How to Leverage Multicultural Marketing for Maximum Money

by Eddie Reeves on July 20, 2014

Your business’ sales are drying up and you don’t know what to do about it.

Here is one of the smartest questions you can ask yourself:  Am I leaving big money on the table simply because of my own cultural blind spot?

Answering this question forthrightly can lead to huge breakthroughs in growing your revenues and profits, because multicultural marketing – aiming part of your business development toward racial and ethnic communities – has proven to be particularly effective and cost-efficient.

Diverse Populations are Growing

The percentage of non-Anglos in the United States is growing rapidly.  Nonwhites will comprise 55% of the US population by 2050, up from 30% in 2002.  And they have hundreds of billions to spend.

Major corporations long ago jumped on the substantial opportunity in multicultural marketing. In the 1990s, Ford’s greatest gains over General Motors came from targeting the African American market. In 2003, McDonald’s launched an ad campaign for Spanish-speaking audiences that led to a whopping 32% increase in sales.

But as successful as corporate giants have been in multicultural marketing, the opportunities are even bigger for small and medium-sized businesses, which are by definition closer to their customers.

What You Should Do

So how can you make your business more relevant to diverse audiences and reap the benefits of doing so? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Plan your plays. To be successful in multicultural marketing, just as with any other major business undertaking, you must start with careful planning. Don’t just assume you can do what you’ve always done, just with different pictures or people.  Bringing in seasoned experts with a demonstrated record of success with diverse audiences is a good idea.
  2. Colorize your crew. One of the most important keys to ensuring your effectiveness in penetrating diverse markets is to make sure your team is diverse. Having a diverse staff of employees, contractors and/or consultants who understand the needs of all your customers will improve customer service, provide crucial insight into new market opportunities and help protect your company in times of controversy.
  3. Morph your messaging. Does your advertising feature a wider array of languages and/or dialects? If not, you may be hurting yourself. One word of caution, though: Be sure to consult with writers who don’t just know the language, but who understand the nuances of the cultures of your target audiences.  Otherwise, you are potentially setting yourself up for an embarrassing gaffe.
  4. Widen you wares. Try introducing new products and services that appeal directly to the target group, because they will often drive higher sales and repeat sales than general-market products. Both Coke and Pepsi learned this lesson the hard way after losing significant store cooler space to smaller bottlers who offered fruit-based soft drinks popular with Latinos.

All these ideas are important, but the most crucial thing a business leader who wants to grow among diverse target markets can do is to the make the firm decision to get started on it now, not later.

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