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Multicultural Marketing – Not as Complicated as You Think

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By the Gonzales Group

RISMEDIA, May 29, 2008-In the past, the process for reaching multicultural consumers was often limited to one dimensional effort such as the literal translations of general market campaigns.

Today organizations are developing new products designed specifically to meet the needs of this new America.

Companies are creating separate multicultural departments, allocating marketing budget by segment, and more importantly, setting measurable goals for each segment.

If you do undertake any type of multicultural initiative be it Hispanic or Asian, partner with the experts. Don’t try and go it alone. When planning a multicultural campaign, identify the appropriate resources and consider hiring an agency. You’re dealing with a high context culture that places a lot of emphasis on being “in” a relationship rather than being a part of it.

Do your research. It may cost you a little upfront, but it is critical to your success. Carefully study the customer and their relationship with your products or services. Don’t assume that everyone that speaks Spanish is Mexican and everyone that is Asian is Chinese. Understanding the cultural nuances of the customer is very important.

Exercise cultural connectivity. Cultural connectivity is the ability to reach a customer through their cultural context. Every country has culture connectors. In the U.S., cultural connectors can include emotions stirred when hearing the Star Spangled Banner or celebrating Thanksgiving with family. Cultural connectors such as these reinforce our values, community spirit, religion, and other societal principles.

These cultural connectors are much more profound in the multicultural community and successful real estate and financial services professionals consider these factors when dealing with the multicultural consumer. Consider how you would feel if someone insisted you come to sign closing documents on Sunday morning, a day traditionally set aside for religious and family activities for many Americans.

Perception is reality. How a community sees a company is how an individual will see the company. This basic concept is critically important when interacting with the multicultural customer. Many successful companies launch cause-related PR strategies that put the ethnic community at the center of its communications. For example, participating in a literacy walk to raise funds for the Hispanic community schools. Being active in the multicultural community and not appearing as if you are there to just make a buck is the best form of advertisement you can have.

Don’t forget to play fair. It is easy to discount someone that appears to be a challenged home buyer or that doesn’t fit the traditional home buyer profile. We are oftentimes conditioned to accept these slanted multicultural profiles as gospel and that servicing this client may mean spending more time on homebuyers that you prefer go somewhere else. In your rush to get to the next transaction, you may inadvertently be violating the law. More importantly you may be missing out on a very lucrative new client and client base that would more than likely remain very loyal to you and your company for years to come.

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability).

We experience diversity in every facet of our life. Today more than ever we realize that our country’s diversity is a blessing that many nations throughout the world are striving to achieve. Fair Housing helps us insure that we enjoy a diverse United States that we are all proud to call home.

The Bottom Line

By creating a new balance sheet, you can help your organization measure the contributions of a multicultural/diversity initiative. By putting multicultural measures into a larger context and linking it to new measures of intangible assets, you can break out of the “soft” diversity silo to show that diversity is a value-creating process for your business.

For more information, visit www.thegonzalesgroup.com.

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