In a recent New York Times blog post, a question on the minds of many Latinos was discussed: In spite of the figures, the projections, the potential, why aren’t all businesses courting what will soon be the biggest ethnic group in America?
It’s not that there is no interest in doing so. On the contrary, reaching this elusive part of the population is an attractive idea for many a business owner. The road is daunting, in part because there are so many misconceptions regarding how to reach these consumers.
According to the post, Juan Tornoe, chief marketing officer at Cultural Strategies, thinks that marketers assume that advertising must be in Spanish, which could very well seem intimidating. He argues that this doesn’t have to be the case, because the largest growth in the Hispanic segment comes from “the birth of second- and third-generation Hispanic Americans.”
Having been born, and growing up here, would have this group English-dominant, as opposed to foreign-born Latinos. This first group may not even speak Spanish fluently. Trying to reach them in Spanish could be very counter-productive. In the same vein, over simplifying marketing, as Tornoe puts it, could be “ineffective.”
Assuming the entire Latino demographic will only get the message in Spanish can quickly be seen as misguiding at best. At worst, it can be insulting, and will alienate the targeted audience. The solution is to acknowledge both the influence of the Latino and American cultures.
Successful marketers will navigate the synthesis currently taking place. It is a theme as old as immigration itself, but no less relevant to the population that is taking shape within our borders. A happy mix of traditional and modern, of old and new.
By Being Latino Contributor, Monica Sanchez.