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Latino businesses, ¿Dónde estás?

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

According to the State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report, Latino-owned businesses have become the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. small business ecosystem with a 44% growth in the number of businesses in the last 10 years compared to just 4% for non-Latinos.

And yet, our names remain unknown. Our stories, untold.

For a lot of Latino-owned businesses, marketing is not the #1 priority — and in some cases, not even on the wishlist. There are several challenges and limitations that prevent minority-owned businesses from making the move:

Time: When you’re focused on growing your business, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture that’s your ‘brand.’ It can be overwhelming to think about what your next social post is going to be when you’re brewing hundreds of cups of coffee or powering through to build a parking lot before the crack of dawn. As a minority-owned creative agency, we know the hustle.

Culture: Marketing can seem like a frivolous expense for minority-owned businesses that face more hurdles than others to keep the lights on. Culture also plays a role in shaping this mindset of ‘we don’t need advertising because the work will speak for itself.’ We Latinos are humble to a fault.

Knowledge: Although the pandemic played a significant role in accelerating the adoption of digital media, many Latino businesses still rely on word of mouth and the relationships they’ve built with their community. Moreover, it can be hard to keep up with rapidly evolving platforms — especially if that’s not your area of expertise.

Budget: Then comes the biggest roadblock – budget. Marketing is often perceived as an ‘expense’ vs. an ‘investment.’ A myopic view of marketing can prevent businesses from thinking about the long-term value we can create together for the brand.

If a business can make the journey from ‘what is it going to cost us’ — to what is the long-term value it can create for my brand, it can immensely benefit from marketing.

It’s a well-established fact that consumers today discover local businesses online more than anywhere else. The number of ecommerce users is predicted to grow to nearly 274 million by 2025 and by 2027, Gen Z will be more than a quarter Hispanic. The Hispanic consumer demographic has a combined purchasing power of $1.7 trillion. Now more than ever, presencia in the digital world can be a game-changer for minority-owned businesses that want to raise brand awareness, reach a more targeted audience, engage with customers and create a larger impact in their communities.

Not just any presencia — but one that’s niche, memorable and consistent.

Take the case of Jaime Macias, owner of a bar and restaurant in San Antonio. Jamie’s Place was one of many Latino businesses that were hit by the pandemic. But there was one thing nobody could take away from him – his brand. When Jamie’s social media-savvy daughter shared the bar’s slogan “Unbow your head” on Instagram, it instantly resonated with the local Latin-American community. Soon, his restaurant saw a surge of customers who wanted to experience the food, culture and community that made Jamie’s Place so special!

Jamie’s is only one of many success stories of Latino entrepreneurs who embraced digital media to tell their story, connect with people and grow their business. Whether you're an entrepreneur kickstarting a new venture or a multi generational family business, having a unique identity, voice and social presence can take your brand to the next level.

Here are a few tips to get started:

1. Find an agency partner that can help you prioritize your goals for the brand instead of offering a laundry list of services. These goals could be anything from rebranding your website — to upping your social media game.

2. Start with ‘what can I currently invest’ and see what your investment can get you. Allow your agency to guide you on the best use of your budget and how you can get the most bang for your buck.

3. You don’t have to be on every social platform. Focus your time and budget on the ones that are most strategic for your business, the type of content you want to share and where your customers are. Pro tip: For high quality content and engagement, invest in professional photography and videography that you can use across platforms!

4. Check for multicultural competence. It’s important that your agency shows a nuanced understanding of your target audience and can develop culturally-relevant content. A diverse portfolio is often a good indicator of versatility.

5. A website is the best investment you’ll make for your business. Unlike other platforms where, for instance, a new algorithm can affect your reach, a website is yours to own and use. So if there’s one, and only *one* move you make for your business, then we highly recommend starting here.

For now, we’ll leave you with this thought: Estamos aquí

We are here. We have arrived. And it’s our turn to take the stage.

Headturn Creative is a 100% minority-owned creative agency that aspires to turn the spotlight on Latino-owned businesses and the amazing work they do. We empower businesses to represent themselves authentically and take up space – online and everywhere.


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