The Top Ten Business Responses to Marketplace Diversity [i]
The combined purchasing power of ethnic group markets, according to Ethnic Trends is estimated to be $1.275 trillion dollars (African Americans $545 billion, Hispanic $460, Asian American $244). Each ethnic group’s purchasing power exceeds the GDP of more than 150 foreign countries. The marketplace is changing as a result of these demographic shifts.
All facets of business face the challenge of attracting these demographic groups with adequate strategies. The following is a list of questions your organization needs to address in developing the strategies.
- How has our organization traditionally segmented the markets and customers?
- What are we doing to discover how changing demographics may affect our traditional segments?
- What preliminary information do we have about new market segments?
- How do we begin learning about new segment customers in as much detail as needed?
- How can we conduct valid and reliable market research so that we know as accurately as possible what their interests and needs are?
- What are the economic consequences of not being able to compete for the products and services they want to buy?
- How do we assess our market plan to make sure we are on track, and our advertising approaches to avoid cultural blunders?
- How do our products and services compare to competitors’ or industry standards in terms of innovation, quality, desirability, and delivery?
- Have our marketing and service deliver teams launched the marketing campaign in a timely manner?
- Is the company gaining a share of the market and holding on to it? If so, why and at what cost?
The first order of business is to develop an ethnic marketing initiative. If you have one in place, assess the extent that your staff and sales force has the cultural competence needed to maximize the effectiveness of implementing the action plan. Keep in mind that it is not enough to put together a dynamite plan. Cultural competence safely drives the action plan past the landmines and over the obstacles of ethnic marketing.
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[i] Based in part on Cultural Diversity at Work 10:2 (Nov 1997), p 14.