No doubt you've been reading all over the net, and in print, that Multi-culturalism is a prime goal for anyone on the net these days. Jane supports this belief with more than lip-service. She is working with clients from India and Asia and is hoping to partner with a special Latino lady in bringing our Business Blogging Boot Camp workshop, offered in the local Rochester, NY area, to the Buffalo area. With that expectation on the table, Jane thought she should explore the nuances of this market more deeply. Here are some points learned, a) from speaking to members of these groups themselves, and b) doing a little research.
1. First, and foremost, Jane learned at the Women's Leadership Conference she attended on September 15th, that Diversity (reaching out to Latinos, American Indians, Asians, Indians from India, and Euorpeans) isn't a simple matter of learning to say "hello," in their language. Listening to the group of women on the Multi-cultural panel at one of the workshops during the conference, Jane nodded vigorously in agreement when all the women mentioned the pitfalls of translation software.
Jane cautions all readers who plan to do global selling -- and, since you are on the net, you are a global seller by default (remember, even if you're not approaching these markets, your current customers or clients have friends or family in these groups), you must learn about the CULTURE...you cannot let Google speak for you, or expect a program installed on your computer to speak for you. There is more to convincing these women to buy from you than learning the proper greeting. You MUST learn their culture! A good solution offered at the workshop by Silvia E. Fakler from AtSilvia was to HIRE members of the demographic you wish to reach. Hire women who can truly speak to the cultural wants and needs of their particular group.
2. Hispanics women might be your first focus since, according to Internet Retailer magazine, "Hipanics are the fastest growing minority in the U.S.," as quoted by Augustin Viola, director of ecommerce for Office Depot, Inc. which launched a Spanish speaking website in 2003 to serve this important market. If we follow the advice given on marketing to Hispanics, it will serve us in marketing to other cultures, also. The goal is to address them in their native language...using a translator who knows the country and culture, not just someone who studied the language in college!
3. For the Hispanic market, in particular, the U.S. Census Bureau notes that 4% hail from Cuba, 9% from Puerto Rico, 15% from South America, and 60% from Mexico, with 6% from 'other' wherever that is. If you would learn more about the women's market in Asia, I recommend Yat Nogachandra's books, such as Beauty, Bureaucrats and Breaking the Silence: The Status of Women in Asia Check out more information at his website, Key-Zen International.
4. Another group of growing shoppers, a society that has historically been matrilinear and continues to be so, is the American Indian. A good source to help you get started learning more about the American Indian is the American Indian Museum Resources, which lists information on American Indians per state. Make sure to visit the website for the National Museum of the American Indian, which opened to great fanfare in Washington this month. Jane was stunned to realize that this group, people all U.S. citizens know about but don't think much about anymore, often gets left out of advertising and marketing. To our own detriment! They shop. They buy things. And they go online to do it!
5. Be aware. Be aware that our great country is bustling with different nationalities, with American citizens who hail from countries beyond our borders. Be aware that these are potential customers, clients, friends, and good citizens, and that they are rapidly adapting to the online model of shopping. But, be VERY aware of the fact that within these groups, women are a powerful influence, often behind the scenes. Do not suppose that difference in dress or religious practices keeps these women from speaking out in their own homes. Especially those who have come to the U.S. to live and raise families. They are committed to their own culture, to their religions, to their customs and language, but they are adapting to American TV, American slang, American thinking. Note the word is 'adapting' not 'adopting.' Never presume you know them merely because they have learned to speak English and can quote from a Jerry Seinfeld episode.
Jane hopes she has convinced you to make every effort to join the multi-cultural movement. As one of Jane's children was fond of saying when she was in high school, "It's not mankind, Mom. It's humankind." If we're not mistaken, humans are the folks you want to sell to, aren't they?
What's not to like about that?