Multicultural marketing & ethics

One of the more interesting topics we covered this term dealt with new media marketing to multicultural groups, and the ethical questions that arise. It’s an interesting and timely topic, as the demographics in the U.S. are changing. One of the statistics cited in our discussions noted that the growth of ethnic groups in the U.S. is impressive, and that during this century today’s minorities will be come the majority, as white European immigration declines.

What’s really interesting to me is how these different cultural groups bring their own influences and biases towards products and how they receive marketing. Take, for example, the Hispanic population. They are typically brand loyal, and for those that strongly identify with their Hispanic origin they are more likely to buy from Hispanic vendors. What does that mean for marketers? It means that companies need to take a serious interest in the Hispanic and other cultures because these groups are looking for “real connections”, not quasi-marketing that looks Hispanic.

I’ve seen this influence where I live. There’s an new mall, called Plaza Fiesta, which has been created to appeal specifically to the Hispanic community– The mall does, however, also need to draw in other ethnic groups and has numerous “mainstream” retail chains, like Bass Outlets, Ralph Lauren and Rack Room Shoes. It’s truly a multicultural mall, with a central focus on the Hispanic community. 20 or even 10 years ago you’d have never thought such a mall could exist in South Carolina.

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