August 30, 2004, 12:00 AM

Selling La Vida Loca

(Page 3 of 3)

Among the more surprising responses to the test e-mails, reports Donald A. DePalma, author of the report, was one response that said, “English, please. Thank you.” Another referred the writer, who had identified himself as being in Boston, to the company’s Mexico City office, with address and phone number. A third sent a message that said if the writer sent it again in English, maybe he’d get a response. That message itself was, of course, in English.

Even at sites that have significant content in Spanish, the responses in Spanish were dismally low. In fact of 12 brands that maintain Spanish language web sites, only two replied to all Spanish messages in Spanish-Ford Motors Corp. and worldwide financial services provider Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corp.

“What this survey says is that a lot of companies haven’t looked at the changing demographics of the U.S. and haven’t seen that there has to be some evolution in their marketing,” DePalma says.

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