Diverse Marketing Tips From Texas and Sears

Marketing to a Diverse Audience, Part 1

I wrote an article a few years ago about a newspaper in San Angelo, Texas, that scripted a series of house ads starring their very own employees. The series was called “Get Connected Every Day with the San Angelo Standard-Times” and was part of the paper’s “Passion Campaign” that let readers see a bit of themselves in the paper every day.

“It fit into this whole philosophy of improving our relationship with the community,” the marketing director said. “It was an important first step in the process.”

At that time, 2004, a community was still mostly measured in physical terms. Today, of course, an online community is probably more appropriate for our marketing directives. But that doesn’t mean strategies have to change all that much. Improving your relationship with your online community should remain a major goal.

That article was for a diversity newsletter. Diversity has taken a bit of a back seat of late, given the tough times and the varied strides that have been made. But population trends tell us that it’s still something to be very much considered in your marketing plans. Sears recently launched a fully transactional Website aimed specifically at one Spanish-speaking market: Puerto Rico.

What’s interesting is that they decided to go with an old-fashioned, stylized, black-and-white photo on their homepage with a full-color Puerto Rican flag. We have to assume that they did their homework and this is the representation that this audience is most comfortable with.

On the Website Learning From Big Boys, Isabel Isidro writes:
“…it is estimated that Hispanics will account for nearly one out of every five American residents by 2012. As such, opportunities abound for small businesses that consider implementing new approaches and strategies to target the Latin Americans.”

Then she lists three examples where small businesses can learn from Sears.

1. There are opportunities in reaching out to particular demographics. Whether you are running an ecommerce site or even an information site, there are benefits to thinking of ways to extend your business’ target market to cover Hispanics (or any other geographic or demographic markets).

2. For a web-based business, the easiest way to reach Hispanics is to translate all or parts of your website to Spanish. You can opt to create a new domain for the foreign language version of your site; or you can use your existing site and put the Spanish version in the same domain. What SearsPR.com did is to use a separate domain name for this new website (they are Sears, after all, so issues with regards to authority and links are not as big of a challenge compared to small businesses). Their website offers users the option of perusing the site in English and Spanish.

3. What Sears has shown is that there is a big market for immigrants. Hispanic immigrants, such as Puerto Ricans that Sears has targeted, tend to provide support to relatives back home. Aside from the money that they send, the US-based immigrants want to send goodies and stuffs to their relatives. What this new website from Sears did is to eliminate that barrier by making it easy for the Puerto Rican market living on “the mainland” to send items to families and loved ones living in Puerto Rico.

Also interesting about this new site is that when I went back and looked at some of my old newsletters, I found this quote from Robert Montemayor, author of The Latino Target: Strategies for Engaging the Hispanic Market: “Publishers must recognize cultural nuances and differences among the more than 20 Hispanic subgroups.” That was six years ago.

Whew! For SIPA members, however, dipping your toe in any Spanish-language waters is a good first step. We will bring you more ways of doing this in future SIPAlert Daily articles and monthly Hotlines. “The bottom line,” said that marketing director in San Angelo, Texas, “is that we did connect with our readers and the general public; it did a lot for our image as being a people-friendly paper.” Feel free to substitute “publisher” for “paper.”

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