Understanding the Hispanic Acculturation… and what it means for marketing
The Hispanic market has always been one of the most complex demographics to target, simply because the culture is so versatile. Not only are you marketing to over 20 different countries all being represented under the Hispanic -or Latino- umbrella, but within those you must remain conscious to the different levels of acculturation.
According to Havi Goffan, CEO of Target Latino, in her article Understanding Hispanic Market Segmentation – Part I, we can initially segment the Hispanic market into three main levels of acculturation. First there is the Non-Acculturated who only know how to navigate within the Hispanic culture. Next there is the Acculturated who are born in the United States of Hispanic decent and only know how to navigate the American culture. And finally, the Semi-Acculturated or those people who can navigate in both cultures with ease.
In an article, Goffan also states that the speed at which the Hispanic market will acculturate depends on three defining factors; time, education, and socio economic status. The longer a person lives in the United States better they are able to adopt the practices of typical American culture. Similar to that idea, the higher level of education a person has, “the faster the learning of another culture will be.” The last factor, indicates that the higher the socio-economic status a person had in its country of origin, the greater the chance that they have already been exposed to other cultures, thus speeding up the process of acculturation.
So, what does this have to do with marketing? According to information found in the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Hispanics living in the United States -estimated as of July, 2013- is about 17% of the total U.S. population. This makes the Hispanic population the largest our of all the minority groups! These are great stats to see for someone who has the Hispanic market under their belt, but for those missing out on this segment group, that is a large chunk of the population to look past. The United States is a melting pot of cultures, so to be able to represent every level of acculturation for every culture, a company must truly understands these different levels of Hispanic Acculturation. Only then can they produce the most effective message of their service or product to this ever changing demographic.