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Cultural marketing is where a message is promoted to a certain group of potential customers who belong to a particular culture or demographic. The audience is of a specific ethnicity and cultural marketing takes advantage of the ethnic group’s different cultural referents like tradition, language, religion etc. to communicate to and persuade the customers.

Why use cultural marketing?

People have cultural boundaries; their thinking and decisions are affected by their cultural values and norms. Marketers implant cultural values and standards in ads where consumers can relate to the characters in the ads. To design a cultural marketing ad, you need to pay attention to what is going on in the culture. Observe the culture and anticipate what issues will hold true in the future. Be sure to identify cultural movements and understand the need of the changing market.

cultural marketingMarketing across cultures requires a special sensitivity to the diversity of human needs. We all know the importance of knowing your target market.
But when dealing with a culture completely different than yours, it’s not that simple to get that information. How good a marketer does their job is proportionate to the degree to which they understand the culture of the people they’re marketing to.

How well any specific message does in achieving its goals depends on how well somebody understands that particular environment.

Belief systems affect consumer behavior

A launch for a new project launched in South Africa where solar-powered rice cookers were distributed to less privileged families within the region.
They wanted feedback from the families themselves in regards to which rice-cooker would be the most suitable for them.
From a technological standpoint, the product was great. But the South African people hated it. This is because, in this community, everyone helped each other. When somebody was using the rice-cooker to make food outside of home, everybody could see that they were cooking food. And since everybody is providing for everybody in their culture, suddenly the whole community wanted to participate in that meal.
Nobody can afforded that, therefore they preferred to have a rice-cooker which is much harder to use, but which could be used inside of home.

The role of your cultural assumptions

If you had looked at the story about the rice-cookers from another culture, one who welcomes technologically smart products, you would have never understand the opinions of the South African people. Unless you have spent long periods of time in a country or have done extensive research on any particular area of that culture, you will never be able to understand how its cultural logic works.

Cultures are thought systems

The belief system of every single person consists of thousands of beliefs, all of which have an effect on one another in some way.

Feedback is NB

There is only one real way of actually dealing with a lack of cultural understanding when marketing across cultures: and that is feedback: feedback from your agency, and feedback from the consumer.

You simply can not use the same approach to marketing that you have always used when you are entering a market which you are not 100% familiar with.

Empire is a thought leader in the media industry of the UAE, the Middle East and Europe. For more information on cultural marketing or any other media opportunities, we’d be happy to meet for a cup of coffee to discuss your needs.