I recently had a brief telephone conversation with my mother, and was reminded just how dissimilar we are from each other. She is foreign-born, Cuban by birth, and came to this country as an adult. I was born in the U.S. Most marketers would paint us both as "Hispanic" and think their job is done.
But it's more complicated than that. Marketers need to understand the dynamics at play with bicultural audiences, and how communications can be interpreted differently in Hispanic vs. U.S. "general market" cultures.
When I have phone conversations with my mother, if there's a three-second pause after she begins a sentence, and I haven't verbally confirmed her speaking, she'll ask me, "Are you there? Did the phone die?" I don't know if this occurs because we aren't in the same room and she can't read my non-verbal, active listening cues, or if it's simply because of her collectivist roots, and her belief that conversations shouldn't be as much sequential as concurrent. Regardless of the cause, the result is the same: I leave the conversation many times feeling like I haven't been heard, or having to do a lot of work to be heard.
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