Ethnicity and Consumerism

Ethnicity and Consumerism

Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7518-6.ch009
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Abstract

Ethnic consumers are spread over the global markets, and consumer behavior is largely driven by ethnocentrism. Such development in the market has prompted companies to consider developing multicultural marketing strategies to cater to the consumers of all segments. This chapter discusses various attributes of multicultural marketing in reference to marital culture, language, religion, and social institutions. The discussions in the chapter argue that ethnic marketing not only enhances the value and lifestyle of the consumers in a niche but also sets a fashion trend at the high-end markets. Besides ethnicity issues, the discussions on the sociology of minority marketing are distinctly discussed based on an extensive review of literature. As most multinational companies are reaching at the bottom of the pyramid consumer segments, the discussions in the chapter argue that ethnic consumers are becoming vulnerable to their value and lifestyle getting influenced by global strategies.
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Multicultural Marketing

In the multicultural marketing environment, consumer market has become more diverse on retail platform by designer brands, store brands, personalization, advertising, and ethnicity in the global marketplace. If manufacturers and retailers can identify the preferences of target consumers they may be better able to attract and maintain their target consumer group. Multicultural marketing is defined as targeting and disseminating market communications to the various ethnic consumer segments in a diverse cultural framework. Multicultural marketing has become one of the most significant platforms for companies to expand their business globally. Companies that are not successful in creating a multicultural marketing strategy may fall into high losses for businesses either through the misinterpretation of marketing messages, the loss or damage to the brand image or risk of customer alienation and defection. In view of the ethnic diversity in United States of America it is even more commanding for marketers to fully understand cultural differences, language treatments, and purchase drivers to integrate into everyday marketing strategies and tactics of the consumer products companies. It has always been leverage for the retailers to penetrate in the multicultural consumer segment in order to develop consumer behavior for ethnic products through competitive pricing and packaging strategies. Such consumer centric strategies are even more valuable in creating and supporting multicultural marketing efforts for the global companies that are trying to go local. Before engaging in ethnic marketing initiative it is necessary for the companies to leverage their knowledge on the culture of home and host countries to develop strategies that appeal to each unique demographic segment.

Multicultural marketing is no different than common marketing strategies that involve market research, planning, developing strategies, and implementing consumer campaigns needed for the target consumer segments. Ethnic marketing is sometimes challenging as several factors like consumption behavior, social and family culture, beliefs, and personal value intervene in buying decisions. One marketing strategy does not fit consumers of all cultural segments as what may be appealing to one culture might have the opposite effect on another. In order to attract new customers, the ethnic marketing companies are now developing awareness through the social creating market information lay-out that appeals to a variety of audiences. However, language plays a significant role in disseminating communication process. To facilitate cultural adaptations, the companies attempt to build awareness, understanding, and define right mix of cultural variables for marketing. These variables largely include multicultural facts, drivers, and stimuli in verbal and non-verbal communications to increase the effectiveness marketing strategies. To achieve a competitive edge in multicultural campaigns, marketers level-up the cultural differences and lifestyle characteristics of consumers from various cultural backgrounds (Statura and Murphy, 2005).

The distinctiveness theory supports the notion that ethnicity can influence consumer responses to various marketing stimuli such as sales promotions and advertisements. According to Optimal Distinctiveness Theory, individuals strive to maintain a balance between the need to be assimilated by the peers and family, and the need for autonomy and differentiation (Sorrentino et al, 2009). The purchase intention for ethnic products is stimulated among consumers in the social contexts. The distinctiveness of cultural features like social media reviews are profoundly associated with emotional expressions that play a significant role in the buying behavior among consumers. Some studies suggest that the perception of a person on his personality is a distinctive and salient trait that differentiates his behavior. Individuals who have high social standing and are adaptive to change in lifestyle are driven by the multicultural demonstrations (Arpan and Peterson, 2008).

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