Lance Rios of Being Latino, DigiBunch and Hispanicize Shares the Secrets of Marketing to Latinos
"Monolithic community" is not a phrase that describes the wide-spanning and vibrant Latino community. Latinos hail from many different countries and regions, representing different age groups, religions and understandings. Lance Rios, the president and founder of DigiBunch, company partner at Hispanicize and president and founder of Being Latino, recognizes that there isn't one product that appeals to all Latinos, all of the time.
Rios, whose past work includes ad sales and extensive work in Hispanic marketing, spoke with Latin Post about marketing to the Latino American community and the importance of understanding Latinos before advertising to them.
After launching Being Latino just five years ago as a Facebook fan page, the enterprise has grown significantly,, capturing great content, connections and a strong following as it powered forward to become the largest social network for Hispanics. The thriving network offers relevant information to the Latino community, providing "the best content possible, because, at the end of the day, the best content wins the game," Rios said.
"We make sure that we're extremely conscious about the fact that different Latinos have different interests, depending on your country of origin and where you were raised in the United States, your age. Content should consistently target those niche groups so that, collectively, we do reach a wide range of people, connecting them across one commonality: being Latino," said Rios, who was born to Puerto Rican American parents. "From the marketing perspective, we have the ability to not only create messaging that can appeal to the wide array of communities, but we also have the ability, among some of our Facebook platforms, to do niche-targeting only."
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Rios keenly aware of the many Puerto Ricans who live in areas like the Midwest, not just Miami, Los Angeles and New York City. The belief that Latinos only live in metropolitan areas sharpened his awareness of his own unique Latino experience, particularly after he moved to New York after graduating from Bowling Green State University with a focus in sports management and marketing. Though he saw a stark difference between himself and Latinos raised in more urban areas, he recognized commonalities amidst the differences.
"I come from a place where many don't realize that Latinos even exist. In terms of marketers and digital space, it's very much like my experience. Many marketers don't realize that most Latinos in digital spaces are English-dominant," Rios said. "Marketing to Latinos only in Spanish and thinking that the Spanish language is the only means of marketing to them is no longer valid, especially in a digital space. You have to market it in a way that is culturally relevant, that makes sense to them."
Being Latino and its partner organizations are social media focused, dealing with marketers strictly from a social media and digital perspective. The company has worked with brands like Red Lobster, promoting family togetherness and family-oriented mealtimes. They've also worked with Heineken for a soccer-based initiative, placing that brand name in front of consumers in an organic way.
"[Latinos] are the only group where marketers have to focus on being culturally relevant all the time, all the way through, and must actively work to capture our attention," Rios said. "As the Latino community continues to grow, we see that millennials have a very different experience than their parents. People who follow [Being Latino] on social media expect us to be on top of our game. We plan to be that force to be reckoned with across social media and entertainment news."
Rios and his numerous partners have created an industry of promoting the Latino community and Latino-friendly products, while always challenging marketers to approach the Latino community in an informed and conscious way.
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