What is Multicultural marketing and what does it mean for brands? 

Marketing is an essential part of running a successful brand. It helps drive revenue, build brand awareness and assemble a reliable base of loyal customers who come back time and time again. Marketing takes on many forms in today’s world, but regardless of the medium in which you run your marketing campaigns, incorporating multicultural marketing strategies into your overall advertising mix is essential. In this article, we’ll dig into what multicultural marketing really means, why it’s an essential part of any business, and how you can deploy strategies that market to ethnic groups in both a respectful and successful way.

What is multicultural marketing? 

To understand the true definition of multicultural marketing, we must first take a step back to grasp the basics of what a successful marketing strategy entails. The role of a marketer is to plan, design and execute successful strategies that resonate with the target audience for their product or service, and ultimately lead to the desired outcome or KPI, whether that be conversions or brand awareness. To be successful in marketing, understanding your audience, their habits, traditions and evolving needs, is absolutely essential for not only driving sales, but for building a base of lifetime value customers who will be loyal to your brand or service long term.

However, many traditional marketing efforts fail to speak to the masses in a successful and authentic way. When looking at the construct of the current American consumer audience, it is impossible to ignore ethnic diversity. 

Currently, about 40% of the United States population is composed of minority ethnicities that will become the majority by 2045. However, only 5.2% of total marketing spend in the US is dedicated to multicultural and inclusive marketing efforts. This is a staggering statistic that clearly shows how mainstream marketing strategies are failing to evolve as our communities do. 

Brands must not look at this number as just a statistic that can help their bottom line. What this statistic represents is how culturally diverse our communities are currently and are continuing to become. For decades, minority consumers have been vastly underrepresented in mainstream marketing, and adding more people of different religions, backgrounds and ethics to marketing campaigns isn’t enough; brands must fully understand the values, traditions and daily habits of different cultural groups if they want their marketing efforts to be truly multicultural.

Why is it important to be multicultural for a brand? 

As we mentioned above, diversifying the types of people who appear in your marketing campaigns is a good place to start, but this is only the first step to understanding multicultural marketing. Designing more inclusive campaigns that evoke a feeling or emotion associated with their traditions or religious practices can help brands increase customer engagement and create more meaningful connections with their audiences. This shows that a brand really understands that multicultural marketing is more than just trying to get a certain group of people to convert and buy your product; it’s about speaking to previously ignored and underrepresented communities in a way that the majority of brands fail to do.

Brands can also retain current customers by maintaining cultural integrity overall. In fact, 61% of consumers polled by insiderintellignce.com stated that inclusive a brands marketing efforts have a direct impact on their loyalty to said brand.  And according to AIMM, cultural representation lifts purchase intent on average by 2.8.

The Multicultural consumer base 

An effective multicultural marketing strategy will take into account not only the socio-demographics of its target audience, it will also play on the values of its community. Whether your marketing efforts are mostly digital, or more traditional in nature, having a team of multicultural marketing experts is vital for ensuring your ideas and strategies are always respectful and in line with what the community you’re trying to reach would relate to. 

How to develop a successful multicultural marketing strategy 

To create an effective multicultural campaign, you first have to define your target audience. There are lots of opportunities for brands to communicate and create a strong and meaningful connection with different ethnicities in the USA. 

Most of these ethnic groups do not have any brand attachment. They have their own favorite brands from back home but most of these brands are not present in the USA. This is where your opportunity to create meaningful bonds lies.  Do your research, who is your intended audience? What is the ultimate goal of trying to reach these customers? How does your product or service relate to your target customers’ daily life and/ or traditions? As we said, adding more people from minority groups to a mainstream campaign is great, but brands must recognize the importance of understanding the needs of many different minority groups, rather than see this bucket of consumers as one large group they need to win.

Not to state the obvious, but it’s vital to understand that different ethnicities have different ways of engaging with brands. This is important to identify in order to select the right communication styles to interact with its audience. Microsoft found that 59% of consumers are more trusting of brands who represent them in their campaigns. Therefore, it is important to personalize your campaign to your target audience: again very obvious for marketers, but it is easier said than done. 

Cultural groups; minority groups, people with different sexual orientations or diverse backgrounds do not want to be stereotyped. Break down your marketing efforts to be a little more granular and less mainstream; make it local and be authentic! This is the hardest one; it can be difficult to grasp marketing to Indians, marketing to Asian Americans and marketing to African American consumers, because each of these groups is unique in their own way, and understanding how should and will take time. 

Oftentimes, a brand’s internal marketing team is not diverse enough to understand how to effectively engage with these various groups. At MIKADO, we’re a multicultural agency with an incredibly diverse team of marketers who have designed thousands of effective strategies for multicultural consumers over the last decade.

Contact us for help on your multicultural campaign! 

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