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Marketers Agree Multicultural Customers Are Changing; What Worked Yesterday May Not Work Tomorrow- Destination CRM

Marketers Make the World Their Multicultural Oyster

Producing pearls, however, is often another matter entirely. Just ask the A-list presenters at the 2007 ANA Multicultural Marketing Conference.

By Jessica Tsai
Tuesday, November 06, 2007

BOCA RATON, FLA. -- As evidenced by the first day of the 2007 ANA Multicultural Marketing Conference here early this week, multicultural customers are forcing a "marketing reinvention," according to Bob Liodice, the ANA's chief executive officer. By factoring in multiculturalism, marketing is "elevating the conversation," according to keynote emcee Gilbert Davila, who set the fun tone of a serious discussion by joking about his height: "Now, if they could have brought me a stool, we could be on our way," said Davila, the vice president of multicultural marketing for The Walt Disney Co. Marketing is at its best when it engages the consumer, Davila said, and that conversation has to embrace the ever-expanding multicultural audience -- and adapt to an ever-changing consumer landscape.

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The overall lesson for the 400 marketers in attendance here was that individual consumers should not be treated as uniform. (Even discrete communities can always be segmented further, given additional parameters.) The presenters at the ANA conference hammered home the point: We function as part of a society, and cultural issues are often a significant factor in our self-identification. McDonald's is a global corporation -- which means, by definition, the brand serves a multicultural customer base. As such, the company has had to create marketing campaigns that resonate with each community without sacrificing the consistency of the overall brand. As an example, the fast-food company's current "I'm lovin' it" campaign is printed on the side of many of its food containers -- but translated into multiple languages, from English to Mandarin Chinese.

However, just like individuals, different cultures continue to want better, more relevant advertising. Cynthia Perkins-Roberts, vice president of diversity marketing and sales development at Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau (CAB), told the audience about a statement made by a colleague of hers: "We have to kill 'SALY,' " the colleague said, referring to the "Same As Last Year" mentality that dooms many marketing efforts.

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