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How Northgate González Market Engages Its Key Mexican American Consumer Base

Successful marketing to Mexican Americans is the be-all and end-all for Anaheim, CA-based retailer Northgate Gonzalez Market. Portada talked to Victor Huerta, Brand Manager, Northgate González Market, to understand how one of the largest Hispanic supermarket chains reaches and engages its target consumers.


Successful marketing to Mexican Americans is the be-all and end-all for Anaheim, CA-based retailer Northgate González Market. Portada talked to Victor Huerta, Brand Manager, Northgate González Market, to understand how one of the largest Hispanic supermarket chains reaches and engages its target consumers.

Victor Huerta, Brand Manager, Northgate González Market

Mexican Americans comprise approximately 70% of the U.S. Hispanic population of more than 60 million; therefore, successful marketing to the Mexican American population in the U.S. is a critical element of a thriving Hispanic marketing practice. Marketing to immigrants and first-generation Mexican Americans is the daily bread and butter for brand marketers at southwestern U.S.-based retailers and supermarkets.  43-year-old Northgate González Market is a prime example of a retail organization that almost exclusively targets Mexican American consumers. Northgate operates 43 stores in Southern California with an annual revenue of approximately US $1.3 billion. (The multicultural grocery market is estimated at US$ 50 billion in annual sales).

The Hispanic population in the Southwest (Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico) consists mostly of Mexicans. Food preferences vary depending on the country of origin. Mexican cuisine focuses more on spices, for example, while Cuban cuisine focuses more on fruits, root vegetables, and citrus marinades, according to Global Strategy Consultancy L.E.K Consulting.

“We provide the best authentic Mexican food shopping experience at the store level. Satisfying our target audiences’ needs and wants gives the brand authority and credibility in the Mexican food experience space,” Victor Huerta, Brand Manager, Northgate González Market, tells Portada.

Northgate González Market’s Huerta adds that his company “has a clear vision of how we want to position our brand and who our target audiences are. We are very selective in our advertising tools and communication platforms to connect with these specific audiences. Our target audiences are constantly evolving, hand in hand with our trade areas and markets. There is always new technology, food trends, and specific shopping behaviors that we need to understand, so we can take advantage of them and leverage our brand. That’s where we put on our marketer hats and combine all these tools to create impactful, relevant, and memorable marketing campaigns that connect with our customers.”

Marketing to Mexican Americans: Media Mix

Northgate González Market uses above-the-line and below-the-line media programs to reach and engage its target audience. Paid media initiatives include Out of Home Media, TV (e.g., Los Meros de la Carne Asada campaign), CTV, and social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok).

The company recently expanded its digital retail marketing by moving its pre-prints, formerly inserted in newspapers, 100% to digital circulars. Northgate González Market introduced the Northgate Mercado Digital Promotion Platform to all its stores in 2021. Mercado is powered by Design House, a dynamic digital circular with an intelligent omnichannel distribution system; Dan Jones, Senior Director, Strategic Pricing and Data Integrity, Northgate González Market, wrote in Progressive Grocer.

For the rest of 2023, Huerta notes that major sports events and key holidays are ahead, “which resonate with our target audiences. We’ll ensure all our advertising efforts and communications tools will connect with our customers so they can go to any of our stores and live the best authentic Mexican food shopping experience. Remember, at Northgate González Market, Every Visit Has a Story.”

Community Oriented Experiential Marketing

Huerta emphasizes that Northgate González Market is a community-oriented brand, “so we are active in experiential marketing. Our focus is to empower members of our communities and serve as a beacon of Mexican cultural pride for these communities. From soccer tournaments, back-to-school giveaways, and Christmas toy giveaways to local church events, we support our communities in multiple ways, 360 days a year. We always make sure that our sponsorships make sense for the brand. We evaluate if the sponsor has similar brand attributes before signing any partnership or sponsorship.” Northgate organizes or sponsors nearly 80 events a year linked to Mexican holidays, Independence Day, Christmas, Reyes, or health-related initiatives like the Breast Cancer Marathon.

Marketing to Mexican Americans: LAFC and San Diego Padres Sponsorship

Asked about the key benefits of Northgate González Markets’ LAFC sponsorship, Huerta answers that “it’s all about connection. This partnership connects our brand with another well-recognized brand that Angelinos love. Soccer is a sport that many of our customers are passionate about. Many customers are passionate about authentic Mexican food, so it’s a win-win for both brands. Increasing our brand awareness is another key benefit that never hurts.” The activation with the LAFC, a reflection of the growing clout of soccer marketing,  includes Mexican food offerings to LAFC fans, creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences. “That’s another key benefit to growing our brand by creating memories in the customers’ minds,” Huerta maintains.

Northgate González Market recently announced a partnership with the San Diego Padres. “The San Diego Padres have a strong and loyal fan base, and many of these fans enjoy authentic Mexican food, so this partnership makes total sense for our brand. We have eight
locations in the San Diego area, so our brand recognition is potentially high, but this partnership is also about connecting and creating memories, very similar to the LAFC partnership. Sports play a very important role as tentpole events for our brand.”

E-Commerce: Brand Extension

Northgate views e-commerce as a way to extend the brand experience. “We currently view and use e-commerce to extend our brand experience through various online techniques to engage shoppers. Ultimately, we believe our stores are an exciting and vibrant shopping experience, and we strive to have customers visit us to see it first-hand. However, if they cannot, we want the e-commerce food experience to deliver in the same fashion,” Huerta maintains.


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