Multicultural Marketing by Victor Edozien of The Asaba Group Holdings

Book Excerpt: Alfred Schreiber’s Multicultural Marketing – Selling to the New America

How should a company find success in America’s growing multicultural markets?

That is a disarmingly simple question. Therefore, I will answer in an equally simple way.

A company should think about entering the new markets in essentially the same way it would think about entering a new market abroad. You begin by asking these strategic questions:

1. What are the relevant market segments? (Size and defining attributes)

2. What is your unique value proposition to these segments? How well do your products fit the needs of the target consumers?

3. What are the optimal channels to fulfil the requirements of the target segments?

To achieve success you must find answers to the questions mentioned earlier:

What are my relevant market segments?

Remember that not every Vietnamese will buy your product. It is more likely that a target segment, perhaps two million Vietnamese, will potentially buy what you have to sell. They are your relevant market segment.

Then, taking things further, you can divide the potential two million target consumers. You may determine that there is a segment that will buy your premium product and another segment that will buy your value product.

What is your value proposition? How well do your products match the needs of customers in these segments?

What products will these consumers want? Keeping in mind that the desired products may be somewhat different from those you have in your current portfolio.

Back to our example, in Vietnam, you might identify two unique customer segments to target: Upscale consumers and more general, value-oriented consumers.

It is unrealistic to view the Vietnamese population as monolithic. Yet here in American, some corporations market to African-Americans, Asians or Hispanics through a monolithic lens.

By way of example, let us say I am a manufacturer of fine dinnerware and I am going into the Vietnamese marketplace. There may exist a consumer segment, which will desire high-end, premium dinnerware.

Now when you look at your product portfolio and say, “What product do I have in my portfolio that is high-end fine china?”

You might say, “Okay, I have some elegant gold-encrusted patterns which might meet the needs of the consumer.” Alternatively, you might do even better and say, “The patterns that will sell best must be unique and culturally relevant to that population - I can’t position something in my existing lineup as what they want.”

Therefore, you can take the product and make incremental changes so it is relevant to the high- end Vietnamese customer segment. This is all about ensuring optimum fit between your products and the target customer.

What is the relevant channel for selling your product?

In other to sell product, you must have it available where the target customer will most likely seek it. In our example, high-end Vietnamese consumer will seek the product in the higher-end channels e.g. department stores etc. While the value product at the mass-market retailers. This same principle applies to ethnic markets.

So the key point for corporations, is a need to understand that multicultural marketing is not simply taking existing products and advertising it to your target consumers through appropriate media, but its determining the appropriate products and placing it in the relevant channels and markets.

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