You have been hired as a consultant for a chain of grocery stores. Your assignment is to help this store in its Hispanic community locations. Using the marketing mix and the promotional mix, how would you develop these stores to meet the target customer's needs?
The term “Hispanic” encompasses a broad category of people who trace their heritage to the Spanish-speaking countries of Central and South America, Puerto Rico, and Spain. Within this category of individual there exists numerous diverse cultures, with language being the common denominator, with the notable exception of Brazil, for which Portuguese is the primary language. A chain of grocery stores operating in Hispanic communities would want to be conversant with the specific demographics of each of those communities in order to design the optimal marketing strategy. Grocery store chains are fairly generic in terms of the types of goods offered, but a marketing strategy oriented toward stores with a large Hispanic clientele would obviously want to emphasize those goods that are in a particularly high demand by that clientele. For example, most grocery stores have ethnic-specific sections. Those sections already target Hispanic customers, as well as non-Hispanics who enjoy occasionally preparing Latin-oriented meals. Similarly, grocery stores routinely have Asian food sections to cater to their Asian, especially Chinese, clientele as well as to non-Asians who enjoy Asian cuisine. In stores located in neighborhoods with large concentrations of Hispanics, the Latin-oriented section would be expanded to provide both a greater variety of Latin-specific goods and a larger inventory of those goods.
Marketing to the customer base for grocery stores located in Hispanic neighborhoods would need to ensure a high-level of bilingualism among store staffs while targeting those neighborhoods with Spanish-language promotional material and coupons. Once again, depending upon the precise ethnic composition of a particular neighborhood, marketing and promotional material should be sensitive to important dates and developments in the countries of origins of its clientele while remaining respectful of American cultural sensitivities – a sometimes difficult balancing act. That would mean, again, conducting research into the demographics of specific neighborhoods to determine whether the Hispanic families originated in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, and so on. Each ethnicity considers itself culturally unique, and being sensitive to that would be a requirement of any marketing strategy targeting those customers.
Designing promotional materials would logically follow the above emphasis on demographics and cultural sensitivities by emphasizing goods specific to those characteristics. Because the store’s emphasis on marketing to a Hispanic clientele would involve expanding the variety and quantity of items sought by that clientele, promotional campaigns that highlight that emphasis would be warranted.
Grocery store chains are, by definition, somewhat generic in design and function. Targeting a specific demographic, however, is a routine matter, and ensuring that stores located in ethnically-diverse neighborhoods, or in one’s overwhelmingly composed of Hispanic families, are modified to account for that particular customer base is an essential part of doing business.