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22 Nov 2011

How to Market to People Not Like You

November 22, 2011PPC Advertising
A few months ago, the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association (AZIMA) hosted a social event, and was visited by best-selling author, Kelly McDonald. Kelly’s recent book, How to Market to People Not Like You: Know It Or Blow It, Rules for Reaching Diverse Customers examines marketing strategies that can be used to reach the growing Hispanic Population in America. It addition to being a successful author, Kelly is also the president of McDonald Marketing.
 
McDonald’s presentation was more than just an overview of the demographic on the rise; she also offered plenty of insightful techniques to reach the Hispanic market in ways that matter to them. Understanding your audience is critical for successful marketing campaigns, and this fact is no different when dealing with Latinos, or any other immigrant population. McDonald uses clever wording and data-driven research to make a dramatic impact on marketers who are trying to grow their businesses in a multicultural way.
 
As an advertiser, McDonald states that there are several reasons why you need to tailor campaigns to also reach the Hispanic Market. For one, the Latino population is growing faster than any other minority group in the US, with one in six residents being Hispanic. Research leads many to believe that this number will grow significantly larger in the coming years. There are currently more than 50 million Latinos living in the United States, making the US the second largest Hispanic country, only to Mexico – to put that into perspective in another way, that’s more than the entire population of New York City times six.
 
In addition to being a large audience, research has shown that the Hispanic population uses technology heavily, and they tend to start using it at a younger age. They are the most prominent demographic on social networking sites like Facebook, and they are very receptive to smart phone releases.
 
They do, however, seem to use these outlets in different ways than the average American. For example, they often use social media for social use rather than for business related purposes, and they often use these tools to communicate with friends and family that they already know, rather than creating new pools of friends. This tool has also proven to be very helpful for Hispanics that want to communicate with their families across country lines.
 
McDonald warns us not to fall into the pit of marketing to Hispanics as though they are all categorized as one group of people. Though they may share a language, there is a huge variety of Hispanic people living in the US, and those many cultures are each receptive to different advertising techniques. McDonald describes the Latino population in the US as demonstrating acculturation. This means that they stay true to their native culture but adopt a set of US customs in addition to their roots. This differs from an assimilated culture, where a group of people ditches one culture to completely adopt a foreign one.
 
Because Hispanics take on a multicultural lifestyle, there are a variety of things to keep in mind when developing campaigns. For one, you should try to reach your audience by using the Spanish language. Many Hispanic people speak English, but would still prefer to do business in their native tongue. Make sure that your company is ready to provide service in an alternate language. Something as simple as rerecording an automated message or providing signage in Spanish can go a long way.
 
While translation is a thoughtful step, it’s not the end all be all for reaching this group of people. Just changing a message from English to Spanish is not enough, not to mention many of our key phrases are not commonplace in Spanish language. In order to reach this population in an impacting way, you need to be mindful of their values. McDonald suggests working with a specialized advertising agency that is more familiar with these core concepts in order to create thoughtful advertising that is truly relatable. Of course, if this is out of your budget then at least do some research on your own to modify English messaging to be more familiar for a Hispanic audience.
 
McDonald’s book goes more in depth as to why there has never been a better time to create alternate campaigns to reach the growing Hispanic population. By being mindful of culture, values and targeted messaging, you have the ability to tap into a very important group of people. She reminds us that we have to really listen to our consumers in order to service their needs. Learning to communicate with a multicultural population is helpful for growing your business, but it will also make you a stronger marketing professional overall.