As the Hispanic/Latino community and other immigrant communities in the United States continue to grow, it’s becoming more and more evident that multiculturalism must be part of our mindset. When we consider the Hispanic/Latino population in the U.S., it’s important to recognize that this community is diverse, representing over 20 different countries and five generations with different layers in each group.
Marketing to such a diverse population is complex.
Here are some tips that will help you reach the Hispanic/Latino with your message, ministries or service:
Make yourself available
Most Hispanic/Latino cultures are communal. They have an “us” mentality, the mentality of familia – everyone is together in this. As a marketer, you have to make yourself one of the people. It’s a journey of accompaniment that you can join through different platforms, including websites, social media, “snail mail” and simply talking to people over the phone.
This may translate to being the go-to person and walking people through things step-by-step with a phone call or in-person conversation. Relationally, it may translate to attending a birthday party, soccer game or graduation — just being present. Making yourself available is the key to successfully marketing to this population.
Verify that the content is relevant
We hear this direction all the time. Church groups often create excellent content in English that communicates with the majority English-speaking culture. They then translate it to Spanish and expect the Spanish-speaking population to accept and understand it in the same way.
Providing the message in multiple languages does not necessarily mean changing the wording. A verbatim translation may work. However, you may need to change the words or adjust the message for the content to be relevant. Language is only one element to consider when aiming a message to a specific population. You should also consider other elements such as the graphics, art, colors, etc.
When creating content, include the population you are trying to reach in the process. Consider having a set of “experts” from that group or ask others in the population to give you feedback. Ideally, you should have people from the group in your team of content developers. They will both create relevant content and build bridges between different groups as they are able to navigate the different contexts.
Often we create curricula or other resources and expect people to know how to use them. The goal that the author or producer has in mind may not always be apparent to the viewer or reader who has had different experiences and views the world through different lenses. Including instructions on how to use a product limits room for interpretation. This makes the content more effective and more likely to fulfill the author’s purpose.
For a marketer in the faith-based industry, reaching the Hispanic/Latino population goes beyond knowing and meeting their needs. It’s about identifying with the people as well as living and experiencing their needs. We are together in this mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ so do not be afraid to be a part of the familia.
Aileen Jimenez is the manager of Hispanic/Latino leader communications at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN, USA. You can reach her at [email protected].