Culture: More Than a Language
For example, fatalism is a strong cultural characteristic that has to do with if it’s God’s will, then it’s meant to be. But fatalism is a very passive attribute. So if fatalism is a strong cultural characteristic and also a passive one, how does that work with ambition or control? But fatalism can exist with ambition or control. In terms of cultural relevancy, marketers can combat fatalism with action planning. Offer action plans, helping Hispanics with step-by-step instructions.
TM: How can marketers maintain the connection throughout a continuing dialogue with Hispanic customers?
SS: Fifty-eight percent of Hispanics, versus 37 percent of non-Hispanic whites, say they are overwhelmed by all the sources of information available today. When you add the additional barriers in terms of the Hispanic consumer … language and not enough consumer empowerment tools, one of the things marketers can do as a result of this knowledge is to help simplify the life of Hispanics. Marketers can help reduce this stress by, again, offering guidance and step-by-step instructions. Traditionally, Hispanic consumers tend to look for firm advice as opposed to multiple opinions.
We know that we need to better support Hispanic consumer empowerment, and empowerment tools are not abundantly available in the Hispanic market. Yet we know that ethnic consumers in general take advantage of technology for the empowerment aspect that it provides … From the marketing perspective, of those Hispanics who don’t go online, 40 percent of Hispanics versus 14 percent of non-Hispanic whites say they don’t have anyone to show them how to use the Internet. So here’s obviously something from a promotional standpoint that is a big opportunity.
Another finding is that 76 percent of the Hispanic-dominant, high-cultural affinity group said they would buy more products online if retailers offered more information in Spanish versus, for example, 38 percent of the bicultural group. So language should not be a barrier when it comes to Hispanic marketing. We talk a lot about the language issue, and I think that marketers need to get over [the question of] “Do I do it in English? Do I do it in Spanish?” I think in many cases, it’s both languages that have to be used … and the important thing is that, in either language, you need to be culturally relevant.