Multicultural Marketing? – Everything you need to know
When trying to reach a diverse audience, the goal of a business is to appear to be knowledgeable and have empathy. Everyone knows that companies are always trying to sell something, so it is imperative that the outreach message is socially current and aware. Having a multicultural consumer base means that a business must have a multi-faceted marketing campaign.
What exactly is multicultural marketing?
Multicultural marketing is fundamentally “a marketing strategy that recognizes the differences in culture and ethnicity of a target market”. A business may recognize that it has a diverse customer base, but that doesn’t mean its marketing strategies are culturally relevant. Imagine creating a sales campaign for a product around the date of October 11th. This day is widely known as Columbus Day, but in recent years there have been efforts to recognize the federal holiday as Indigenous Peoples Day.
As a business, it is important to be aware of the evolution of social etiquette around historical events and how they relate to its marketing strategies. Many companies still offer discounts and sales around “Columbus Day”. But many other organizations begin to move on a more uplifting Native American road on October 11.e. Instead of having a sales campaign, many companies are now opting for campaigns based more on initiatives that focus on Indigenous people, and they have often looked at the impact on history.
Initiating this marketing shift based on Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day can be seen as inclusive and aimed at an underserved and marginalized group. This not only portrays a business as culturally informed, but also exposes it to new customer demographics. According to a 2019 poll, “79% of students surveyed supported replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, according to Pulse College, a data analysis and survey company.
Attracting a newer and younger demographic can be crucial in keeping a business relevant in the industry. Businesses can market products and services for Columbus Day if they wish. But the demographics that interact and interact with the message will likely be older and more conservative. This in itself is not wrong. However, companies should keep in mind how their messages attract certain demographics and repel others.
Speaking of pushing others away, sometimes trying to bring people together, who they think they are, multicultural marketing can do the opposite. Another cultural festival that has made cultural waves over the past year is Juneteenth.
Recently transformed into a federal holiday, Juneteenth commemorates the official end of slavery for African Americans in Galveston, Texas in 1866 (3 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation). Juneteenth has been celebrated by African Americans in the state of Texas for decades. But, with ongoing discussions of police brutality, racial inequality and activist Opal Lee pushing to make it a federally recognized holiday, Juneteenth has become the cultural focal point.
Many companies had already created marketing campaigns focused on Black Lives Matter, in an attempt to show their solidarity with the black community. But, with Juneteenth becoming an official holiday nationwide, some businesses have seen an opportunity to reach out to a minority demographic in more depth.
However, as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Below are a few examples of businesses trying and failing to cultivate a marketing campaign around Juneteenth.
Example 1: Old Navy suspended a Juneteenth campaign after asking black influencers to buy the brand’s Juneteenth t-shirts, in addition to slashing prices, according to Plain mode. “
Example 2: “The San Jose Sharks of the NHL recently deleted a Twitter post which depicts his mascot breaking the literal chains of slavery.
Example 3: “A Ford place which has been going on for the past week, made up of what looks like archival footage, also tries to honor the holidays.
(Examples provided by Morningbrew.com)
These marketing scenarios show how the misuse of multicultural marketing can, at best, embarrass the demographic a business is trying to reach, or at worst, offend them deeply. Each scenario mentioned above has missed the mark in trying to show solidarity with the African American demographics. When a business does not fully research the cultural customs of the population it is trying to reach, this can lead to a major backlash.
One thing that many businesses tend to forget when creating a multicultural marketing campaign is the importance of being specific. It is often forgotten that not all black people are ethnically African-American. Blacks come from all over the world. Another thing to consider is that not all African Americans celebrated June 15 before it became a national holiday.
Specifically, African Americans in Texas celebrated Juneteenth. So a hockey team in San Jose, Calif. Creating an article on June 10 might not reach the intended audience. A franchise sports team in Texas would have an easier time reaching the intended audience due to demographics and location.
Creating a multicultural campaign can be a delicate task in an environment of political, cultural and social upheaval. It is extremely important to know how to read the part, or in this case, read the digital part. With social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc., it’s easier than ever to rate a potential audience on what they like and dislike as a consumer.
As a business, make a habit of studying your customer base. See who they follow, what posts they like, and what content they comment on. It’s part of being aware of what conversation is.
As stated earlier, being culturally aware is an important part of creating successful multicultural campaigns. If a business wants to target Hispanic / Latin American, they should consider incorporating their native Spanish language into the outreach message.
If that same company wants to run a Juneteenth campaign, it should consider donating a portion of the sales of the products purchased to programs and initiatives that help uplift the African American community. Finally, if this company decides they want to use October 11e To honor Native Americans, one strategy might be to donate product sales to institutions and resources that can highlight and educate about pre-colonial Native American civilization.
This is where empathy comes in. The intended target audience needs to feel that a company can understand some aspect of its culture. People know that the main goal of a business is to sell a product. This means that a business has to be very careful and pay attention to how their message can be perceived positively and negatively.
If a business makes a mistake or has a history of cultural / racial insensitivity, it must be willing to show how it will actually change for the better. Think how a company like Vogue was greeted with skepticism when editor-in-chief Anna Wintour promised readers that she acknowledged the magazine had failed to promote various fashion designers. Even the former employees were skeptical.
True healing takes time and action on the part of those who have played a role in marginalizing those who are not part of the majority white population. Businesses need to earn the trust of their audiences, regardless of demographics, by being honest and consistent.
A successful multicultural marketing campaign does not make a company the beacon of diversity. Putting the audience first is always the key to successfully reaching them.