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By The Gonzales Group

RISMEDIA, June 19, 2008-Studies have shown that it costs up to five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer.

In our research, we have found that multicultural consumers either refuse or switch service or products because the level of bilingual, cultural, or community-friendly service fails to meet their expectations. There is often a disconnect between the perceived quality of service delivered and what is expected.

While language is usually the biggest obstacle to reaching the multicultural consumer, translation is not the only solution to the bigger service delivery problem. One report found that customer service representatives often do not speak adequate Spanish and therefore do not understand the inappropriate customer communication that is occurring. The negative impact on organizational and brand reputation from poor customer service can take many years to recover from.

Given that ethnic diversity in the U.S. is far more reflective of the global landscape, it is even more imperative for marketers to fully understand cultural differences, community influence, language treatments, and purchase drivers and to integrate them into their everyday marketing strategies and tactics.

Reaching the multicultural consumer requires providing reliable products, prompt and responsive service, front-line staff that are empowered to resolve problems, knowledgeable staff, empathy with the customer, and an organization with a sense of community trusteeship. While these are mainstream “must-do’s,” they are much more profound with the multicultural home buyer.

Multicultural marketing is no different from mainstream marketing in that marketers must research, plan, develop, and execute their campaigns based on feedback from their targeted audiences. Multicultural markets are just another specialty market. What may be appealing to one culture might have the opposite effect on another. To be effective, multicultural marketing strategy requires understanding the psychographics of these sub-cultures.

Being perceived as a friend to the multicultural community is just as important as the service you provide. Building relational equity only enhances your bottom line.

At the Gonzales Group we provide the business solutions to build strong cultural awareness and profitable connections with the multicultural consumer.

For more information, visit