United States Companies are Leaving an Estimated $3 Trillion on the Table. Marketing specialists wonder if your company is one of them. Here we will discuss some best practices in tapping into a massively underutilized marketing segment.
According to the Selig Center, African-American consumers will account for $1.2 trillion by 2015. The purchasing power of Latinos already surpasses $1 trillion. Asian Americans are projected to make nearly $700 billion in purchases by 2015. These figures make it clear that multicultural marketing is essential to the success of U.S. companies. With such an obvious pool of potential consumers, it is puzzling why so many businesses fail to develop an effective messaging campaign to target the multicultural consumer. Fortunately, experienced multicultural-marketing specialists have a few clues about solving the puzzle and enabling advertisers to gain a foothold in a combined marketplace of $3 trillion.
Multicultural Marketing over the Last Decade
Originally, multicultural marketing focused solely upon African-American consumers. Now that view has broadened to take in other groups. However, while the faces seen in front of the camera reflect a more diverse population, the creative control is not often given to members of the multicultural community. As a result, advertising campaigns often fail to recognize the unique segments of the community. Whether it is generational, economic, or language ability, each of these portions requires a specific message. Typically, companies have not taken the time to know the multicultural community. Those that have bucked this trend and become participants in the activities of the group have found success.
Multicultural Marketing amid Racial Sensitivities
A further challenge to multicultural marketing is the need for research in order to navigate the new territory. Without in-depth understanding of the community, companies may appear opportunistic. Messaging that relies simply on placing a Hispanic or black family in view without a true understanding of the culture is quickly rejected. On the other hand, advertising that captures a piece of the community’s collective experience engages and builds connections. Without such authentic connections, multicultural consumers reject the message and possibly the company.
Multicultural Marketing and Direct Mail
Experts state that direct mail has a distinct advantage over other marketing channels. Unlike broadcast advertising which can be easily cut off, the tangible direct mail forces at least a look from the recipient. Provided that the direct mail is precisely targeted, it can prove extremely successful in reaching Hispanics. This means going beyond simply mailing to every family with a Spanish-sounding name. To succeed in reaching the multicultural market, direct-mail marketers must develop a deep understanding of the audience. They need to know the language that is preferred, whether they were born here, their level of education, as well as their level of influence with others members of the community. These factors along with others can be used to tailor an effective campaign for multicultural marketing.
Marketing specialists note that only about 30% of African-American consumers receive direct mail, but of those more than 75% read the direct mail received. With such an accessible market, those involved in marketing wonder why more companies are not targeting it.
Multicultural Marketing and Multichannel Planning
Professionals recognize multichannel planning as one most effective means to boost the power of a multicultural marketing campaign. It requires consistent messaging and the coordination across several sources. Along the way, the creation of an identity is a priority. The consensus of marketing experts is that identity establishment is more difficult when involving multiple media. With proper synchronization, they note that each piece of the marketing campaign works together to tell a big story. Direct mail pieces serve to backup mobile and online sites by directing target consumers in that direction.
Multicultural Marketing Targeting Asian Americans
With multicultural marketing, professionals agree that marketers mistakenly concentrate almost exclusively upon a perceived homogenous group that behaves as any other consumer group. As was previously noted, marketing specialists recognize that every group of consumers contains differing segments which cannot be ignored if one hopes to effectively connect with those consumers. In the case of the Asian-American market, this focus takes in degrees of acculturation in comparison to overall consumer behavior. From this, targeted high-end messaging techniques which segment groups prove to be most effective with Asian-American consumers.
Multicultural Marketing and the Future
Marketing specialists are quick to point out that adaptation may be the key to effective multicultural marketing in the future. Rather than continuing marketing toward a single group of consumers, they must recognize the places where the consumer resides and design a specific message not just for one ethnicity but for cultures among those segments. This personalized messaging creates connections which stretch across all networks of the consumer.
Multicultural marketing when done properly offers an effective means by which to connect with consumers across matters of language, cultural backgrounds, age, and other barriers.
What is your company doing to market across cultural barriers?