By 2020, one in five U.S. residents will be Hispanic or Latino. But despite the growing number of American homes with Spanish speakers, most U.S. companies' customer service and marketing websites remain English-only, Pete Blackshaw, Nielsen Online Executive Vice President, notes in his latest Ad Age column.
That lack of Spanish-language online content has left many Hispanics out of online consumer discussions, Blackshaw argues.
"If you survey the landscape of brand websites, mini-sites and Facebook brand pages, you'll be struck by the surprising absence or marginalization (intentional or not) of Spanish-language content," Blackshaw writes. "I wonder why, even for brands where Hispanics and Latinos dominate the buyer or emerging buyer set, Spanish-language content is so sparse or even nonexistent."
Advertising and enabling feedback in Spanish -- and eventually, other languages -- are two immediate ways companies can bring Spanish-speaking consumers into their online fold, according to Blackshaw.
That advice is pragmatic, but the real goal, according to Blackshaw, is much bigger.
"What's most important is that we dignify all consumers with whom we have a loyalty or advocacy-driving opportunity," he writes. "We're not even close, but the potential is huge -- nay, gigante."
Read the September installment of Pete Blackshaw’s regular Ad Age column.