On the biography section of our Twitter, the information tab on Facebook and on the left sidebar of our website, we always write about how we’re multicultural and bilingual, and passionate, among other things. So why is that so important? Recent studies in academia and stories in trade publications are emphasizing how the United States can no longer ignore the “minority” ethnic segments in the population.
On the biography section of our Twitter, the information tab on Facebook and on the left sidebar of our website, we alwayswrite about how we’re multicultural and bilingual, and passionate, among other things. So why is that so important? Recent studies in academia and stories in trade publications are emphasizing how the United States can no longer ignore the “minority” ethnic segments in the population.
And although multicultural does mean more than just one culture, this article will focus on Hispanics because they are the largest minority in the United States. So in case you’ve missed the memo, let me recap the high points:
- The United States is now the THIRD largest Spanish speaking country in the world.
- The Hispanic population is young. According to the Hispanic Pew Research Center, Hispanics in the United States are typically about 27 years of age, a whole 9 years younger than the average American population (36 years).
- National Hispanic purchasing power has been estimated as low at $630 billion and as high as $1 trillion. Hispanic households typically have more than 1 income.
- In 2010, about TWO/THIRDS of Hispanics went online.
- Hispanics (40%) are more likely than whites (34%) to access the Internet on their mobile devices? 85% of Hispanics in the 18-29 age range are online. In fact, 90% of Hispanics in the same age range access the Internet on their mobile devices.
Marketing to Hispanics Can Increase Your Bottom Line
Yes– in case you missed it, reaching the Hispanic population correctly can bring in significant revenue. That word correctly in the previous sentence however is very important. All too often advertisers have really missed the mark trying to reach this lucrative market via Hispanic advertising efforts.
The Importance of a Multicultural Marketing Strategy
This was the case in 2005, when Mexican pop star Thalia became the spokesperson for Hershey’s cajeta. The advertisements ran on Spanish radio and television stations across America without regard to proper definitions or segmentation. The word cajeta is solely a Mexican Spanish term. For Argentineans, cajeta has very explicit sexual meaning, and in Ecuador very few have heard the term. In its defense, Hershey claimed, “We used the term because 67% of all Hispanics are Mexicans and that’s who we’re targeting.”
However, if a parallel were drawn, any advertising agency targeting all white Americans would wisely never select a word that could possibly offend any segment of the population.
As Philip Patterson and Lee Wilkins explain in their book, Media Ethics, “Advertising needs to take seriously the role of culture in our lives. That means that advertising must authentically reflect the diverse voices that comprise our culture.” We need to understand that as advertisers, we play a serious role in society. According to Khairullah, advertising is a form of social communication that reflects society. Advertising relies on culture, because it is constructed by culture (Bennett 2006) and in the United States, we are multicultural.
More to come on this topic, but for now, if you’re in business to make money (Who does that leave out?!) or an entrepreneur, you should know that as the Hispanic population grows in the United States, reaching this market will be key to your success.
If you’re an advertiser or marketer, do your research and find out what the best way is to reach this market. Get educated on the Hispanic market and be prepared to hand this market to your clients.
Bennett, A. (2006). Design Studies: Theory and Research in Graphic Design: Princeton Architectural Press.
Khairullah, D. (1995). Acculturation and Its Relation to Asian-Indian Immigrants’ Perceptions of Advertisements. Journal of Applied Business Research, 11(2), 55- 64.
Livingston, G. (2010). Latinos and Digital Technology. Pew Hispanic. http://www.pewhispanic.org/2011/02/09/ii-internet-use/
Patterson, P., & Wilkins, L. (2008). Media Ethics: Issues and Cases. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Wentz, L. (2005). Hershey’s Product Name Sparks Hispanic Controversy. Advertising Age. Retrieved from http://adage.com/hispanic/article?article_id=45174
Is a Multicultural Marketing Strategy Really That Important? by Ashley Garcia, Partner at Bridges Advertising
Reply to this post or contact Ashley Quintana on Twitter.
About the Author
Ashley Quintana is the co-founder and managing partner at Bridges Strategies. A graduate of Oklahoma State University’s media management master’s program, Ashley co-founded Bridges Strategies with a $10,000 investment. Two years later, the bootstrapped company grossed almost one million dollars and grew to a team of eight. In her role, she develops, leads and executes digital marketing strategies for the company’s growing client base.