Multicultural Markets--The Trillion Dollar Markets You Never ConsideredBy: Alvin Apple
What would you do if you discovered a virtually untapped market with a buying power of over a trillion dollars? You would try to market to them, right? Of course you would!
This trillion dollar market segment that has been overlooked for so long is composed of America's minorities.
Multicultural marketing is fast becoming, not the trend, but the norm in America. You see more ads featuring African-American families, commercials in Spanish with English subtitles or commercials that celebrate a minority culture.
Many advertisers who wish to tap into this market think that replacing a Caucasian actor or model with a minority is good enough. Wrong! Anyone can spot such a disingenuous act a mile away.
So if equal representation doesn't do the trick, then what does?
In many ways, multicultural marketing is no different than any other kind of marketing. The first thing you must do is understand who your target market is.
Here is a breakdown of your largest target demographics:
What I suggest is that you do what it takes to become familiar with the cultures. It is difficult to go out and immerse yourself in a culture that is so different from yours, so I won't demand that you experience everything first hand. Although that is the most educational experience.
Consider taking a college or community education class on diversity. I took one of these classes during my own college education and I couldn't believe how much it changed my perspective on minority culture. The most important thing you can learn in a diversity class is how to see things from the perspective of another culture--how to shift your paradigm. This is exaclty what you need to do when marketing to a different culture.
There are also plenty of publications out there dealing with the business and marketing trends in Hispanic, Asian and African-American culture. Reading the ads in ethnic publications tells you what your competitors are doing, as well as what appeals to different groups. Don't hesitate to watch BET or Univision to get more ideas on what appeals to African Americans and Latin Americans.
What you are looking to do is understand the basic characteristics of the three groups. Learn to appreciate the subtleties of each group so you can know how they think, and also avoid marketing errors that could cost you potential customers. Learn to Tailor ad messages to the specific needs, wants and values of a group, and you will be able to break into that trillion dollar market.
© 2002, Alvin Apple
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