Ethnic Marketing

Posted in Marketing and Strategy Terms, Total Reads: 462

Definition: Ethnic Marketing

Also popularly known as cross-cultural or multicultural marketing, ethnic marketing refers to the marketing practice of catering to an audience of a particular ethnic group (or even nationality). Ethnic marketing entails going beyond the ‘general market’ so to say- the general market referring to a region’s majority ethnic group. The entire marketing campaign is often produced in the targeted ethic group’s language or with culture elements borrowed from the targeted group.

Cultural values and norms clearly influence people’s cognitive, affective and behavioral responses to a strategy propagated by the marketer. The best way to reach out to consumers is to make them view the product/service as a part of their cultural ritual or daily routine. The targeted group would be able to identify better with the campaign’s protagonists. Such a campaign involves identification, promotion and focusing on the cultural uniqueness of the ethnic group.

Three Steps for developing an effective marketing strategy:

1. Consider ethnic diversity.

2. Determine the level of ethnicity: the decision whether to use specific ethnic marketing strategies depends on this. In case of low ethnicity, it’s better to stick to mainstream marketing.

3. Develop and implement your ethnic marketing campaign: Identify the communities the target group comprises; the values and beliefs of the community/communities and personal marketing strategies that match the values and beliefs of the community/communities you will be addressing.


One brilliant example of use of multicultural marketing was on display during the 2012 US presidential election where President Obama leveraged the changing ethnic scenario to produce an electoral landslide victory. He reached out to the growing Hispanic and African community.

One of the issues often associated with such marketing practices is the clear identification of an ethnic group. Should it be as simplistic as country of birth or language? Moreover, is it ethical to focus on individual ethnic groups within an economy? In fact, marketers have now begun to integrate ethnic elements into common/mainstream marketing strategy.



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