Consultant Suggests Cross-Cultural Marketing to Expand
Designers seeking to diversify their firm’s marketing approach
should expand their horizons and consider targeting the rapidly
increasing cross-cultural consumer market.
This is the belief of Felipe Korzenny, principal and co-founder
of Cheskin, a consulting and strategic marketing research firm,
based in Rosewood Shores, CA.
Korzenny, who headed up the “Cross-Cultural Marketing: The Case
Study of the U.S. Hispanic Market” seminar at this year’s
Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Orlando, suggests that firms should
first understand the needs of the individuals, societies and
cultures that they plan to attract before formulating their
marketing campaign. For instance, personality, taste, family
relations and world views should all be taken into account. Also of
importance, he believes, are cultural background, social context,
personal experience and characteristics.
As he explains: “Opportunities in culturally diverse markets
require paradigm shifts to truly make a difference.”
Specifically, Korzenny cites the U.S. Hispanic market as a prime
target for those seeking to expand their consumer base, since this
market has grown to some 35 million people in 2000 (from 10 million
in 1980), and will have an estimated purchasing power of one
trillion dollars by 2012.
Referencing a U.S. Bureau of the Census report, Korzenny points
out that marketing plans should account for the population of
different demographics within U.S. cities. For instance, he notes
that Los Angeles and New York account for some 10 million Hispanic
consumers, with Miami, Chicago Houston, Dallas, San Francisco,
Oakland and San Jose representing another six million. Therefore,
the better you know your city’s demographics, the better you will
be able to take advantage of the changing market by targeting the
fastest-growing segments in your area.
Korzenny offers the following tips for successfully reaching a
cross-cultural consumer base:
- Take advantage of brand heritage. Be sure not to fail to
- Position the firm in culturally relevant ways. Avoid the
pitfall of assuming that all consumers want the same benefits. The
more you know about the tastes, desires and lifestyles of your
target market, the better you’ll be able to meet their needs and
win their business.
- Obtain in-depth consumer insights. This means knowing the
product and what it represents to different ethnicities. Avoid
using a generalized “one size fits all” communication
- Build long-term relationships. Having a short-sighted approach
to any marketing plan can spell disaster in the long run.
- Capitalize on cultural pride. Do not wait for customers of
other cultures to “catch up” with mainstream trends. Rather,
capitalize on each culture’s pride in the unique traits, tastes and
trends that speak to their heritage.
These techniques will not only enable firms to capitalize on the
buying power of specific demographics, but will also enable the
firms to gain a better understanding of the entire culture, he
“Acculturation is the current trend. Cultural pride has
increased, and there is an increased acceptance of diversity,” he
explains. “Use their native language, even if English is
understood, because it communicates to the consumer on an emotional