Weekly Tip

Weekly Tip: Ethnic Holidays – An Important Part of Multicultural Marketing

In multicultural marketing, working with ethnic groups requires knowledge about culture and precision in planning. It is important that marketers understand and take into consideration various cultural elements and traditions such as habits, language use, specific interests, celebrations, holidays, and so on. Interest in the use of knowledge about ethnic holidays in multicultural marketing is increasing along with the industry growth.

To start with, ethnic holidays are part of cultural customs, which according to Oxford Dictionaries are “a traditional and widely accepted way of behaving or doing something that is specific to a particular society, place, or time”. Often ethnic celebrations include various traditions of shopping (both fast consumer goods and fashion, gifts or other bigger purchases), decorating, styling and so on. It surely means traveling back home for expats! Ethnic holidays include any celebrations that can be related to a certain ethnic group, for example, Thai New Year Songkran, Persian and Kurdish New Year Nowruz, Vietnamese and Chinese New Years, Eastern Orthodox Easter, and etc.

multicultural_marketing_ethnic_holidays

Nowadays, marketers use variety of strategies to reach desired audiences, and one of these strategies is use of ethnic customs to increase brand awareness or boost sales. There are two main points to mention to marketers when planning ethnic holiday campaigns: it’s the right time and the right place of advertising.

Right time

There are speculations on what timing strategy works best, but most marketers would agree that ethnic holiday campaigns have to be planned in advance. For instance, if the campaign is sales oriented, it could start even two-three months before the actual festival. This could be the case, in example, for airline companies, that should start promoting flights to China for Chinese expats in Western countries at least 2 months before the Spring Festival (in following year 2015 it will be on February 19). Products that fit gift category could be promoted a month in advance, whereas, brand awareness campaigns would definitely work well shortly before the holiday.

One might also think that during holiday audience tend to do other activities rather than surfing on the Internet, which means putting most of the budget into the period before the celebration would be a good choice. Ad operations specialists as well might think of the usual day parting strategy, which helps to reach audience at the daily peak of their activity online before beginning of the festival, and the weekday targeting strategy, which helps to allocate volume to the certain days of week (e.g. weekends).

Right place

The right place is definitely the place, where your ethnic audience “lives”. Expats tend to follow the news and trends from their home countries, or simply prefer reading in their mother tongue. In online ethnic marketing, such places are social networks and ethnic websites, mostly in the language of this ethnic group. Moreover, depending on the type of product or service, these could also be websites with the focus on specific interests, for example, current affair, sports, travel, fashion or any other topic related websites. Picking the right advertising places is extremely important in multicultural marketing but especially when the focus is on ethnic holidays.

Imagine yourself being your ethnic target audience! This is your key to success. Now you are one step closer to advertising on the right time at the right place!

Using ethnic holidays for marketing purposes is nothing new. While Dana Canedy in her article highlights the great opportunity to reach out to new customers, she reminds that experts suggest maintaining communication outside festivals and holidays.

Sources:

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/custom
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/12/30/business/media-business-advertising-companies-view-ethnic-holidays-like-kwanzaa-three.html

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Written by Dana Icikzone

Dana Icikzone is the Ad Operations and Audience Manager at Joinville. Dana is a lifelong harmony seeker. She balances her everyday life with a body stretch during yoga and a mind stretch while playing board games with friends and strangers.