By Andrés Lozano
Just because someone is bilingual, do you have to speak both languages? Well… it depends. Am I your target market or are you more interested in my kids?
Before I came to the United States, I spent the first 24 years of my life in Cali, Colombia. I received a degree in Advertising and Visual Communication and in Marketing and International Business. Needless to say, Spanish is my native language, and when I moved here, I got my start working at a Spanish newspaper.
Just as print has given way to online news, advertisers are now more interested in Millennials than Gen Xers, like myself. If your credit union or community bank is seeking to market to Hispanics, consider that 42% of the 22.7 million Hispanic Americans are Millennials. This represents 27% of all Millennials, a demographic that is mostly (58%) U.S.-born.
My three children are among the 95% of Hispanic Americans under 14 years of age to be born in the United States. They are also among the three-quarters of Hispanic Millennials that are proficient in English.
I have three wonderful children who are not just bilingual, but who speak French as well, thanks to daily foreign language instruction at one of Greenville County’s Select Schools. I do realize, however, the ups and downs of raising children. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the majority of our Hispanic youth, who have been immersed in English-speaking culture since birth, prefer English over Spanish. Quite often, the only time Spanish is spoken is at home, but even that is changing.
I’m not suggesting you abandon Spanish-language marketing campaigns. After all, the estimates are we will reach 41 million Spanish speakers by 2020. However, to think that’s all that is needed to reach the Hispanic Millennial is not a sound marketing strategy. After all, Hispanics are a blend of nationalities and unique dialects, as well.
Instead of thinking bilingual, think bicultural.
As parents, we all want what is best for our children. We want them to have more, to be successful and to grow. How we show unconditional love and support, however, can look different. Instead of looking past mistakes made by mom and dad, we encourage our children to learn from them.
Wherever the bar is set, there is no going backward. If it is something they desire, they are taught that they cannot expect less. About three times a year, my family will visit a college campus. Our children get a firsthand look at the beauty and amenities of each university.
Beyond the tradition of strong family values, I believe Hispanic families value socioeconomic advancement. To appeal to more Hispanic Millennials, your marketing should reflect both Hispanic and American cultures. As opposed to trying to appeal to the native tongue of your demographic’s parents, create something that is altogether more articulate and authentic to today’s young people.