Marketers face a variety of challenges these days. Consumer behavior is changing at a fast pace, with more than half of consumers using mobile devices to shop. The use of social media continues to have a major impact on everyday life, and emerging markets are causing advertisers to rethink their strategies. These are just a few examples that underscore how marketers need to remain alert and adaptable, providing new opportunities for research firms that are focused on qualitative methods. Whether you deal with consumers via retail stores, marketing campaigns, or targeted emails and website visits, understanding consumer behavior is an ever-changing puzzle that requires marketers to stay current.
When it comes to marketing, there are some tried and true methods of reaching multicultural markets—like understanding cultural values, marketing tactics, and trends. Below we will cover five tips that matter most for individuals and businesses who are looking for a place to start when developing their marketing strategies—and nail multicultural research.
Tip #1: Including multicultural representation in your marketing campaign and ad materials is essential to avoid alienating any portion of the population.
In the United States, people of color make up more than half of the population and have the buying power of $1.4 trillion. In a multicultural world, ignoring the Hispanic market is an unwise decision for brands. Catering to this growing market means more than just translating products into Spanish and translating ads into Spanish—it's about understanding the cultures of these Hispanic communities across many demographics, including age, gender, language, and more. To tap into this lucrative market without alienating other ethnic groups or creating a marketing mishap that could potentially be detrimental to your brand, you need to understand how to keep up with diversity in your marketing campaign and ad materials.
Tip #2: Compare survey demographics to ensure results are reflective of the population.
Survey respondents that do not match the population can produce misleading results. Comparing survey demographics to the overall population allows you to determine whether adjustments need to be made to the data to ensure results are reflective of the population. This is particularly important when you are making business decisions based on survey results. If you have a small sample size, it is important that you consider the demographic characteristics of your sample carefully. If they are significantly different from the overall population, you may want to adjust your calculations and analysis accordingly.
Tip #3: Offer participants the option to complete a survey in their native language.
Whether you're conducting a web-based survey or a phone study, it's important to find out whether participants will be comfortable with the language of your questions. If they’re not at ease, they won’t be able to give you their honest opinions, which will make it impossible to conduct a quality study. Participants may appreciate being given the opportunity to complete the questionnaire in their native language. This can be particularly important for lengthy and in-depth questionnaires, especially for studies conducted by phone. It can also be helpful for participants who are less proficient in English, but this should be balanced against the additional costs of translation. If a translation is not available for your survey, you may wish to provide an interpreter as an alternative.
Tip #4: Make sure that translations are authentic and avoid overly formal language
If you need to translate your website for international audiences, there are some tips to keep in mind. The first thing to do is find a professional translator who can help you with the process. You should also make sure that the translator has experience translating web content. If the translator does not have adequate experience, the translation will not be optimized for search results and may look awkward or unprofessional. Make sure that your website is translated by a native speaker of the target language. This will give it a more authentic look and feel and avoid any awkward sentences that make it sound unprofessional or unnatural. Avoid overly formal language as well; this can cause you to lose credibility with your audience.
Tip #5: Avoid question types that use complicated rating scales and grids.
Question types that use rating scales and grids are some of the most suspect question types on a survey. They can be incredibly difficult to maintain in terms of quality control. Treat these question types like you would any other type of question: first, think about whether or not you really need it. If you do, then assess the value your marketing team will receive from collecting the data and if it truly justifies the costs associated with implementation. As a rule, the simpler your survey design, the better. You want to use question types that get right to the point, do not ask leading questions, and do not use rating scales or grids.
It's no secret that multicultural marketing is about more than just marketing to those who are not white. It encompasses all aspects of marketing, from developing a strategy to making sure the message is communicated to the correct audience. Looking at how cultures communicate, react and engage with content is imperative in order to reach your target market. It is important to remember that there are as many different ways to market within multicultural groups as there are groups. Research is the most important step in multicultural marketing. Building a strong foundation of knowledge and finding out what your target audience likes, dislikes, and wants will help you develop a campaign that will be widely accepted. Do not rush into a campaign without first taking the time to conduct market research.