TOP HISPANIC MARKETING MISTAKES
Hiring someone because they are Hispanic to guide the business in reaching Hispanics. Hispanic marketing is a field of study that requires a combination of very specific education and experience. Being born Hispanic does not magically impart that knowledge. If you moved to Latin America, would you be an expert on all things American? Would you be able to offer advice on the buying motivators of American consumer markets? Could you consult on grammar and spelling rules of the English language?
Translating your standard marketing messages into Spanish. Hispanics who need to access Spanish language advertising are recent immigrants. New immigrants lack knowledge of U.S. systems and culture so your marketing messages aimed at the general market will fall on deaf ears. Likewise if you were in Mexico and saw a window sign that read "We will be closed on Day of the Dead." Even though the message is in English, most Americans would not have the cultural background to know the month and date of this holiday.
Putting up a sign that says "SE HABLA ESPANOL" in your store window. That sign has become known in the Hispanic community as one used by Americans to lure us into their stores. We almost always find that these stores employ only a part time or on call Spanish speaker. When a business is serious about serving Hispanics then all of their window signs will be in English and Spanish.
Buying ads on Spanish radio that aren't the right cultural fit for your target segment. If your Hispanic demographic is primarily Cuban and you purchase advertising that runs during a during a Mariachi program then you will have wasted your money. Likewise you would not attempt to reach elderly U.S. consumers by advertising on a Hip Hop station. Hispanics from different part of Latin America have very different music preferences.
Using the same tired stereotypes in marketing messages. The Latino community is weary of seeing only soccer, sombreros and salsa music in your advertising. How would you feel if you moved to Latin America and every commercial in English featured apple pie and baseball?
Hispanics are not all alike. There are certainly many commonalities in the Hispanic community but you can't reach every segment with the same campaign. Puerto Ricans are not big soccer fans,Cubans don't wear Sombreros and Mexicans don't dance Flamenco.
Using a non trained professional to translate materials into Spanish is a recipe for disaster. Being bilingual means you speak two languages. Being a translator means you are a writer who has been trained to strip down strip down sentences entirely before creating new ones in a target language. Being bilingual does not make someone a translator any more than owning a hammer and saw makes someone a home builder.
Neglecting to test job applicants who claim to be fluent in Spanish. Many people claim to be fluent as a result of studying Spanish in college or living in Latin America for a few years. Unless you are a native speaker, you cannot judge a person's language skills simply because you heard them speak Spanish. Customers will sometimes tolerate less than fluent Spanish until they find a company who can serve them competently.