Just like America itself, the American economy is now made up of many different cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions. The same people who made America the great melting pot are now contributing to the American economy. For businesses across the nation, this means that change is coming.

Creating products and services strictly for “red-blooded American” as well as exclusively marketing to them is no longer an option. There are Latinos, Native Americans, Asians and a variety of other cultures that deserve to be marketed to directly, as well.

But instead of struggling to keep up with changing times, hoping your regular marketing strategy will stick to people from all walks of life, now is the opportunity to fine-tune your business to appeal to the masses while reaching people on a personal level. Here are some tips to help you develop a multicultural marketing strategy.

Target Research

Although many companies have tried to implement a multicultural marketing strategy, not everyone has succeeded. And while many factors can make or break a marketing campaign, the leading killer is usually a lack of target research. Without performing the proper research, meaning looking into the language, traditions, superstitions, political, geographical, and probably one hundred other variables or a particular culture, you might end up producing an unnecessary product, unwanted service, or worse, an offensive marketing campaign.

The most famous incident of a marketing blunder due to lack of target research has to be the Chevy Nova. In 1966, Chevrolet built a sleek looking automobile that was sure to make their drivers feel like they were gliding towards the stars, hence the name. However, Latin Americans interpreted the name “Nova” differently since it technically means “no go” in Spanish. While Chevy was still able to sell a good amount of Novas in the Latin American market, they certainly didn’t do as well as they had hoped. All because of a silly missed connection having to do with one four letter word.

Four years later, American Motors made a similar mistake by naming a car “Matador”. To many Americans, the word “matador” excites them, thrills them, and reminds them of the manly sport of bullfighting. But we might only have those connotations because many of us have never actually experienced bullfighting. In various Latin American countries, however, bullfighting had been outlawed and frowned upon. A car that symbolizes a shameful and culturally unaccepted sport would be of no interest to them.

The moral of the story is that target research is the key ingredient when it comes to developing a multicultural strategy. If you want to capture a new audience, it simply comes down to understanding their culture inside and out.

Engage Consumers

Target research can get you pretty far, but looking into studies and performing online surveys and research can only take you part of the way. All the target research in the world actually can’t help you when it comes to engaging your consumers. However, now that you’re armed with an arsenal of data about your audience’s needs, wants, goals, and so on, you can now use that information to engage them more and more.

Start by engaging your consumers in your target research process. Ask them about how businesses can help them with their family lives, personal goals, careers, and other aspects of their lives. You’ll probably end up finding a few ways to include your business in their aspirations. From focus groups to getting on cultural forums to even writing Facebook posts, blogs, and email newsletters in different languages, you can have the very consumers you’re looking to market to tell you how to market to their peers successfully.

As you engage your consumers more regularly, you’ll find patterns as to how they like to interact with businesses and each other. For instance, Latinos are some of the biggest users of smartphones and social media sites. This means they are constantly checking their Facebook and Twitter accounts while on the go. Taking a more mobile approach to marketing, like shorter content, text offers, and mobile ads, would be more beneficial for that demographic.

Business owners understand that the economy changes, but they should also understand that demographics change with it. Therefore, it’s important to prepare your company for reaching new audiences that might differ in language, culture, traditions, and various other factors. It’s not easy to make that preparation happen, but it’s vital to your business’ success when the American economy is seeing more and more minorities make up larger portions of market share.

Develop a multicultural marketing strategy for your business through performing target research that includes cultural and geographic factors, as well as by engaging the actual consumers you’d like to market to. Their voice will clue you into their needs and wants as a consumer, giving your business the greatest opportunity possible to market straight to them.

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