Using Surveys to Uphold Cultural Marketing and Appeal to Customers

Using Surveys to Uphold Cultural Marketing and Appeal to Customers

In an increasingly diverse digital and physical landscape, cultural marketing is more important than ever. Diversity in the United States is growing, correlating with the public’s views on the need for diversity in marketing. 

61% of Americans find diversity in advertising important, and 38% of consumers are more likely to trust brands that display diversity in their ads. Evidently, brands must carry out cultural marketing to satisfy a diverse target market. 

To do so, brands should implement a data-driven strategy so that they are properly marketing to and serving consumers from a wide spectrum of cultures, ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses.

This article sheds light on cultural marketing, its importance, the consequences of neglecting it and how surveys help brands understand diverse audiences and execute cultural marketing campaigns. 

Understanding Cultural Marketing

Also called multicultural or cross-cultural marketing, cultural marketing refers to the marketing practice in which a message, product or service is promoted to a particular group of potential customers who belong to a certain culture, demographic or socioeconomic group. 

The campaigns making up this practice are meant to build consumer relationships with existing and potential customers. In cultural marketing, businesses leverage various aspects of an ethnic group’s culture, such as its language, tradition, holidays, religion and other cultural matters. 

Cultural marketing is also a kind of inclusive marketing, in that it is meant to represent all people, rather than merely those who make up the majority of the population. It is used for both advertising and marketing to people in different cultures as well as appealing to their specific interests and catering to their specific needs

The ultimate goal is to relate and connect with diverse consumers so that they eventually convert or remain loyal to the brand; the latter involves customers who have made at least one purchase. After all, retention is critical for business and cultural marketing can help increase a business’s customer retention rate

This is because all customers want to feel represented and included. Given that retention involves building solid relationships with customers and making them feel included and appreciated, cultural marketing can make strides on increasing the customer retention rate. 

The Importance of Cultural Marketing 

Multicultural marketing is critical in the face of a diversifying nation and an overall diverse digital environment. However, there are many other factors that make up the importance of cultural marketing. 

Brands ought to take them all into consideration, as some of these reasons will also guide them on forming a cultural marketing strategy.

First off, this kind of marketing opens new doors for businesses to engage with consumers who are outside the “majority audience.” By targeting specific target market segments based on their ethnic and socio-cultural facets, businesses can build a deeper emotional connection with consumers. In turn, this increases the chance of a conversion.

This kind of connection also builds customer loyalty, thus playing a role in retaining customers. Retaining customers paves the way for customer advocacy, in which customers act as brand ambassadors, recommending a business to their family, friends and peers. 

Thus, establishing an emotional connection by way of engaging customers is important, as 80% of emotionally engaged customers will promote brands they are loyal to compared to 50% of those who are less engaged.

Moreover, a consumer’s ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic background influences how they behave, from how they consume content, to their customer buying behavior. Marketers should therefore consider their target market’s various traditions, languages, customs, beliefs, and other experiences when developing and delivering marketing campaigns.

Multicultural marketing brings these influences into focus and allows businesses to strategize accordingly, which in turn allows brands to improve their communications with the diverse groups making up their target market.

Additionally, cultural marketing deals heavily with adoption, as there are constant shifts in the  U.S. cultural landscape and abroad.  The onus to adapt to these changes is on businesses.

Finally, there are certain cultural aspects that may be appropriate in some cultures, but not in others. Businesses must assure that they don’t appear culturally ignorant or indifferent to these cultural differences and sensitivities. For example, what’s acceptable to wear in the United States may not be in the Middle East.

What Happens When Brands Neglect Cultural Marketing

To piggyback off of the previous section, brands that neglect understanding cultural differences will poorly execute cultural marketing, if they attempt any culturing marketing endeavors at all. 

Brands that don’t implement cultural marketing in their strategy will have several reputational consequences, along with other business risks. Firstly they are going to appear dated and irrelevant, allowing competitors to outshine them in this regard, as competitors will make themselves appear to be more inclusive, culturally aware and up-to-date. 

