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Three Caveats for Multicultural Marketing

November 15, 2011  

"Are your campaigns reaching the intended audiences?" asks Darren Megarry at MarketingProfs. "That's a key question facing marketing professionals, as the combined wave of technology, communication access, and spending power continues to extend across the globe." But you don't need a global business to understand the importance of multicultural marketing. In countries like the United States, we have the opportunity to reach diverse audiences within our own communities. But wherever these customers may be, we should remember:

Multicultural marketing is not one-size-fits-all. It's a mistake, for instance, to think of the United States' Hispanic population as a homogenous segment. "Significant regional, socioeconomic, cultural, religious, and racial differences can exist even within one Hispanic group," notes Megarry. "For example, a recent immigrant from Guanajuato, Mexico, may have more in common with a Salvadoran refugee than with a middle-class Mexican American."

Something is almost always lost in translation. Hire native speakers to double- and triple-check any copy for foreign-language snafus. While online translation programs can give you the gist of a foreign word or phrase, they aren't known for elegant, nuanced translation. Megarry received a wide range of results when he translated ¿Cómo se llama? with a few popular services:

  • How is it called? (BabelFish)
  • What is your name? (Google)
  • How yourself call-up? (FreeTranslation.com)

Opportunities for faux pas abound. Even when properly translated with impeccable grammar, your copy might inadvertently contain humor, idioms, puns, analogies or metaphors that confuse or offend your target audience. This is yet another reason to enlist the services of a native speaker who can identify potential problems.

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