Successful organizations such as Walmart, McDonald's, Citibank, and Walt Disney have already made significant inroads in building strong relationships with immigrant communities. For example, Walmart has opened supermarkets, aptly labeled as Supermercado de Walmart, serving Hispanic dominated neighborhoods in Phoenix and Houston. In another instance, Mcdonald's seeks out insights gathered from ethnic markets to develop menus and design advertising campaigns. This effort to target ethnic markets has translated to strong business performance for McDonald's, even during the recession. The strong appeal of immigrant consumers cut across a wide range of industry sectors that include finance, insurance, telecoms, automotive, real estate and retail. Ethnic markets are here to stay, and companies can no longer ignore their growing prominence in the marketplace.
In an environment where marketing managers are increasingly held accountable for the resources that are used, ethnic consumers are fast becoming a very attractive consumer segment. Besides top line benefits such as increased revenues and higher market shares, organizations also enjoy a very high rate of return for each dollar spent on ethnic marketing campaigns.
In this day and age, corporations that want to succeed in the marketplace need to complement existing brand strategies with multicultural marketing efforts. In this regard, many firms fail to engage the ethnic market, often taking for granted the intricacy of transforming mainstream advertising into effective ethnic marketing campaigns. Multicultural marketing goes beyond using the appropriate language or casting for a proper model. Successful campaigns speak directly to the hearts and minds of the immigrant communities.
Marketers need to have a deep understanding and sincere appreciation of the diverse cultures and traditions that make up the immigrant landscape. However, developing the expertise on multicultural markets is often an immense challenge for many organizations. Finding the right talent is difficult enough, more so finding the right talent with the right connections within ethnic communities. A more popular approach to developing in-house capabilities is to partner with marketing firms that do have the right connections. Either way, at the end of the day, organizations need to be actively reaching out to their audiences through local opinion leaders, community events and activities, and ethnic media channels.
The new reality is here today, where the minority in now the majority. Organizations that embrace the new reality are poised for rapid growth in the new millennium; those that don't run the risk of getting left behind.