6 things I learned moderating the “Closing the Gap” Panel for the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Lima Consulting Group

On the 1st of August, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel called “Closing the Gap”; Marketing to Hispanics.  The conference was focused on business diversity and conducted by the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  Held at The Community College of Philadelphia Center for Business and Industry, we had a solid turnout of over 130 business professionals.

Our Panelists were electric, we had Jose Velez Silva, Vice President, Multi-Cultural Marketing Communications at Comcast, Andres Romero, Marketing Manager at Campbell’s Soup Company and Mauro Panzera, Adjunct Professor of International Marketing, Global Business and International Management at the University of Delaware.


Everyone knows about the $1.5 Trillion dollars in spending power of Latinos, but not everyone is aware of the Gap that exists between access to opportunities and the relative size of the Latino population in the United States are Here’s a few lessons I learned on Tuesday:


Paul Lima moderating the Closing the Gap Conference for Latino Business.


1. Content is King, Culture is Queen

In finance, cash is king.  In marketing, Content is King and Culture is Queen.  content marketing is so critical in creating meaningful customer experiences, understanding culture is a critical input into the editorial calendar, creative brief, content marketing plan and messaging.

Content marketing is critical in creating meaningful customer experiences over the customer journey. When we’re crafting our messaging as marketers, it’s important to do the research and understand the nuances of culture to really find a way to connect with your audience.  These important inputs need to be built into the editorial calendar, creative brief, content marketing plan and messaging.


2. Hispanic Millenials are 25% of Millenials (19 Million)

Comcast calls them Billennials due to their ability to traverse their Latino and us culture almost as if in a quantum state.  Jose even shared a video from Comcast about their efforts.  Comcast won an Effie award for their Hispanic marketing initiatives and improved results to the tune of over 400%.  Jose is doing an awesome job there at Comcast.


3. Hispanics with Household Income above $100K/Year -(7 Million)
One of the most common comments about targeting U.S. Hispanics goes like this: “I understand the significant population growth, but this is a low-income segment, they don’t have the purchasing power my brand is looking for.”
First, the U.S. Hispanic household income has actually been growing over the past decade, fueled mainly by advances in education.  Second, one of the biggest kept secrets of this marketplace is that today there are more than 2.4 million U.S. Hispanic households with an annual income at or above $100K, representing almost 7 million Hispanics.

These Hispanic households have built their income with more household earners (2.8 vs. 2.3 earners when compared to non-Hispanic $100+/year households). Interestingly enough, data shows that a Hispanic household with an income $100K+/year tends to mirror the shopping behaviors of their under $100K/year Hispanic peers (despite having much more income to spend), instead of displaying similar purchasing characteristics to their high-income non-Hispanic peers.

4. We are under-represented in the marketing discipline
Andres and Jose both talked about their personal commitment to find aspiring marketers and bring them into their companies.  And Mauro was passionate as he talked about the new class he is giving at the University of Deleware called “Hispanic Marketing”, the first of its kind to his knowledge in the region.  Hopefully, his students will eventually work for the other panelists!  We created the supply chain right there during the panel!

5. Hispanic Businesses in the region are 18,000 strong up from 5,000 in 2004

A few years ago, our Board at the Chamber commissioned a study about the State of Hispanic Business in our region.  Check it out if you haven’t seen it already.   on the GPHCC website (link is external). When I joined the GPHCC in 2004, the number of Hispanic businesses in the greater Philadelphia area was about 5,000. Now there are over 18,000 Hispanic Businesses locally.


6. Assimilation is pasee, it’s acculuration that marketers should focus on

In the multi-cultural marketing space, the concept of finding those immigrants that have “assimilated” into American culture is as pasee and borders on offensive.  Jose said when he hears that phrase it’s like nails on a chalkboard.  The concept of finding the right balance of language and cultural nuances reflects a healthy recognition that Latino’s switch between culture, even mid-sentence.


I finished with a fun word-association game:

I said a word and the panelists said the first thing that came to mind.

Latinos = The future of business

Hispanic Business = Exploding

Philadelphia = Multi-Cultural and Love

Entrepreneur = Hispanic Work Ethic and Innovation

Latinas = Powerful

Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce = Awesome!


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4 thoughts on “6 things I learned moderating the “Closing the Gap” Panel for the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce”

    1. I think we all had a lot of fun! Thanks for the kind words. The energy in the room was just another moment for me to realize the growing power of Hispanic business in the region! In large part, thanks to your leadership with the Chamber.

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