Seems that the majority of the big marketing gurus in 60 odd companies surveyed by executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles believed that multicultural marketing was critical to their business but about 24 of them said they can’t quantify it. Come on! What a cop out!
The financial worth of multicultural segments is relatively easy to determine…at least here in Canada. According to Marketing Magazine, South Asians, Chinese, Italians and Portuguese account for more than $36 billion in annual expenditure, or 24 per cent of the total market dollars in the GTA. The South Asian market is worth $12.6 billion annually in Toronto alone.
But it’s not just about not knowing. I think it’s also about not caring. Getting the senior exec to buy-in and support multicultural or ethno-marketing was a significant roadblock for the marketing gurus. And who wants to fight that battle when it’s easier to stick with the status quo?
I think it’s pretty simple…if you want to connect to your customer, you need to know your customer. Doesn’t matter if they’re black, white, brown, yellow, pink or maroon. Okay it DOES matter if they’re maroon but that’s probably a medical issue not a marketing issue. You have to understand your customer in their own environment. This means doing what Unilever just did – shaking up the ranks to reflect the opportunities that exist in their market. The marketing departments of companies that feel that multicultural marketing is a good strategy need to be as diverse as the targets they are trying to reach. Some of the enlightened ones have already figured out that woman make purchase decisions (yes really!) and now have woman represented in senior management. I believe it’s time to extend this line of thinking to include other market segments.
Don’t get how to do diversity? It’s worthwhile to find out.