Multicultural Marketing Show Me You Know Me
By Jim Stachura and Meg Murphy
Multicultural marketing is no different than other marketing in that marketers must research, plan, develop and execute campaigns based on the feedback from their various audiences. After all, what may be appealing to one culture might have the opposite effect on another. In order to avoid alienating customers, marketers are applying Web survey technology to pre-test everything from overall messaging to creative layout to appeal to a variety of sources.
However, language is just one part of the overall communication process. To facilitate cultural adaptations, the savvy marketer starts with awareness and understanding—something that easily can be achieved by surveying and pre-testing assumptions to better define and use the right mix of cultural variables. These variables could include something as simple as using multicultural faces in your campaign photography to increase the rapport between your organization and your audience, or adjusting color preferences and graphic presentation forms to increase the effectiveness of your Web site presentation. To achieve competitive edge in campaigns, you must understand the cultural differences and lifestyle characteristics of Latino versus African, etc.
Another lifestyle variable you might also want to consider is timing, particularly since holidays vary by both country and culture. Targeting a campaign around a holiday often requires timing adjustments. For example, Mother's Day is observed on a different day in Latin-American countries than in the United States. While some American-based Latinos have adopted the U.S. date, others have not. To meet the needs of various Latino audiences, savvy multicultural marketers may choose to spread the campaign over a longer period of time to cover the date range based on the preferences identified in their survey search.
Finally, keep in mind that language can affect the market research process itself. For instance, if a survey in only English returns dismal results, it could simply be a matter of tuning into the native language.
Jim Stachura is director of research and analytics at Aelera, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based consulting company. Meg Murphy is a vice president at Inquisite, an Austin, Texas-based provider of online survey technology. For more, visit www.americanmulticultural.com.