Next, it is going to result in at least one marketing faux pas, such as when imagery or concepts in ads are insensitive to certain cultures, or when certain phrases get lost in translation. Either way, a lack of cultural awareness will eventually make its way into a marketing campaign, poorly reflecting on a company. 

This, in turn, will make a business appear to be rude, insensitive or willfully ignorant about a particular demographic, nation or socioeconomic group. It is similar to that of a business simply being out of tune with its target market, therefore sending them irrelevant, poorly targeted, clueless or unwanted messages. 

All of these consequences carry dangerous risks, such as landing into a PR crisis, deterring existing customers from making further transactions,  turning away current customers for good, declining sales and at worst, shutting down due to lack of business. 

Thus, businesses should attempt to understand cultural differences among their target market segments and practice cultural marketing to properly appeal to a wide range of customers. This will show consumers that a business cares about them, their unique cultural needs and sensitivities, and is soliciting their attention in an inclusive manner. 

How to Engage in Cultural Marketing

There are several major undertakings in cultural marketing. First off, a business must become versed in several cultural matters, as they relate to their diverse customer segments. This involves conducting secondary market research to understand dominant cultural trends and matters.

It also involves studying and listening to their target market, in order to address and cater to their unique needs. This involves conducting primary market research, as self-conducted research allows brands to examine things particular to their business and customers, allowing them to inquire into specific cultures. 

The following lists how to engage in cultural marketing:

  1. Understand cultural norms to avoid missteps.
    1. Some nations and their cultures are more conservative
  2. Observe the six dimensions of culture. These provide the key features of a culture, or the mental programming instilled within countries and peoples. Understanding each culture and country’s stance in each will allow you to market to it appropriately. 
    1. Power Distance
    2. Individualism
    3. Indulgence
    4. Masculinity
    5. Uncertainty avoidance
    6. Long-term orientation
  3. Demonstrate relevance in your messaging with marketing personalization
    1. This also involves staying atop the latest concerns and trends. For example, not all ethnicities are concerned with the same issues, as aren’t all socioeconomic groups.
  4. Leverage customer data to anticipate needs and avoid making mistakes due to cultural differences.
    1. This includes conducting market research, both primary and secondary, along with using other customer data tools, such as analytics. 
  5. Surprise and delight customers, while taking cultural norms, practices and taboos in mind.
    1. All customer segments will appreciate surprises that benefit them, such as a sale or promotion, especially if it is tied to their culture.  
    2. Make sure to not offend your target cultural segments. 

How to Use Surveys to Execute Cultural Marketing

Surveys are the most apt tools to use to properly execute cultural marketing campaigns. This is because they can be used in virtually all of the above practices for executing cultural marketing campaigns. 

Businesses can use surveys to identify and categorize their target market into granular segments and personas, allowing businesses to learn about various demographic, psychographic and class-based groups. As such, surveys provide brands with insight into major cultural aspects, such as the six dimensions of culture and marketing personalization.

They are the most potent tool for gathering customer intelligence and data, as businesses can gain insights into any topic of their choice and deploy it to a mass network of digital users (depending on the online survey platform).

Surveys allow brands to stay abreast with the latest cultural happenings, shifts and trends, so long as they are deployed regularly. They are especially useful for cultural marketing, since brands can screen their respondents prior to moving them to the questionnaire to ensure that their respondents belong to the brand’s cultural background of study.  

In this way, surveys help businesses stay organized, ironing out any organizational or categorical kinks from the process, as there are many diverse groups that businesses ought to study in order to take part in cultural marketing. 

After segmenting customers and data, businesses can use the data they extracted from surveys to guide all of their cultural marketing efforts. This is because surveys are essentially a vessel that connects businesses with their customers, revealing all kinds of customer opinions and needs to businesses, so that they can become culturally aware and avoid poorly executed marketing campaigns.

