Direct Marketing: Cultural Competency and the Importance of Name Research
Director of Sales, Ethnic Technologies
In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau counted 50.4 Million Hispanics, 38.9 Million African-Americans and 14.6 Million Asians. Looking ahead to Census 2020 those numbers are expected to climb, perhaps not as much through immigration as in years’ past, but through new births. These populations represent the “New Majority”, and marketers in today’s world know the importance of building brand loyalty amongst these high-growth segments.
The use of highly actionable data, utilizing intelligent research and analytics down to granular levels of Ethnicity, Language Preference, Hispanic Country of Origin, Gender and Assimilation will ensure that your marketing efforts are culturally relevant. It’s not enough to segment by racial categories such as Black, Caucasian, Asian or Hispanic. A better approach is to see the diversity in America and to identify an individual based on their true cultural identity. When properly utilized, a predictive name and geographic analysis is the key ingredient to success, and to always maintaining “cultural competence”.
When taking an in-depth look at the Hispanic population in the United States, we see individuals with strong affinity and ties to their country of origin. A person or family from Puerto Rico does not exhibit the same cultural identity or buying habits as that of a family that has come here from Mexico. Marketers, Researchers and Advertising Agencies often approach the Hispanic population as a homogeneous group. Taking into account one’s country of origin will go a long way to building and maintaining brand loyalty.
These same issues arise, and sometimes in greater depth, when marketing to Asian populations. Asians are not “One Size Fits All”, and low response rates will reflect this mentality. With so many different Asian countries of origin and languages being spoken now in the U.S., a smart marketer will embrace the technology available that allows them to identify each individual. A Chinese American living in San Francisco should be spoken to and marketed to differently then a Korean American living in Fort Lee, NJ, or a Vietnamese American living in Houston, TX.
Armed with this intelligence, marketers can and should add in different levels of Assimilation and Acculturation as well. When you put Assimilation into the mix, you really have drilled down to address specific buying habits, cultural customs and even language preferences that exist in our diverse populations. Perhaps certain components of your brand speak to one level, but not another. If you are armed with the market intelligence needed to make adjustments, once again you have achieved the “cultural competency” needed to succeed.
Many ethnic groups in the United States maintain a strong cultural identity, regardless of how deeply they have assimilated here or how long they have lived here. They are often attracted to communities in which many traditional cultural customs and habits are maintained. Because of this, it is of the utmost importance for marketers to fully understand the cultural differences, language preferences, buying habits and other socio-economic information of their current and future customers. Embracing the technology that will put them one step ahead of their competition is what every smart marketer can do now to ensure success with these important and fast-growing populations.