that it’s necessary to design a campaign that is congruent with the beliefs, values, and attitudes of the intended target. It was quite an eye-opening session, as Bord showed good and bad examples of direct mail pieces aimed at Hispanic audiences, and pointed out the often subtle but vitally important nuances that can make or break a successful promotion.

Anyone seeking to market to this growing and increasingly important demographic needs to pay attention to these myriad issues.