And this phenomenon has attracted not only government policy makers, census takers, social scientists and social media, but also marketing professionals to look more closely into the U.S. Hispanic lifestyles and spending habits and how they affect the marketing strategies they need to adopt to reach this specific market segment. Biculturalism has been growing over the years and it's not limited to just having tacos, jalapenos, tamales and tequilas in Mexican specialty restaurants. Song and dance, the universal languages as seen in some TV programs, show diversity in a multicultural society at work.
The End of the "General Market" As We Knew it?
Marketing experts are well aware of the effects of biculturalism in rethinking their marketing strategies so that the multicultural sensitivities are factored in. In a melting pot of cultures, acculturation is not a one-way thing. More often than not, it works both ways. In this regard, acculturation could mean diversity. Let's take some specific examples.
The 2010 Census counted 50.5 million Hispanics in the United Sates, making up 16.3% of the total population. The social networking sites like Facebook have many of these U.S. Hispanics as members interacting with themselves mostly in their native tongue, Spanish. Perhaps, it wouldn't be a surprise if in their social circles -family and friends - they have some specific inclinations to say, a special kind of alcoholic beverage, specialty shop or fast-food restaurant which caters better to their cultural background. This is not to forget their inclination for viewing TV channels catering specially to their cultures like watching -- "telenovelas" -- soap operas done in installments. Indeed, this is a multicultural society.
Infuse of Multicultural Sensitivities into their Messages
For some, it might mean the beginning of a multicultural marketing approach to the growing presence of Latinos in American society. To be sure, they will impact the way we market and sell needs and wants, from food to housing to health care and education, even hi-tech electronic gadgets and entertainment.
Census data is certainly changing the way marketers look at Hispanic consumers. However, as we know, the cross-over among cultures is a two-way street.
Download data on state and county populations for 2010 and 2000, by Hispanic origin. (Source: Pew Hispanic Center).
Diversity is the New Mindset, the New Cross-Cultural Phenomenon
There seems to be a trend in diversity as a result of this cross-cultural phenomenon. The Latino or US Hispanic entrepreneur who operates a small-scale business in the neighborhood could be serving his taco delights, or tequilas or selling sombreros, aside from renting out DVDs featuring special song and dance numbers in their own native styles. Or a Latino bringing home the master's degree he or she earned in a prestigious U.S. university will definitely add to erasing the great cultural divide.
Many will argue that there are two currents or forces pulling in opposite directions. However, sooner or later, the Latinos and non-Latinos will be totally absorbed into the multicultural society and it will, hopefully, redound to the mutual benefit of all. The next U.S. National Census, about nine years from now will, I hope, bear witness to this development.
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This has been over 10 years in the making and this reality was evident then. What's interesting but not surprising is how Multicultural is defined as Hispanic disregarding the African-American and Asian populations which truly define it.
Steve, thank you for your comment and point well-taken. Although this article doesn't mention specifically the African-American and Asian populations; it does denote, however, that the Latinos and non-Latinos will be totally absorbed into the multicultural society. Since I happen to be US Hispanic and this column is called "Engage: Hispanics", I've chosen to write from that perspective. However, I'd be interested to read a similar piece that takes into account more the African-American and Asian populations and the cross-over between all these three sub-segments.. Thanks!