Latin American consumers don’t buy expensive imported goods like smartphones and name-brand hand bags just for their practical utility, said Ricardo de la Blanca, CEO of DLB Group, a marketing services firm focused on selling to Latin America.

Perhaps more importantly, they view them as a display of status and success.

“For Latin American people, it’s important to look successful, to look like you’re somebody, through the physical things you own,” he said.

Moreover, culturally, it’s common to behave that way, according to de la Blanca. 

While wanting to display success is a common theme in Latin America, the way to do it is different various countries. Therefore, it’s important to conduct regional-specific market research to discover which products convey status, said de la Blanca.

For example, luxury watches do the job in Mexico.

Once that target product is identified, the next step is marketing to the consumers. In marketing, image and experience is everything.

First, the point of sale is important, said de la Blanca. 

Therefore, it pays to hire local people for that experience and process. (Moreover, Latin American local wages are relative cheap by U.S. standards). For example, if the product is about luxury, the physical setting and staff at the point of sale should convey that.

Internet and mobile marketing are also effective ways to reach wealthy consumers because many of them are tech savvy. However, de le Blanca said selling the product directly online doesn’t work so well yet because customers don’t want to conduct financial transactions online.

Lastly, the public image of the product is crucial. 

If the product is promoting a certain type of lifestyle, it pays to be actually associated with it. For example, if the brand is about enjoying life, be close to entertainment venues. If it’s about sophistication and class, be involved with universities and museums.

More than just display advertising and jargons, companies must prove their image to customers with real life involvement, said de la Blanca.


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