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It is more and more often said that there is no good marketing nowadays without multicultural (or ethnic) marketing. There is no chance of effectively reaching customers from different countries, cultures or ethnic groups by means of uniform marketing messages. What exactly is multicultural marketing, what are its goals and why should you incorporate it into your company’s strategy, and where to start? Today we will answer these questions.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is multicultural marketing?
  2. Why is it needed by your company?
  3. Where to start multicultural marketing?

What is multicultural marketing?

In the cultural melting pot of the social media age, all cultures and nations blend together to form a homogeneous mix. However, it is only superficially uniform. Nations, ethnic, and cultural groups retain their individuality to a large extent: their own norms, values, traditions, beliefs, interests, lifestyle, and even (which is particularly important for marketers) – the way of using the media or making purchasing decisions. Skillful gathering of knowledge about specific cultural groups and then adapting the marketing message to each of them is what we call multicultural marketing (in other words: ethnic marketing).

The main idea behind a multicultural marketing strategy is that if we want to reach everyone at once, we won’t reach anyone. This type of marketing therefore uses, for example, language, holidays, celebrations, needs, and even contextual jokes to build customer loyalty from specific groups (for example: Asian Americans in the US, Eastern European expats in the UK or the Italian minority in London. ).

Why is multicultural marketing necessary for your company?

In short, if you operate in a highly culturally diverse market, you need to adapt to your customers (not the other way around!). In the US, multicultural consumers now make up 40% of the population. The white population continues to decline. Still, many companies do not seem to pay attention to it, directing a uniform marketing message to all recipients. According to the AIMM report from 2019, companies in the US spent only 5.2% of their advertising budget on multicultural activities. This is both bad and good news. Bad, because the huge customer segment is still largely ignored in advertising messages. Good – because you can turn it into the success of your company.

Here are some of the benefits of implementing a multicultural marketing strategy:

  •  The use of motifs referring to specific cultures makes customers from these groups identify with a given brand and its philosophy much more strongly. This strategy was adopted by EA, which for many years has included references to various cultures (e.g. Asian or Spanish) in its cult game The Sims:
The Sims post on Instagram, informing about the news introduced to the game on the occasion of Hispanic Heritage Month

Zdjęcie 2, ALT: The Sims post on Instagram, informing about the news introduced to the game on the occasion of Hispanic Heritage Month

  • Getting to know the needs and problems of specific cultural groups will help you easily modify your products or add new product lines dedicated to these specific groups – for example, all hairdressing brands that sell cosmetics designed for afro hair.
  • With thorough research on ethnic groups, you are guaranteed a much more effective market verification. You then understand why your offer or marketing message is attractive to one group and completely ignored by another. The reason for the lack of interest is not always advertising. Sometimes the product itself may not be of interest.
  • Cost reduction is a huge benefit of ethnic marketing. By applying the concept of marketing aimed at a mass audience, we expose the company to considerable costs that will not necessarily show a return. Precise targeting of advertisements to very specific groups and more careful selection of methods of communication with customers, although it significantly reduces the number of recipients of such an advertisement, allows you to use the budget much more effectively. Even if it is small.

Where to start multicultural marketing?

There is no uniform path for every company. It not only depends on whether the activities related to ethnic marketing have already been used in the company, but also on how long the company has been in the market, to which groups it addresses its message, who its main customer is, and what its current strategy is. However, there are a few steps that should definitely not be missed:

  1. Divide your audience into specific ethnic and / or cultural groups that you want to reach
  2. Know your audience well – what problems they want to solve, what makes them buy, what they like about your product, but also: what are their beliefs, traditions, culture, holidays, and symbols.
  3. Select a communication method – If you know what media they use and how they buy your product, you will be able to quickly determine which communication methods to focus on, and which to give up.
  4. Analyse other companies – the pioneers of multicultural marketing are usually the largest corporations which, reaching customers from all over the world, have to adapt to the unique differences between them. An example is Google, which has launched Accelerate, dedicated to small businesses, owned by women and cultural minorities:
Accelerate from Google

5. Plan your long-term and short-term strategy – like any marketing strategy, multicultural marketing must be part of a coherently operating machine, the expected results of which will be spread over time. By using, for example, specific holidays throughout the year, you can plan in advance what marketing activities you will take at a given moment.

In multicultural marketing, it is important not only to properly differentiate the message, but also its consistency. Brand identification, basic values or even the tone of the message should be common to all advertising segments. This is essential for customers to be able to recognise your brand, regardless of their origin. It is a very difficult task. If you need help, contact our multicultural marketing specialists.