Marketing to Hispanics Part Two- The Controversy: If They Don’t Speak English, Forget Them?

400 Million people speak Spanish worldwide. 45 million of those Hispanic consumers live in the USA; they are the largest so-called minority group in the USA. Their economic power is impressive; to some, their English-speaking skills are not. So – should we simply not market wine to these Hispanic consumers? Consider that in the next decade, the U.S. Hispanic market will be a $1.5 trillion market.

A while back, when I posted the first note in the MARKETING TO HISPANICS series, a comment came in from a reader. Here it is:

“I do not see why anyone is surprised that non-English speaking Latinos are not being marketed towards. Both posts come from Latinos who are wine lovers and speak English, as do most of the Latino middle class. They are who retailers and wine marketers are interested in, not the non-English speakers because of simple socioeconomic reasons. Those who do not speak English are, and forgive the blanket statement, for the most part poorly educated, and of lower income bracket. They as a group are not wine drinkers. Why would a retailer invest money in a mirror site that will return little or negative gain?”

Sofia Echeverria K of Sell It In Spanish, our original Guest Blogger on this topic, responds:
“Since when does the term “well educated” necessarily mean that someone is bilingual? The current president of the United States is not bilingual and that definitely does not make him “poorly educated”. That’s a very Anglo-centric way of looking at the world, and it’s just plain shortsighted in today’s consumer environment.

A significant number of bilingual Hispanics (like myself) prefer to purchase goods from retailers that take the extra step and try to reach the Hispanic market in the Spanish language as well as English. There are many reasons that this sort of linguistic courtesy resonates with us. And, a company that markets in Spanish as well as in English puts out the "wow" effect even to Anglos. You think: they must be doing well to invest efforts into this bilingual marketing, their product must sell internationally very well, etc...

But if the content of a site is not culturally relevant to Hispanics, language alone will not drive consumers to it. Likewise, it is equally shortsighted to think that bilingual Hispanics can be reached with general marketing efforts based on the fact that they speak English.

I also believe, that is not accurate to say that "non-English speaking Latinos are not being marketed towards." The majority of businesses want to sell to whoever is willing to buy what they are selling. Hispanics are potential customers of everything. We shop, travel, go to school, have kids, work, die, etc just as everybody else does. We are being marketed to, but not in the most efficient way.

It is not a matter only of linguistic courtesy (if you are fully bilingual) , it’s a matter of market value. Instead of trying to cram what is culturally relevant to Anglos and bilingual Hispanics onto one website, why not highlight what is culturally relevant to Hispanics in a Spanish site or with Spanish content? After all, the beauty of being bilingual might not be in speaking English, but in speaking Spanish.

Ironically, Spanish content (such as marketing wine in Spanish) could be perceived as a luxury in your marketing budget. But since Spanish is the second most popular language after English in the US, the day is not far off that having Spanish content on your site will be a requirement in order to have a place among the best brands. "

Even today, if you manage a brand in the wine industry and are looking for growth, remember that it’s as close at hand as your largest so-called minority group. Don’t be afraid to market to them.
You can contact Sofia directly at sofia.keck (at) or leave a comment here


  1. I agree with you 100%...Hispanics are a prime gold mine of a customer segment to target. Like you said, a lot of people think that many Hispanics have a lower income bracket..which is not always the case, but for those that are in that situation, and as we all know there are other Americans living with a lower your lower priced, yet high quality products to THEM..use cultural reference or the Spanish language or whatver it takes to show them that you care about their business and you appreciate their culturual diversity so you can start attracting a new base of loyal customers

  2. We market our Tanner Vineyard wines through our Murphys, California tasting room, rapidly growing wine club, local restaurants and local markets. We stuck our little toe in the Hispanic wine enthusiasts market waters recently at ARTasting 2010 in the Mission district in SF! I can tell you, when someone tastes your wine and you can see in their eyes they really enjoy the fruit of your labor, it doesn't matter what talk they speak, they are fluent in the language of loving wine!
    We are excited to have the opportunity develop a loyal base of Hispanic wine lovers!