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Cross-Cultural Marketing — Everything You Need to Know

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Cross-Cultural Marketing — Everything You Need to Know

We live in a multicultural and multimedia society, which means not only must marketers consider the type of media consumers are using to receive brand messages, but also who they are. Multicultural populations are growing quickly and represent the fastest-growing segments of consumers. Cross-cultural marketing involves advertising to people in specific cultures as well as appealing to personal interests across cultures.

What Is Cross-Cultural Marketing?

Segmenting your ad campaign helps if you’re looking for leads via ethnic media. A cross-cultural campaign, however, is a marketing program that crosses over into the general market and can be understood by a general audience. You are advertising to many audiences at once; in the United States, that means appealing to the largest groups including Non-Hispanic White, Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, and other cultural segments.

The United States has a diverse population. You want your message to be perceived the way you intended. Cultural norms can affect how messages, even subtle gestures, are perceived, but instead of focusing on political correctness, look to create a reality for the consumer that generates interest in your brand.

Achieving Success with Cross-Cultural Marketing

One of the best ways to advertise is to successfully reach across cultures. To do so, you need to know your market; A/B testing or marketing automation can be helpful. Also learn about the cultural choices people make, rather than make assumptions. For example, targeting salsa to a mainly Hispanic audience is impractical since white households represent some of the leading consumers of salsa over ketchup.

Understand Cultural Norms

You want to avoid cultural missteps, which can hurt your brand. Some cultures are more conservative than others. For example, in the Middle East, you wouldn’t want to show someone sitting with a foot resting on the opposite knee. On the other hand, an ad viewed in the U.S. shouldn’t portray business associates kissing one another on the cheek, although this may work just fine for a Paris audience.

Know Your Market

This is where a lot of testing and experimentation helps. Don’t group everyone in your market into one category, as there may be many sub-cultures within your country’s borders. Consider cultural populations and people living in cities, small towns, and in different regions and climates. What are their cultural norms and preferences? Determine what strategies work best for each sub-population and craft your landing pages and email campaigns accordingly.

Consider Language Barriers

There’s no one-size-fits-all when you market to different linguistic populations. If you’re using slang or acronyms and don’t have working knowledge of a language, you run the risk of misunderstandings. Hire a native speaker if necessary. The investment can pay off because your readers and listeners will understand your message.

Know What Your Audience Thinks and Values

Does your audience value individuality or tend to make purchasing decisions collectively? It can make a big difference in how you focus your marketing strategy. Segmentation helps increase conversion rates and track consumer populations over time. To improve your segmentation strategy, use in-app, text, and web messages to communicate with specific audiences.


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