Multicultural marketing: The best way to stay relevant in a recession

By The Gonzales Group | Aug. 6, 2010 | 3 min. read

As U.S. consumer markets evolve and grow, multicultural marketing has become increasingly important, especially for REALTORS®.  The demographic tide is turning and businesses that ignore these changes risk alienating the very ethnic segments that will drive sales in the coming years.

For example, the U.S. Census forecasts that the Hispanic population in Pittsburgh metropolitan area will grow by some 140 percent in the next few years. From 2000 to 2009, Pittsburgh saw its Hispanic and Asian populations increase by 47.79 percent and 37.88 percent respectively; the African-American population increased by 7.25 percent.  The traditional white non-Hispanic population decreased by 1.10 percent   

So how should marketers in the real estate and financial services industries engage multicultural consumers? 

Devote the time and resources necessary to understand the vast opportunity that exists in the growing multicultural markets.   Immerse yourself in the culture, get involved in communities where multicultural consumers live and work and try to see the world from these consumers’ point of view. This will make it easier for you to make valuable personal connections within these communities — connections that could last for years to come. Brokers should encourage their sales associates to increase their knowledge of local consumer diversity in order to help them better serve the multicultural market. Find a “change champion” within the brokerage firm who is willing to take the lead as the point person for your multicultural marketing. 

Develop market research tools and survey instruments (questionnaires, guidelines, etc) to better understand your multicultural marketplace.  If a significant portion of these consumers speaks a language other than English at home, at work or in other social settings, conduct your market research in that language. If a majority of your consumer base lives and works in a given neighborhood, target your research to those consumers, as attitudes can vary greatly from one area to the next.

Run a detailed cost-benefit analysis to discover what advantages a given multicultural marketing strategy might bring. In most cases, an in-depth analysis will reveal that an investment in multicultural markets is not only the right thing to do but is also the most cost-effective way to generate sales.

To convince your colleagues — or even your bosses — that multicultural marketing should be a priority, demonstrate that multicultural markets can increase your company’s market share. Document and measure the success of any multicultural marketing initiative. Rising sales speak for themselves, of course, but consider other ways to measure success. While the idea of creating a multicultural marketing plan from scratch can seem daunting, especially for small real estate businesses, plenty of help is available.

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