Minority Marketing

There are various environmental factors that must be considered in the designing of the marketing strategy.  The microenvironment, as part of the company’s marketing environment, consists of factors that directly impact the company and its ability to serve.  The macroenvironment, on the other hand, includes the larger societal and cultural forces that affect the microenvironment (Multicultural Marketing).

Another name for minority marketing is multicultural marketing, which entails communication with diverse cultures or market segments that belong to diverse backgrounds as well as settings.  Cultures determine how members of society think, feel, and act (Haralambos and Holborn, 1995).  Hence, culture also determines the tastes of people in products that they would actually purchase.

As a matter of fact, cultural values of a society are reflected in the members’ views of organizations, products, services, and other environmental entities.  Therefore, it is essential for a company planning to market to minorities to gain an understanding of the culture of the minorities in question.  Only by understanding the culture and values of the minorities may the organization be able to provide its targeted consumers with the products and services they would eventually buy.

Through advertising and public relations with segmented media, an organization may come into contact with any diverse group that it wants to target through its marketing strategy.  By placing an ad or article in the language of a minority group, the company may easily get its message across.  Experts indicate that it makes very good business sense to include the people of color, different age groups, genders, in addition to people with disabilities, in advertisements as well as other marketing materials.  This strategy allows for powerful, nonverbal communication which goes deep into the mind of the consumer (Multicultural Marketing).

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It is also essential for organizations to take into account the meaning of differing cultural universes (Dr. Michael Hurd).  As an example, the American Motor Corporation named its product, the “Matador,” only to realize later that to Puerto Ricans, the word means “killer.”  Another example revealing the significance of understanding cultural universes has to do with ethics.

In this case, a 30-second advertising spot proved to be an expensive error on the part of Doubletree Hotels Corporation, seeing that it was deemed as offensive to the Arab community, portraying the staff of the hotel wearing Arab-style clothing and bowing to guests.  This ad segment was interpreted as the staff worshipping or imploring visitors.  As the majority of Arabs worship the one true God, the ad was seen to ridicule them (International Business Customs).

Organizations cannot assume that all people of the nation would have the same cultural values.  Rather, it is ethical to take into account the societal and religious practices as well as beliefs of the people that the organization targets in its marketing strategy as potential customers.  After all, the marketing mix is meant to satisfy customers.  Therefore, it is of the essence for the organization to analyze the what, where, when, and how of consumer behavior.  The social factor is very important in the consumer’s decision to make a purchase.  This factor is influenced by opinion leaders, the consumer’s family, reference groups, culture and social class.

Understanding different cultures helps an organization to produce that which a particular market segment demands.  Given that Chinese Americans have a strong preference for communicating in their native language, a company that wants to target Chinese Americans may want to write the name of its product on marketing literature in both English and Chinese.  According to research, the Hispanics too have a preference to communicate in their own language.  Sixty eight percent of Hispanics in Houston indicated that they prefer to watch Spanish language television.  Hence, an organization that wants to target Hispanic Americans may want to spend more of its marketing funds on ads that would be run on Spanish language television (Qaddumi, 1999).

Back in 1998, research further revealed that given the Chinese emphasis on new technology, at least 72.1% of Chinese American families have access to computes and at least 53% have access to the Internet.  Hence, it is easy to target Chinese American consumers through Internet marketing (Chinese American, 1998).  What is more, a majority of Hispanic Americans indicated that food coupons had a great influence on their purchasing decisions.

Once again, marketing research based on minorities as the target consumers of an organization, can work wonders for the organization.  Every minority group has differing needs with relevance to its cultural practices.  An organization that includes ethical considerations with special reference to minority groups, is more likely to satisfy its target consumers with its marketing approach, seeing that this organization is not bound to ridicule its consumers instead of pleasing them.

One very successful organization targeting minorities through its media campaigns is Southwest Airlines.  The fourth largest major airline in the United States especially targets African Americans as well as Hispanics.  The result? – Today, Southwest Airlines is a model organization that everybody would like to study in terms of marketing strategy.

References

“Chinese American Social Behavior Index.” (1998, Jan 24). Asian Trends. Online. Internet. 26 Jul. 2001.

Churchill, Richard. (2001, April 2). “Southwest Airlines Powering a Sales Liftoff – Southwest Airlines Co. advertising targets African-Americans.” Brandweek.
“Dr. Michael Hurd on Effective Therapy.” Dr. Hurd’s Website. Online. Internet. 25 Jul. 2001.
Haralambos, Michael, and Holborn, Martin. (1995). Sociology—Themes and Perspectives. 4th ed. London: Collins Educational.
“International Business Customs” Eglobal Greetings. Online. Internet. 21 Jun. 2001.
6.      “Multicultural Marketing.” About the Human Internet. Online. Internet. 25 Jul. 2001.

7.      Qaddumi, Thora. (1999, September 15). “’Impact’: Houston Hispanic market is ripe for Marketing.” Houston Business Journal. Online. Internet. 25 Jul. 2001.

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