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Basics of Multicultural Marketing

Thursday, January 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Marketing campaigns try to appeal to many different groups of people; thus, all marketing efforts share some characteristics and techniques. Many courses of study — including those in online MBA programs — specialize in multicultural marketing. More and more business schools are recognizing that appealing to specific cultures requires more than a standard MBA education.

What Is Multicultural Marketing?

Contemporary marketing, as a discipline, developed under very different economic circumstances than those we see today. While the Industrial Revolution ushered in new global economic conditions that made marketing integral to business, communication across geographic boundaries was slow. Marketing mainly concentrated on monocultures within a specific geographic area. As more globalized economies have developed, multicultural marketing has become important for even small- and medium-sized businesses.

At its most basic, multicultural marketing is “targeting and communicating [with] ethnic segments based on their diverse cultural framework” (Stachura and Murphy). It is meeting consumers where they are, rather than forcing them to markets where they are less comfortable. Multicultural marketing pays attention to the different ways that cultures consume goods and services.

Multicultural Marketing Metrics

César M. Melgoza is founder and CEO of Geoscape, an international business intelligence company. In the U.S. alone, Melgoza contends, “currently active Asian and Hispanic households on average will out-spend white non-Hispanic households by more than $800,000 and $300,000, respectively, during the remainder of their lifetimes.” Capturing these consumers’ attention and loyalty is the focus of multicultural marketing.

Writing for Entrepreneur magazine, Melgoza lists four important multicultural marketing metrics:

1. Country of Origin

Melgoza explains that “consumers from two different countries are likely not purchasing the same products.” Even if they are geographically close, two consumers from two different countries will make different buying decisions.

2. Neighborhood Demographics

Though countries of origin influence buying decisions, so do current living conditions. The dominant presence of a particular ethnic group in a neighborhood could strongly affect the buying habits of the other residents.

3. Acculturation

If country of origin and neighborhood demographics focus on the non-dominant cultures in a particular country, acculturation looks at the opposite: the degree to which “multiculturals retain their native cultures while incorporating elements of the new culture that they have joined” (Melgoza). Acculturation examines the extent to which two (or more) cultures blend to create a new culture with unique buying preferences.

4. Buying History and Preferences

Multicultural marketing also relies on data about segments’ buying history and preferences to craft the best messaging for different cultures. Some professionals who pursue online MBA programs go on to specialize in collecting this data. Others specialize in analyzing buying preferences to predict future behaviors.

Multicultural Marketing Education

Multicultural marketing continues to develop as cultures across the world increasingly interact. In response to the changing needs of global markets, more and more business schools are offering online MBA programs. These programs give students the flexibility to pursue an advanced degree without sacrificing their existing careers. Scheduling options that offer more leeway, including time-to-completion, allow working students to enroll in programs that suit their lives.

Multicultural marketing is a dynamic field with strong job prospects, and the many educational options available are a draw for students seeking career advancement.

Learn about University of Texas Rio Grande Valley online MBA in International Trade program.


Multicultural Marketing: Why One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Entrepreneur: Multicultural Marketing Is All About the Metrics

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