In our last blog on Hispanic marketing, we analyzed common (and embarrassing) ways companies alienate the Hispanic market when they’re actually trying to win their business.
They all reflected a common theme: understanding what conveys respect to the audience. Didn’t Aretha Franklin say it the best? R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Find out what it means to me. Meaningfully engaging anybody requires knowing what constitutes respect to that person. Marketers need more than a superficial understanding of the Hispanic market to know exactly who they’re talking to. Because successful messaging is never talking to strangers.
Messages must speak the right language – meaning more than just Spanish. Successful marketing to Hispanics requires fluency in the culture, traditions, humor and dreams. Here are some common one-size-fits-all assumptions to avoid:
- Forgetting that many Hispanics live in two cultural worlds – both the United States and their ancestral (not necessarily home) country. More than a quarter of Hispanics ages 5 or older speak only English at home. And more than half of Hispanics ages 5 and older who speak a language other than English at home report speaking English very well. So while any translated ads may be appreciated, many Hispanics will fall into more than one marketing niche and should be considered in English-language messaging, too.
- Underestimating Hispanics’ education. The rate of Hispanic students graduating high school and heading to college has been on the rise since 2000. So remember this when designing messaging. People instinctively recognize and appreciate when they are respected.
- One-size-fits-all assumptions. Spanish is the official language in 20 countries plus Puerto Rico, so be careful to not assume that all Hispanic people identify with Mexico. Addressing someone confidently yet incorrectly is a bit like a stranger willfully calling you by the wrong name because they refuse to learn your real name. How much would you like that person?
What do all of these have in common? They’re commonly committed by people who don’t understand or engage the audience.
It takes thought, care and time to win Hispanic customers who will keep coming back. When Hispanic marketing is done well, it stands out and is appreciated. And it’s rewarded in dollars and a sense that your company is one that understands, respects and cares about them. Isn’t that important to any audience?