Remaining Culturally Relevant

The importance of culture in terms of marketing is major. The world market is made up of many smaller markets.  As such, the entire world economy is composed of smaller, distinct economies with their own cultures and languages. 

In order to tap into these economies, brands must be attuned to their unique culture. Surveys are an excellent option to use to gain insight into different cultures, cultural needs and differences, allowing brands to avoid making mistakes in their cultural marketing.

To execute a successful survey study, businesses ought to invest in a strong online survey platform, the kind that makes it easy and practical to screen respondents on a granular level, set up a questionnaire, deploy it to the masses and filter data in the post-survey results. 

Additionally, a useful online survey platform offers artificial intelligence to perform quality checks that remove poor quality data from making its way into the results of the survey. When a business invests in such a survey platform, it is on the right track to study different cultures and demographics and successfully execute cultural marketing

Using Survey Research to Unlock Cultural Trends

Using Survey Research to Unlock Cultural Trends

In order to stay adept at serving customers, brands must be attuned to cultural trends, whether they’re operating domestically only or marketing to customers abroad. 

Our Global Customer Expectations poll revealed that almost a quarter of global customers seek brands that are more sensitive to the cultural aspects of their country.

Another supporting study found that brand involvement in cultural trends makes up a full 25 percent of a customers’ purchase decision. Evidently, brands have a stake in cultural involvement when it comes to satisfying their customers.

Unlike some of the more static aspects of marketing, cultural trends are, by nature, inclined to shift and fluctuate. Thus, the challenge becomes not merely discovering cultural trends but assuring their relevance and showing cultural deference. 

This article delves into cultural trends, the need for businesses to be culturally competent and relevant, how surveys uncover various cultural trends and how to set up a survey to extract this information.

Understanding Cultural Trends

Cultural trends refer to popularized alterations and tendencies in culture, whether they are material or nonmaterial. These involve emerging or continuous behaviors, items and the relations of both. For example, product use; some trends involve using products in a particular way or for a particular act.

Cultural trends can also specifically apply to the dominant or emerging cultural aspects present among different cultures. This is a matter of concern for businesses that operate both internationally and domestically, as customers expect businesses to understand cultural matters that pertain to their country — as our survey found — along with others.

For example, a study by Salesforce found that 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, yet 66% also say that they are treated like numbers. Additionally, 52% of customers expect offers to always be personalized.

Understanding cultural differences and trends is crucial in each case. In regards to the former, understanding cultural practices and other concerns is crucial to make customers feel distinguished and as more than just another number being marketed to.

Regarding the latter, personalization cannot be fully achieved without paying attention to cultural matters. In fact, companies may incur issues when trying to personalize, by not taking into account cultural differences.

Businesses must also take heed to the cultural trends present within their country, as it is a means of staying relevant. Some cultural trends align with certain values, which is crucial to include in marketing campaigns. This is because 71% of customers prefer buying from companies aligned with their values

Understanding cultural trends is key for market research, especially if a brand uses its name in its research; it is also important for a wide breadth of marketing campaigns

The Importance of Cultural Trends 

To piggyback off of the previous section, understanding cultural trends is a must for various reasons. The two main reasons deal with domestic and international customers. However, they also apply to dealing with employees, vendors and partners.

On the international front, few businesses can evade the need to deal with foreign clients, customers and employees. Given that the world is globalized and global markets open new opportunities, businesses would be at a disadvantage not to branch out into new geographic markets. 

In order to properly cater to the international market, businesses must be acquainted with cultural trends across geographies, especially those that pertain to specific countries. 

Cultural change is broader than social change, although it can include it in its sphere of influence. As such, societies and their markets are the results of culture. It is a culture that sets boundaries, limits and dictates what is acceptable or not. Thus, businesses must be in tune with the culture of the market they wish to pursue. 

Understanding cultural trends is the gateway into cultural competence, the ability to effectively interact, work, and develop meaningful relationships with people from various cultural backgrounds. 

