Posted by: nickgerlich | March 12, 2008

One Casa Fits All?

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is the assumption that all of its custoemrs are the same. Homogeneity would certainly make for an easier marketing effort, with streamlined campaigns, one message, one medium. But the truth of the matter is, we live in a very diverse society, and what compels one person to respond is a turn-off for others.

Hispanic Computer UserCase in point: Hispanic computer users. While it might be tempting to conclude that all web surfers carry the same genes, the reality is quite different. Just like men and women differ in their computer usage, various ethnic groups likewise have their own preferences, idiosyncrasies, and habits.

And the Hispanic market is nothing to sneeze at. According to Fast Company magazine (March 2008), PC ownershp among Hispanics jumped 45% in the last two years.

Of course, language can be a huge issue, because Hispanics are in varying stages of assimilation into the broader culture. The Hispanic population is split into thirds, with fairly equal parts English-dominant, Spanish-dominant, and bilingual.

Thios leaves the door wide open for an embarrassing faux pas if one is not careful. And while marketing legends still tell us of the Chevy Nova and its bungled Mexican market entry (the story is more fable than fact), there exists the possibility of messages getting lost in translation.

Bill Murray, take a bow.

Consorte Media focuses on the Hispanic web surfer, and seeks to help companies traget and position their ads appropriately. For example, things that work well with Anglo Americans may not resonate with Hispanics, and the difference is primarily one of culture. A home-financing campaign thought it had the Hispanic sub-culture all figured out when it used pictures of happy, smiling Hispanic families. But those pics flopped miserably in tests. No, what worked were pictures of nice suburban homes that captured the essence of a much-desired lifestyle.

As the internet continues to evolve, I suspect marketers will continue to find that the Henry Ford approach to online marketing does not serve taregt customers well. We cannot continue to force negro upon the many when some prefer blanco.

Dr “What’s Your Size?” Gerlich

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