Marketing to Hispanics and discerning the Spanish language variations
(PRWEB UK) 24 August 2012
The Spanish language is as diverse and complex as the people that speak it. Businesses are realising fast that to benefit from the growing spending power of the world’s Hispanic population; they need to produce web copy, marketing materials and develop branding that is suitable for a range of Spanish language variations.
According to Ethnologue, Spanish is spoken in 44 countries. The total number of Spanish speakers is approximately 329 million, making it the second most commonly spoken language in the world after Mandarin Chinese.
The language itself has its origins in the Castile region of Spain, however it is widely spoken in Central and South America, as well as the Western Sahara, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines and increasingly in the United States.
Euromonitor International stated that “Hispanic or Latino” refers to people who originate from Spanish-speaking nations. “The U.S. Census Bureau defines ‘origin’ as either the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the US. It stresses, however, that people who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any race.”
So why is it so important for marketers and organisations to communicate in Spanish to reach Hispanic consumers? Marketers should recognise the rapid growth of the Hispanic population and their growing influence in terms of cultural trends and global online spend.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, one in six Americans identified themselves as Hispanic. However even the term Hispanic is used to represent a hugely diverse population with origins in countries as varied as Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Chile, and of course, Spain.
In addition, a report from AOL/Roper stated that the growing, young Hispanic population in the US “heavily relies on the Internet to learn more about products, to share opinions, and to improve their lives.” They also use the Internet more than non-Hispanics, spending an average of 9.2 hours online each week compared with 8.5 hours a week for the general web-using population.
Common Sense Advisory recently published some analysis of the online spending power and influence of the leading languages online. It found that Spanish-speaking web users will generate an ‘e-GDP’ totaling $3,496 billion this year.
There’s no doubt that businesses should look at ways to reach Spanish-speaking consumers, but the nuances of Spanish language and culture should not be overlooked. Sonia Benson, SVP at global advertising agency network, Draftfcb - herself originally from Colombia - explained the importance of Spanish translation, with an eye and an ear for regional variations. She mentions an example that in Mexican Spanish that the “words for asking a person to lunch are the same as asking someone to dinner in Columbian Spanish.” Benson adds, "Spanish is a rich language, that’s different from one culture to the next. You have to be sensitive to cultural nuances.”
The Hispanic market’s socio-economic, acculturation and demographic profile continues to grow influence and power worldwide. Marketers need to understand and discern the Spanish language variations to help them target and segment their messages for the Hispanic market. In order to effectively launch campaigns, it will require a qualified language service provider (LSP) that specialises in Spanish translation using experienced and professional linguists, translators and voice talents who are natives of the target language.
Common Sense Advisory, Inc. ROI Lifts the Long Tail of Languages in 2012. July 17, 2012.
Ethnologue. Summary by language size. Web. Retrieved from: http://www.ethnologue.com/ethno_docs/distribution.asp?by=size
Euromonitor International. Changing Ethnic Mix: Impact of Immigration and Ethnicity on Consumer Market Demand to 2010. October 2005
Koyen, Jeff. “The Truth About Hispanic Consumers.” Adweek. March 12, 2012.
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