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A guest blog post by Ederick Lokpez.

For years, we practitioners have been creating marketing strategies to appeal to the Latino segment, to acquire them, retain them, and, of course, upsell. We talked about acculturation, and first, second, and third generations.

We discussed language attainment in how it is best to create in language versus translating. All this was very good and helped us create innovative programs that increased reach within the segment … But times have changed and all is not as simple as it used to be.

The new census numbers are in. Roughly 60% of Latinos are born in the United States, and most are under the age of 30. In many cities around the country, Latinos are already the not-so-new majority. We have also learned that Latinos are leaving the larger cities reaching new horizons, embedding themselves in smaller communities and leaving the urban settings for the suburbs, similar to their non-Latino counterparts.

Many years later and millions of dollars spent on campaigns and research have taught us that Latinos are not as simple to pinpoint and identify as we marketers would like. On the contrary, Latinos live a multidimensional life, where we move seamlessly from one stage to another depending on the environment. Latinos live in a world where they can change their language preference and behaviors based on the stage of life, meaning that at home, la telenovela and el asado could be prevalent---but at school or work, the latest sitcom or hip hop star is the main focus of a conversation.

Moving from one stage to the other seems like an elaborated play, but it is not. Latinos, especially the younger ones (who have been born here and live a Latino life at home and a multicultural life away from home) balance their culture, lifestyle while are achieving their own dreams and aspirations. Aspirations, that are very similar to yours and mine. Don’t we all chase the American dream?

Even though they balance to live in multiple cultures and to the naked eye seem to have dual personality, their core values don’t change, these remain the same, where family values, respect and hard work are a driving factor and language takes a step back as a segment qualifier.

To answer where the Latino market is going: It is evolving, evolving into a complex niche that is difficult to identify and locate, a segment that has aspirations that are driven by personal life stages and not necessarily by their culture. We will continue to use cultural keys, such as family, faith, and food to capture the Latino consumers’ attention but product and service offering will be less emotional and more rational as we do with the general market.

In the years to come, how we reach the Latino segment is going to have a dramatic shift. The so-called general market will probably be renamed; the general market as we know it is now a diverse environment where consumers from diverse backgrounds intertwine and create a whole that is driven by customer life stage rather than customer heritage. What does this mean for us marketers? It means we need to do a greater job at targeting and segmenting our audience and understand that we cannot put all under a same category and that heritage will only grant us the permission to momentarily capture their attention---but not guarantee us a right to solicit.

Culture and heritage without a specific life stage offering will not be a sufficient strategy to help you increase your reach within the Latino segment. What are your thoughts about this? Please share them in the comments. I'd love to hear from you.

Ederick Lokpez is a Latino-marketing strategist who has helped Fortune 500 companies, such as Verizon, UnitedHealth Group, Staples, and Wells Fargo to improve their reach within the Hispanic market. Ederick can be reached at

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