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Direct Response Marketing

Multicultural Mix: How Fluent Is Your Pitch?

1 Sep, 2008 By: Response Contributor Response


The first question I ask any client selling on television or the Internet is, "How fluent is your pitch?" That's right — even if you personally do not speak a single syllable of any other language, that doesn't mean that your product pitch can't be "fluent."

 Marcelino Miyares
Marcelino Miyares

Most of the products marketed on DRTV are universal in application. Chances are, you are already selling to more multicultural market segments than you might think. That's because multicultural shoppers are more accessible than you previously might have thought. Are those your competitors I hear chomping on your lunch?

The media landscape today is a mosaic, just like the country's demographics. The digitization of television and streaming content in the DRTV universe have resulted in a hyper-explosion of ethnic, foreign national, in-language, bicultural channels right here in our own back yard — Spanish, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Persian and more. There are more than four-dozen national cable channels and four full-time broadcast networks serving the Hispanic community alone.



These emerging channels all share one thing in common: they reach America's "hyphens" — those bicultural and bilingual customers that many Americans wish would just blend in. Quite a few of these "hyphens" might already be shopping you in English. Except they can't get enough, so they keep shopping in their other language of choice — their language of origin.

It would be nice to generalize all of these hyphens into one bucket. After all, giving them a label, like "ethnic" or "multicultural," allows us to consolidate creative, production and media management. While a clever moniker does not make reaching them any easier, it does give you some actionable focus.

Let's take Hispanics or Latinos for example (I use the terms interchangeably). The Hispanic television shopper spends a disproportionate share of his or her income on household goods, exercise equipment and ingestibles. They trust television more than their non-Spanish speaking counterparts. Latinos, particularly immigrants, are the "nouveau-riche" of American consumers. If they want it, they will buy it. They spend hundreds of dollars over the phone per transaction and have the credit card mass to buy right now.

The challenge is to find the right multicultural spend on the right channels and in the right language to make a profitable difference to our bottom lines. In my experience, I have found that versioning in different languages makes a difference.

Making your product available in Spanish opens up dozens of national cable opportunities and hundreds of broadcast stations on television alone. Before you even start exporting, the U.S. Hispanic market can be leveraged for growth in several ways:

  • 1. Hispanic campaigns extend a campaign's point of diminishing returns both in media spend and time
  • 2. Hispanic campaigns increase the overall efficiencies of campaigns: costs-per-call can drop by at least 5 percent
  • 3. Hispanic campaigns increase the overall ratios of campaigns by as much as 5 percent

The model at left illustrates a typical ROI curve over time — in this case three years. New versions, new bonus items or retail pushes make up the standard approach to extending the life of a show on the air. Ratios and returns inevitably diminish over time. But going to market with a multicultural campaign mix can stimulate sales and renew the lifecycle of your product, albeit on a smaller scale, with in-language and in-culture DRTV.

Which brings us back to that fluency question. It's one thing to adapt your show into Spanish, but it's quite another to be able to do business "en Español." Imagine being able to read a foreign language but not have a basic conversation with someone. A good agency will make you fluent, which is to say "able to speak and sell — in the consumer's language of choice — from the pitch to the close."

Marcelino Miyares is an account executive with Mercury MultiCultural, a division of Mercury Media in Santa Monica, Calif. He can be reached via E-mail at mmiyares@mercurymedia.com.


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