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Bilingual marketing not focused solely on Spanish-speaking customers

It seems that lately a lot of marketing experts are focusing their attention on Latinos, and with reason. This group is (and will be for some time) the fastest growing minority in the U.S. However, some marketing strategists are not simply focusing on this group. Some are zeroing in on other minority groups as well. NPR ran a story last week titled "Corporate America Takes on Multilingual PR", noting the trend to market toward Asian Americans, especially in southern California. In this sense, focusing on such a group includes the need to pay attention to several languages spoken by Asian Americans. Unlike Spanish, a language spoken officially in 21 countries, experts cannot reach such a variety of cultures and countries simply by advertising in one language. The NPR article adds that last year's census is proof to this trend, as it created ads in Japanese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, Hmong, Hinglish (a combination of Hindu and English) and Taglish (a mixture of Tagalog and English).

McDonald's and Wal-mart also run ads for Asian Americans, hoping to attract them as customers. McDonald's even has a page on their site dedicated to Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, obviously recognizing these consumers as valuable potential clients and showing an appreciation for their cultures and languages, as well as their achievements and successes in the United States. The page points out such achievements with various tabs marked Food, Technology, Sports, Music, Entertainment, Home Décor and Art, allowing visitors to gain insight into the positive contributions Asian Americans have made in our country. Wal-mart has been running ads on television, featuring families who head to the store for their everyday needs. Check out the video clip on NPR's site for this article to take a look at how the corporation targets Asian Americans.

One lesson learned on behalf of McDonald's was the need to send direct mail-outs in both the target language and in English. That way, when customers bring in their coupons, the fast-food chain's staff can read them as well. This bilingual form of advertising, however, also works in the sense that some Asian Americans might prefer or have better control of English than their heritage language. This is a common trend in Spanish-language advertising as well.

What other groups are targeted here in the U.S.? Is it more common to find these ads in certain states due to the larger populations of minority groups? Probably so. That said, how many minorities could we count simply in the state of California? It would be interesting to find out how many languages are used in marketing techniques today throughout the Pacific coast states in comparison to the rest of the U.S.

What trends do you see popping up in bilingual advertising today? What strategies seem to be the most effective?