Consultant Suggests Cross-Cultural Marketing to Expand Your Business

Consultant Suggests Cross-Cultural Marketing to Expand Your Business

Designers seeking to diversify their firm's marketing approach should expand their horizons and consider targeting the rapidly increasing cross-cultural consumer market.

This is the belief of Felipe Korzenny, principal and co-founder of Cheskin, a consulting and strategic marketing research firm, based in Rosewood Shores, CA.

Korzenny, who headed up the "Cross-Cultural Marketing: The Case Study of the U.S. Hispanic Market" seminar at this year's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Orlando, suggests that firms should first understand the needs of the individuals, societies and cultures that they plan to attract before formulating their marketing campaign. For instance, personality, taste, family relations and world views should all be taken into account. Also of importance, he believes, are cultural background, social context, personal experience and characteristics.

As he explains: "Opportunities in culturally diverse markets require paradigm shifts to truly make a difference."

Specifically, Korzenny cites the U.S. Hispanic market as a prime target for those seeking to expand their consumer base, since this market has grown to some 35 million people in 2000 (from 10 million in 1980), and will have an estimated purchasing power of one trillion dollars by 2012.

Referencing a U.S. Bureau of the Census report, Korzenny points out that marketing plans should account for the population of different demographics within U.S. cities. For instance, he notes that Los Angeles and New York account for some 10 million Hispanic consumers, with Miami, Chicago Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose representing another six million. Therefore, the better you know your city's demographics, the better you will be able to take advantage of the changing market by targeting the fastest-growing segments in your area.

Korzenny offers the following tips for successfully reaching a cross-cultural consumer base:

  • Take advantage of brand heritage. Be sure not to fail to support equity.
  • Position the firm in culturally relevant ways. Avoid the pitfall of assuming that all consumers want the same benefits. The more you know about the tastes, desires and lifestyles of your target market, the better you'll be able to meet their needs and win their business.
  • Obtain in-depth consumer insights. This means knowing the product and what it represents to different ethnicities. Avoid using a generalized "one size fits all" communication approach.
  • Build long-term relationships. Having a short-sighted approach to any marketing plan can spell disaster in the long run.
  • Capitalize on cultural pride. Do not wait for customers of other cultures to "catch up" with mainstream trends. Rather, capitalize on each culture's pride in the unique traits, tastes and trends that speak to their heritage.

These techniques will not only enable firms to capitalize on the buying power of specific demographics, but will also enable the firms to gain a better understanding of the entire culture, he says.

"Acculturation is the current trend. Cultural pride has increased, and there is an increased acceptance of diversity," he explains. "Use their native language, even if English is understood, because it communicates to the consumer on an emotional level."