Multicultural Marketing April 2003

About This Report

In the 2000 census in the United States, nearly a quarter of the population identified its race as other than white alone. This finding has marketing implications for a wide range of companies. Indeed, the multicultural marketplace has reached a critical mass, and it continues to grow. The challenge for marketers is to pinpoint links between cultural identity and consumer behavior because, except in culture-specific products such as Mexican food, cultural identity rarely predicts most forms of consumer behavior. For this reason, companies cannot afford to throw away their usual approach to predicting consumer behavior, which calls for analyzing demographic patterns, psychology, attitudes toward product categories, and brand preferences. Nonetheless, analyzing the influence of cultural identity on purchase decisions can still be a useful exercise because some members of ethnic groups already have attitudes conducive to the purchase of certain products and services, and a culture-based message may provide the push they need to buy a company's products. Such multicultural marketing, which leverages cultural identity in advertising messages and in the focus of product features and benefits, can be a powerful tool for reaching this set of consumers. Cultural knowledge can help marketers find the best way to create relevant product offerings, convey product benefits to specific cultural groups, determine what brand benefits drive these groups' purchases, and identify influence agents for them. This presentation highlights the key considerations for companies seeking to reach out to specific cultural groups, highlighting points that companies must be aware of in positioning products for and gearing advertising messages to specific cultural groups.