MIAMI: Walmart, the retail giant, has been named Marketer of the Year by the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) at its annual conference.

The AHAA's criteria for the award included a top-down commitment to Hispanic and other multicultural marketing, significant spending, and incorporating Hispanic into a company's overall strategy with measurable accountability.

Walmart spent around $60m in each of the past two years on Hispanic marketing, reported Advertising Age, and in 2012 it demolished the silo that used to co-ordinate marketing to Hispanic, African-American and Asian-American customers.

Late last year, Tony Rogers, SVP, brand marketing and advertising, told an event organised by the Association of National Advertisers, and reported by Warc: "We fully expect that 100% of the growth in retail – and for Walmart – will come from multicultural audiences".

And he stated: "Next year, our spending will increase by at least 100%. We'd be crazy not to."

"Walmart is a good recipient because not only did they say they were going to do it, they did it," declared AHAA chair Roberto Orci.

An earlier conference presentation highlighted the need for marketers to address generational and cultural issues in the Hispanic market.

In particular, the study from AARP, the retired persons' association, suggested that older Hispanics were a neglected segment and one that had certain characteristics, being, for example, more likely to travel abroad.

"Marketers that leverage cultural cues by generational segments can create a competitive advantage compared to those who treat all Hispanics as one monolithic segment," noted Orci.

Separately, Todd Hale, senior vice president, consumer and shopper insights, Nielsen, told an audience at the Food Marketing Institute's Future Connect conference in Orlando that easy marketing changes to reach Hispanic consumers were overdue.

"If you are a retailer, and you don't have a Spanish language option on your website, shame on you," he said.

"There are lots of simple things you can do to connect with shoppers, and I don't think it will be as hard as we might think it is," he added.

For example, new data reported in Admap from Wave, the social media tracking study run by UM, the media agency, shows Hispanics leading the way in terms of uptake of social media in the US, driven by high levels of smartphone ownership.

Data sourced from Advertising Age, Portada, Supermarket News; additional content by Warc staff