Why Marketing in America Means Liking Salad

Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]

America used to be considered the melting pot, but it has since been changed to a tossed salad in order to avoid any blending that may occur in a soup. Whether or not America will soon be considered a slice of pizza or some nice sweet potato fries is up for debate, but the point has been made regardless—cultural diversity is a part of our nation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “minorities will comprise over one-third of the country’s population in 2010 [and] the number of foreign-born residents has reached an all-time high of 56 million.”
Different cultures react differently to certain marketing approaches, so it is important to understand these reactions. The more you can tap into what appeals to different cultures, the more people who will respond well to your brand. While many companies do this in some situations, there is always room for more. Below lists a few tips that answer the question: Where do I start?

5 Tips to Consider When Marketing to Different Cultures

  • Learn how to avoid misunderstandings that can happen with even the slightest language barrier.

Many people throw out the old “if you live in America you should speak English” opinion when a language barrier occurs. The truth is, learning a language takes a great deal of time, and even the slightest language barrier can cause problems. Therefore, you need to make sure that any content you include in your ads will avoid any misunderstandings. Usually acronyms, abbreviations, idioms, and words or situations that can have a double meaning are confusing to non-native speakers. Avoid this type of language in your campaigns and you are sure to get a response from many more cultures.

  • Consider a culture’s customs and values.

You may be surprised to hear that certain things you find normal are actually seen very differently by other groups of people. For example, the Hindu population considers the cow sacred, and Islamic and Asian countries consider a “thumbs up” to be rude. This is probably the trickiest aspect of marketing to other cultures because there are so many differences in customs and values; however this can be easily overcome with a little bit of research!

  • Different cultures prefer different ways to get their news and advertisements.

This point comes from different statistics and studies that deal with media mediums. Although different cultures have access to every type of media platform, many prefer to get their news in different ways. For example, studies have shown that Hispanics generally like to watch TV and listen to radio in their own language. In other words, if you are only advertising on English speaking channels or websites, you could be missing out on a large number of potential customers.

  • Consider creating business cards or brochures in different languages.

You know better than anyone if you have a particular culture who is interested in your business. If this is the case, consider printing business cards or brochures in a different language. Many companies create business cards and brochures with English on one side, and another language on the other. This avoids confusion, yet helps to include a specific group of people in your company (especially if they are not yet masters of the English language).

Although marketing to different cultures may seem frustrating to you at times, trying to comprehend some marketing campaigns is just as frustrating for those who are part of that different culture. In other words, following a few of these tips should help to get your company more respected and appreciated amongst the tomatoes or carrots of our salad bowl.

Photo credit foodnetwork.com

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