When crafting online strategies aimed at Hispanics, whom are you specifically trying to reach? The Internet can be a huge and daunting medium. But it also presents a lot of opportunities if leveraged in the right way. Hispanic users are increasingly turning to the Internet not only to connect with friends, family and community in real time, but also, to inform their purchasing decisions, consume multimedia (music and video), and form opinions about products, brands and corporations. And when thinking about what segment of the Hispanic market you should be reaching online, you must consider the Bicultural.
Biculturals live straddling two cultures, in this case, Hispanic and American. Why can they not be ignored? Biculturals’ buying power exceeded $800 billion in 2007, and continues to outpace general market buying growth by 5-to-3. In addition to that, they share positive brand experiences with an average of 23 people (compared to 10 people in the general market) and 66% of users forward product recommendations and warnings by email (compared with just 28% of general-market). They will also share information with their offline friends and family. Bicultural Hispanics are more likely to transact and conduct search online and express a strong desire to be courted for their unique multicultural identity, and tend to avoid marketing that seems to qualify them as generic “Spanish speakers”.
Biculturals can also identify as English dominant or Spanish dominant. Many English dominant biculturals might speak Spanish and understand it, but prefer to communicate in English. Spanish dominant are the opposite, perhaps understanding English but preferring to communicate in Spanish. But should your online effort be executed in English or Spanish? As shown in the AOL Cyberstudy, Spanish dominant biculturals prefer media in Spanish, but the biculturals in all consume more in English, so marketers and communicators need to make important information available in both Spanish and English. But it doesn’t end here. It’s not just about the language.
We know that a successful campaign is also about the content – those cultural insights that connect the audience with the brand experience. Bicultural users surf the net in a “Bilingual Mode” first choosing what content they want to be served and perhaps considering the language second. They actually choose different languages for information, entertainment, to make transactions, to engage, etc. It’s important to adapt your content to communicate with the bicultural. The online space is where conversations happen, where brands can speak to their customers and customers can speak back.
A successful interactive marketing strategy will be one that includes a keen understanding of the varying levels of acculturation and language preferences among the biculturals group, as well as an understanding of how nationalism affects trends in buying patterns and brand patronage.