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The Top 3 Multicultural Mobile Marketing Mistakes
By: Ted Curtin
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SPECIAL REPORT: Part 4 of an in-depth, five-part series capturing key issues and emerging trends from the 2011 Mobile Marketing Association Global Forum in NY.

The Top 3 Multicultural Mobile Marketing Mistakes

There’s tremendous opportunity for companies targeting multicultural markets. Between the growth potential of emerging regions and already-high adaptation rates among existing markets, mobile is already the primary Internet access point among many populations. But there is also enormous danger for marketers hoping to cash in by simply translating an ad campaign from English to Spanish and watching the money roll in.

1. Don’t underestimate the sophistication of multicultural markets.
Multicultural markets are more connected than traditional markets and have greater expectations for communication that speaks directly to their wants and needs. “This is a highly aspirational market of strivers and spenders,” according to Troy Brown of "One 50 One" Mobile Marketing. His agency has worked successfully with brands like Pepsi, Heineken, Gucci, and Honda. This is a group of early adopters of mobile technology with 31 million users. Multicultural mobile consumption and spending habits are outdistancing the general market almost 2-to-1.

Unlike the high cost of adapting to PCs and the limited Internet access for these markets in the '90s, mobile’s accessibility and geographic reach has rocketed multicultural market segments to the cutting edge of mobile adaptation. As a result, the demand for a seamless existence between digital, social, and mobile applications and various points of contact needs to be a critical component of any successful multicultural mobile marketing strategy.

2. Don’t Be Vague: Your campaign should be specific, deliberate, and meaningful.
With the proliferation of more targeted marketing initiatives, general campaigns are becoming less relevant to this market segment. In 2011 over 50% of Fortune 100 consumer brands will run specific Hispanic-targeted mobile marketing campaigns. As with traditional mobile marketing campaigns, multicultural mobile initiatives shouldn’t be used to simply regurgitate existing marketing messages and promotional campaigns. One great example is Pepsi’s recent “Familia de Campeones” multichannel mobile marketing campaign leading up to Super Bowl XLV.

Pepsi Familia de Campeones

Elements of the campaign included a unique mobile website, a Familia de Campeones microsite, an SMS experience, and the option to scan a QR code for the Pepsi initiative. The URL for the mobile site, the QR code, and the SMS call to action were all publicized on point-of-sale materials nationwide. In return, over 98,000 families received customized Super Bowl posters with their family name and image.

Pepsi received close to 123,000 opt-ins for the campaign. Key to the success of this program was Pepsi’s ability to engage their target market in multiple ways that were all natural to the experience, according to Javier Farfan, Pepsi’s Director of multicultural strategy. For this market with such high penetration, mobile was the catalyst that encouraged families to sign up to try and win six tickets to the Super Bowl, but the long-term effect is the enhanced engagement and ongoing ability to converse.

3. Don’t Focus On The Product
It’s not about what the product is. The message behind a successful multicultural campaign has to be what this product will do for your lifestyle. These markets don’t respond as well to campaigns that focus on functional benefits or the physical attributes of a product. Multicultural campaigns need to be aspirational — driven by a desire to validate success and convey a sense of reward.

But don’t confuse success with money. Sure, there are elements of monetary value and economic status, but family, connectedness, and leisure time are equally important to this segment. This market wants to enjoy the fruits of their hard work and accomplishments. They are proud of their identity and seek to continually improve their status.
Multicultural markets present opportunities to utilize mobile’s unique ability to transcend the marketing funnel (or customer journey) stages and involve both brand marketing initiatives and direct response engagement. The widespread adaptation, combined with the ability to specifically target and customize messages, has more potential with the multicultural market than any other segment.

Whether you’re going for increased sales and market intelligence, deeper engagement, or simply a shortened sales cycle, make sure your mobile campaign has clear and measurable goals. Offer unique value while presenting clear and contextually relevant messages and you’ll be able to not just engage this lucrative market, but also use the higher level of mobile interaction to propel new general market initiatives. 

Stay tuned for Part 5 of this five-part Mobile Marketing Global Forum Series.

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MMA Global Forum

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About the Author
Ted Curtin is a recognized strategic marketing leader with over 22 years experience covering online and offline marketing channels. Follow him on Twitter or at TedCurtin.com
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