Hispanic vs. Asian-American Marketing

14 Jul
Chinese Language Ad

Chinese Language Ad

Is language the glue that holds the Hispanic-marketing world together?  One of those perennial questions that Hispanic marketing professionals ponder is whether it is possible to market to a group as diverse as Latinos. Will one marketing strategy effectively reach Salvadorans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and Colombians? Young and old? The new immigrant and the second-generation Latino? It turns out that the glue holding these disparate groups together is the Spanish language.

This becomes apparent when you think about the marketing strategies deployed to market to the Asian-American community. Anyone looking to reach this demographic has to have marketing materials translated into the language or languages of their target market: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Hmong, or others. Oh wait, there is no “Chinese”. There is Simplified Chinese, the written language of mainland China, and Traditional Chinese, the written language of Taiwan (Wikipedia explains the difference; Mao Zedong is involved). The spoken language is either Cantonese, the dialect spoken in Southern China and Hong Kong, or Mandarin, which is the dialect spoken in the northern part of China.

Additionally, a marketer has to figure out where their Asian-American market lives. If your campaign is in Honolulu, try Tagalog to reach Filipinos. If you’re in L.A., try Korean.  And if you’re in Houston, use Vietnamese to get your message across (Houston is home to the 3rd biggest Vietnamese community in the U.S.).

All this is not to say that the Asian-American community is too tough to market to, so why bother. It is always worth it to reach someone in their language. But the above facts illustrate one reason why Hispanic marketing is a little more straightforward than Asian-American marketing. Language is king. And one last note: although there are some Latin countries with some historic bad blood- Peru vs. Chile, Dominican Republic vs. Haiti, Nicaragua vs. Costa Rica– the countries of the region all share a basic colonial history. All Latin American countries were conquered by Spain. Compare that to Asia, where there is a long, complicated history of inter-regional conflict. Think of that when arguing to someone that Puerto Ricans and Chileans have nothing in common. In Spanish.

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