Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hispanic Marketing: Speak Culture, Not Spanish

With a category as fluid as social media it’s tough enough to craft an overall strategy. But finding specific customer segments and understanding their behavior may be a discipline whose time has come. One new research study, for example, has found that Hispanics are a complex and frequent user group that will require a closer look when it comes to social media.

“Marketers tend to be short-sighted when marketing to Hispanics, especially when social media is concerned,” says Katherine O'Hara co-founded S3, a New Jersey-based marketing agency. “The term ‘Hispanic’ covers people who live on different continents and different countries. They may share a language but they don’t all share the same culture. So marketing to Hispanics is not about speaking Spanish it’s about speaking culture.”

• A good example of that, says O’Hara (nee Machado) can be found in what she has discovered in the culture of social networks. Traditionally, Hispanics have relied on the original concept of “social networks” to gain trusted information. This draw to family and friends for sharing information and seeking guidance makes Hispanics natural players in the new consumer-driven social media arena. Hispanics influence, and are influenced, through peers more than their general market counterparts.

Social networks also offer a means to communicate with family and friends with whom they are geographically separated.

S3 participated in a 2009 study by the Captura Group which examined data from the Florida State University Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication with the support of DMS Research. Their national online sample examined nearly 2,500 people that were equally divided among the following cultural groups: Hispanics who prefer English, Hispanics who prefer Spanish, Non-Hispanic Whites, African Americans and Asians in the United States. Among the findings: 

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