Sure, the headline may sound a bit dramatic. But if you amend it slightly to “Enculturate or Die… on the Vine,” it starts to give you some perspective. De- spite all of the evidence in favor of diversification,
Corporate America still struggles with diversifying its talent
pools and marketing budgets, leaving millions of customers
waiting to be harvested, and billions of sales … on the vine.
For those marketers who find themselves putting off “
diversification” for the long-term, there is a short-term solution
Enculturation is not about the state of diversity in your
company. It is about the diversity of our marketplace. The
aim of enculturation is to right-size your commitment to marketing, and to better service customers who are likely already
buying in your vertical — or could be if you asked for and
welcomed them to your business. As politically incorrect as
this may sound, enculturation is about changing the fluency
of your sales funnel — not the complexion of your company.
Why the urgency? It is no secret that we are living through
some tectonic shifts in terms of how and where people buy
our products and services. Add to this that our demographics
continue to evolve generationally and multiculturally. Mobile
technology — meshed with demographics — represents a perfect storm of opportunity. According to Nielsen, multicultural
consumers already account for 42 percent of the millennial
cohort. Perhaps more significantly, they account for 47 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).
The most direct way to illustrate the concept of “
enculturation” is to draw a parallel to immigrants and their subsequent generations. Consumers acculturate by learning and
adapting to the cultural norms, buying patterns, brand preferences, and the language of the majority culture in which we
all live. Corporations enculturate by reciprocating in kind.
Meet acculturating Spanish-speakers in the middle by
activating cultural insights that welcome these consumers.
Start conversations that result in more fluency and comprehension. This will shape their attitudes and beliefs — and
ultimately drive behavior. Engage them with nuance in the
transactional touchpoints that matter most.
I often tell clients that they do not have
to be perfect in their approach to the His-
panic market — they just need to make the
perfect effort. Enculturation is not about
doing everything in-language. But it is
about doing enough in-culture to unlock
engagement, word-of-mouth, and measur-
able ROI. It’s about being multiculturally brave, not blind.
1. FOCUS ON YOUR PATH TO PROFIT. In direct-to-consumer
(D-to-C) terms, this means focus on transactional
touchpoints. Television and digital advertising allow
you to reach bilingual and Spanish-speaking customers
without alienating general market customers. So why
not advertise in Spanish and put in place the means
to convert leads on the phone, online, and in-store?
Think of this as diversifying your pipeline without having to diversify your company.
2. BE INTENTIONAL. Make enculturation a strategic
commitment. Do not start marketing to Hispanic
customers without a commitment to succeed. In my
experience, seven of 10 successful DRTV campaigns
also succeed in Spanish. The difference between the
winners and the losers is not the level of investment; it
is the level of commitment. Right-size the investment
to be consistent with your expectations, and you are
likely to find your path to profit.
3. BE AUTHENTIC. Good advertising appeals to logic and
impulse. Great advertising also appeals to emotion. For
your messaging to be honest from a cultural point of
view, it needs to appeal to the head and the heart. This
does not mean that you need to translate and mirror
everything you do from English to Spanish. But it does
mean that you need to commit to doing enough to
generate response and convert. It means building trust
by taking a trans-creational approach to your advertising and the rest of the sales funnel. Being authentic
is the best measure of your strategic intention in the
You do not need to change the DNA of your corporate
culture to succeed in the Hispanic market. But you do need
to recognize that culture matters. Act on it through your
marketing and advertising and re-engineer how you pay it
off through your vendors. This minimizes the impact on your
corporate culture, but also gets you in the right game going
forward. ROI will drive the rest.
At the 2017 ANA Multicultural Marketing and Diversity conference, Mark
Pritchard, CMO of Procter & Gamble,
said, “If you are not a multicultural marketer in the United States, you do not have
a chance.” In other words, enculturate or
Enculturate or Die
BY MARCELINO MIYARES JR.