Matter Which Color,
All Minorities are Green
continues to take in more immigrants each year than all
of the other countries in the world combined! About one
in every ten people living in the United States was born
in another county. Whether Asian, Hispanic, or Black, minorities
are a substantial buying power. It is in the best interest
of the business owner to target all people: no matter
which color, all minorities are green! To make minorities
feel welcome and appreciated, target their special needs.
MAKE THE MISTAKE OF THINKING ALL MINORITIES ARE ALIKE!
people are from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, South and Central
America, Spain, and the Caribbean, among others. Asian people
are from China, Japan, Philippines, Korea, and Vietnam,
among others. Black people are from Haiti, Africa, and other
places from all over the world! You cannot afford to make
the mistake of making a generic depiction of a "minority"
based solely on their color. Marketing campaigns should
target a specific minority group, as it is virtually impossible
to target all minorities with a single ad. Remember immigrants
came over at different times. Some minorities are acclimated
to U.S. culture, while many are still adjusting.
AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ABOUT YOUR POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS’ TRADITIONS
respect in your advertising and other promotional efforts
for a particular culture’s holidays, ceremonies, colors,
and the meaning of symbols. The best way to do this is by
making contacts within the target community. Use these contacts
as an informal focus group. Small business owners should
survey customers to gain opinions. Talk to your local chamber
of commerce. As in many other areas, Virginia has its own
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (www.vahcc.com) which can serve
as an excellent resource when trying to generate ideas and
CAREFUL WHEN TRANSLATING ENGLISH INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES Establish a general marketing concept, then get a native
speaker of the language to help you translate what you want
to convey into the foreign language. English is tricky.
Avoid dialects. When targeting Spanish-speaking people,
use informal language. Know the culture of the group you
are trying to target.
THE NATIVE LANGUAGE MEDIA OF THE GROUP YOU WANT TO ATTRACT
groups tend to be geographically concentrated, so placing
an ad in a foreign-language newspaper or on a broadcasting
show is a great idea to reach a large group of people for
a relatively lower cost than advertising on a mainstream
medium. If possible, advertise in the foreign-language telephone
book, used "like a Bible in a minority community".
staff members who speak the language of the people you are
trying to target. Make sure fliers and signs posted in your
establishment are in the language too, to make them feel
welcome. Cultural sensitivity will spread by word of mouth
through your target group!
STEREOTYPES AND CLICHÉS
positive images that are meaningful to customers that you
want to serve. Hispanics generally see themselves as upbeat,
lively people and appreciate advertising that conveys a
sense of pride for providing for their families. In general,
they do not identify with overt materialistic displays of
success. Asian consumers appeal to themes of family togetherness,
security, and respect for elders. They value education,
literacy and musical culture, and have a strong sense of
YOUR SENSITIVITY TO CULTURAL SLURS OR TABOOS
matter how good your intentions, you could do something
to violate your minority customers. Make sure your slogans
and advertising is appropriate for the culture you are trying
to target. The best idea is to have promotional materials
reviewed by members of the minority group or groups being
A SPECIALTY ADVERTISING AGENCY OR MARKETING CONSULTANT
you can afford it, hiring a professional is money well spent.
They will be responsible for the language used and the culture
of your focus group. If this is not feasible, assistance
is generally available from the advertising department of
local ethnic newspapers, radio, or television stations.
Don’t be afraid to draw on the expertise of your own staff.
PREPARED TO "EDUCATE" YOUR AUDIENCE
minorities are skeptical of official proclamations or messages.
Point out the good things about your product. Provide demonstrations
or free samples when selecting from a wide range of choices.
If your product is priced on the high end of the field,
be sure to point out the quality.
INVOLVED WITH THE MINORITY COMMUNITY
importantly, get involved personally in the group you are
targeting. Sponsor or help promote a cultural event (ethnic
festival or holiday). This will build name recognition and
your business will spread through word of mouth, building
up customer loyalty.
LINE: Know your customers and their specific needs! Be patient!
Long-term goals have to be approached with long-term strategies!
The effort is bound to pay off!
A NOTE ON HISPANIC POPULATIONS:
U.S. Latino population is expected to surpass that of the
African-American population in the near future. The buying
power of Hispanics runs in the billions of dollars nationally
and in the millions of dollars locally. Business people
cannot afford to shrug off this demographic phenomenon!
Hispanics are younger than the mainstream population and
have a high birth rate. This and immigration account for
the census projection showing that in the year 2050, one
out of every four Americans will be Hispanic.
show an entrepreneurial spirit. Businesses owned by Mexican-American
women represent the fastest growing segment in the national
culture dictates, Hispanics are turned-off by sales pressure.
They would rather walk-away than be pressured. Spanish-speaking
meetings are appreciated, as are last names and handshakes.
Having a great respect for age and authority is a large
part of Spanish culture. Many Hispanic people will rely
on the word of the owner of a business when they might distrust
a sales associate or lower-level staff employee.