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Barú Advertising’s Elizabeth Barrutia on ‘Brand-Formance’ and the Hispanic E-Commerce Opportunity

Portada interviewed Elizabeth Barrutia, Founder and President of Barú Advertising. Barrutia shares insights and views on brands betting mainly on performance advertising, Hispanic e-commerce marketing, and more.

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Over the last few years, Barú Advertising has become a force to be reckoned with in Hispanic advertising and marketing. The Los Angeles headquartered agency’s client roster includes Covered California, Del Real Foods, and Fannie Mae (see a more comprehensive list at the end of this article). Portada interviewed Elizabeth Barrutia, Founder and President of Barú Advertising. Barrutia shares insights and views on brands betting mainly on performance advertising, Hispanic e-commerce marketing, and more.

Performance Advertising vs. Brand Advertising

Barú Advertising
Elizabeth Barrutia, Founder & President, Barú Advertising.

The growth of performance advertising versus brand-building advertising has been a clear trend over the last three years.  Barrutia states that “marketing strategies are often focused on performance metrics related to conversions, sales, and ROAS rather than activities targeted at the top of the marketing funnel, mainly because of the need for accountability and measurable results.” In Barrutia’s view, “CMOs and Marketing Executives are leading businesses in today’s fast-paced, digitally-driven landscape. They must be agile and responsive to market dynamics to stay ahead of sales and their competition. The other reason brands rely more on performance marketing tactics is that they enable companies to test, iterate, and optimize their campaigns in real-time, giving them a competitive advantage in reaching and engaging their target audience.”

However, experts claim long-term brands are only viable if they feed the upper funnel with brand advertising. Booking.com, one of the pioneers and leaders in performance advertising, has recognized the importance of upper-funnel advertising and is now an active advertiser at the Super Bowl.  Barú Advertising’s Barrutia asserts that “performance marketing is essential for driving response and measuring immediate results; it is also crucial for brands to invest in building awareness, shaping brand perception, and creating long-term customer relationships, especially in highly competitive categories.” She adds that at Barú Advertising”we’ve seen that focusing solely on performance marketing metrics may lead to overlooking the importance of brand building. Top-of-the-funnel activities have a tremendous impact on overall marketing effectiveness.”

“We’ve seen that focusing solely on performance marketing metrics may lead to overlooking the importance of brand building. Top-of-the-funnel activities have a tremendous impact on overall marketing effectiveness.”

Barú Advertising: Brand-Formance

Barrutia maintains that there has been a growing implementation of what she calls “Brand-Formance”—the balance of performance marketing with brand marketing strategies. Brands that adopt a more holistic marketing approach that integrates performance and brand-building activities can drive both short-term results and long-term brand equity.” Among the more holistic marketing strategies Barrutia includes:

  • Customer-centric marketing prioritizing personalized experiences and messaging, storytelling, and engagement across the customer journey.
  • Investing in content marketing, influencer partnerships, social media engagement, and other top-of-the-funnel activities to connect with consumers on a deeper level and build lasting brand loyalty.

Barrutia thinks that the most successful marketing strategies ultimately balance performance-driven tactics and brand-building initiatives; “By combining efforts to drive immediate results with activities focusing on building brand awareness, consumer trust, and affinity, brands can create a strong foundation for sustainable growth and long-term success.”

“By combining efforts to drive immediate results with activities focusing on building brand awareness, consumer trust, and affinity, brands can create a strong foundation for sustainable growth and long-term success.”

Barú Advertising’s Take on E-Commerce

Another question for a Hispanic marketing expert like Elizabeth Barrutia concerns the opportunities in retail media/e-commerce.  According to a recent IAB report, retail media revenues showed 16.3% YoY growth in advertising revenues, reaching US $43.7 billion in 2023. Key e-commerce players are all expanding their retail media platforms to enable future growth, yet when it comes to attending specifically the U.S. Hispanic market, there has not been too much to report about. What do the Hispanic marketing experts at Barú Advertising have to say about this?
“Despite our large U.S. Hispanic population, relatively few e-commerce sites cater specifically to this segment, like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Etsy,” Barrutia notes. “This underrepresentation means less competition and more opportunities for newly entering brands to capture sales volume,” she adds. ” Of course, when it comes to winning in the e-commerce space, brands also need to think about a holistic approach including localization, cultural appropriateness, SEO and SEM for improved visibility, and the right partnerships to build credibility and reach, whether that is through media, influencers or community,” Barrutia emphasizes.

“Despite our large U.S. Hispanic population, relatively few e-commerce sites cater specifically to this segment.”

According to Barrutia, “there is potential among Spanish language e-commerce sites for brands targeting the Hispanic consumer. In the US, where our Hispanic digital shoppers tend to search and purchase more on English-language sites, there is an opportunity to lean into today’s trendsetters and the nostalgia of home, leveraging the notion of biculturalism. Having the ability to navigate both English and Spanish media and commerce environments, brands that offer bilingual support or even dedicated platforms may effectively reach a wider audience. Hispanics have high digital engagement rates, including social media and online shopping. This makes them a prime segment for digital marketing and e-commerce initiatives.”

Some e-commerce and retail media players understand the Hispanic opportunity well: “It’s no surprise that enterprises such as Walmart not only have an English and Spanish language version of their online website, Walmart en Español. But Walmart also has a Mexican retail chain, Bodega Aurrera, and its e-commerce site, which is available in Spanish, targets the local market with a wide range of products. This is an excellent example of Walmart genuinely understanding the nuances and needs of the Hispanic market. Hispanic consumers are known for their brand loyalty. Having the right product offering, e-commerce sites should cater to Hispanics’ specific needs and preferences to see growth, ” Barú Advertising’s Barrutia concludes.

BARÚ ADVERTISING “ALWAYS-ON’ ACTIVE CLIENTS INCLUDE:
Covered California (Health Insurance)
First 5 Los Angeles (Non-for-profit-organization, Parental help)
Del Real Foods (Hispanic-targeted refrigerated Foods Company)
Golden States Rebates (Energy)
Fannie Mae (Mortgages)
Chicanos Por La Causa (Non-for-profit-organization, Advocacy for underserved communities, and individuals)
PBS KIDS (Children Programming Aired by the Public Broadcasting Service)
Magnolia Foods / El Comal (Manufacturer of corn & flour tortillas)

 

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