After a long day at work spent in client meetings, Martha arrives home and heads to the kitchen. While still carrying Alberto in one arm, she drops a bag of groceries on the counter and quickly turns on the TV for background noise. The channel is set to Univision, where she can get a glimpse of the latest news in her native Spanish

While she lowers Alberto to the ground she tells him---in perfect English---to go play while she makes dinner. Her groceries mainly consist of the same products any working mother with small children would buy: some premade meals, canned goods, snacks, milk, meats and cheese, vegetables, fruits, and bread, not any different than most American households. Except that her bag also includes adobo, for it is a key ingredient for many Latin dishes.

Martha’s cell phone rings. She answers by saying, "Hola" then constantly switches between English to Spanish, and the two languages intertwine and blend as one. After she hangs up the phone, she quickly reads a text message, smiles, and starts to prepare dinner keeping an eye on Alberto while singing the latest pop hit.

The scenario described above is not uncommon. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 21% of all married couples in the US had at least one foreign-born spouse. These households are a melting pot of cultures and heritages

Adopting US Behaviors While Connecting to Heritages

The Census Married-Couple Households by Nativity Status: 2011 report also explains that 61% of the foreign-born spouses are naturalized, meaning that they have been in the US long enough to acculturate to a higher or lesser degree. (Acculturation is defined as the adoption of behaviors of the host society).

While foreign-born people adopt US behaviors and traditions, thanks to the use of technology and the celebration of diversity, they also hold to their native customs. They are complex and sophisticated consumers who live in a bicultural world. The children born from these couples often learn English and a second language. They are exposed to different foods, culture, and values. While they are Americans first, they are also deeply connected to their ancestry, which has a great impact on how they respond to advertising.

Marketing to Multidimensional Consumers

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Ederick Lokpez is principal of HispanoConnect and a Hispanic-marketing consultant who has helped Fortune 500 companies to improve their reach within the Hispanic market. Reach Ederick via

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