Cultural competence allows brands to ease into different geographic markets, as it makes global customers feel understood and heard, a key tactic to ward off making them feel like just another number. 

Understanding cultural trends also helps businesses avoid cultural misunderstandings, the kinds that directly cause businesses to lose customers and tarnish their reputation. This can get to a bad enough point in which a business’s harmless misunderstanding makes the news, a blow to brand equity and reputation.

Finally, being culturally competent is necessary for conducting business domestically, as customers are more likely to buy from brands that incorporate timely cultural aspects into their marketing and business at large (as proven in the intro). 

Incorporating cultural trends domestically posits a business as more culturally savvy than its competitors. Additionally, it speaks directly to some of the thoughts occupying customer’s minds.

Moreover, the US and many other countries have significant immigrant populations; thus it is imminent for companies to be in contact with people of other cultural backgrounds, whether they are customers, employees, partners, vendors or clients. Thus, it is key to be in the know of all the cultural trends of your target market.

How Surveys Help Discover All Kinds of Cultural Trends 

Surveys are a tool that opens many doors into the minds of customers, and customer satisfaction is a prominent objective to keep any business afloat.  

Firstly, surveys define a business’s clientele; this is done via market segmentation, in which market researchers granularly define their target market by segmenting into different groups. This helps businesses learn the demographics of their most valuable customers. 

Through this practice, businesses uncover the ethnicities, cultures and national backgrounds of their targeted customer segments. This allows businesses to zero in on particular cultural trends: those that are most relevant to the segments of their target market, specifically the most valuable segments.

Furthermore, surveys allow brands to delve into virtually any topic of their choice and understand it at an in-depth level. Thus, they can do so by creating surveys that delve into their target market’s cultural trends. 

Surveys, especially the online variety, provide the ease of deploying questionnaires to a business’s intended audience. Most conveniently, online surveys are completely anonymous, so respondents can freely provide answers on all cultural matters, even those that are more sensitive in nature. 

Businesses can cover various cultural matters in just one survey, though longer surveys should provide survey incentives to guarantee participation. Businesses can also set up survey campaigns that include multiple smaller-length surveys that cover various topics within cultural considerations. 

Surveys have the power to generate both quantitative and qualitative market research, depending on how the questions are set up. Multiple-choice questions lend themselves to quantitative data, while open-ended questions allow businesses to gain qualitative data unique to each survey respondent. 

Either way, businesses can gain both kinds of data within just one survey. To do so, they can ask a multiple-choice question and follow it up with an open-ended question.

Survey Questions that Unlock Cultural Trends

The questionnaire is the heart of a survey; therefore, brands must arrange it strategically to set their survey up for success. 

They should also target respondents differently per country in the screening portion of the survey. After choosing the customer segments to target, researchers need to create their questionnaire accordingly.

Because all countries, even those that appear to be culturally similar, have distinct cultures, market researchers should focus on specific questions per country. However, before veering into the specific, there are certain general questions that researchers should begin with as a best practice.

The following provides question examples on the preliminary questions market researchers can use in their cultural trends survey before delving deeper: 

  1. What is the biggest cultural change you’ve seen [country name] undergo?
    1. Multiple-choice and open-ended answers
  2. How do you feel about [a cultural event, major recent occurrence, trend observed via secondary research] ?
    1. Scaled and open-ended answers
  3. Which brands do you use for [a particular need]?
    1. Multiple-choice, multiple-selection answers
    2. Do some research on the brands from a particular country
  4. What would be considered rude coming from a company in your country?
    1. open-ended answer
  5. What are some of the biggest trends in [your niche] in your country?
    1. Multiple-choice and open-ended answers

Being In Tune With All Customers

A lack of cultural awareness has grave costs on businesses. That’s why virtually all businesses must be culturally aware within their domestic and international markets. The latter is especially important in the age of the internet, where global customers may discover a brand digitally, therefore opening the doors for businesses to venture into global markets. 

While surveys are a convenient method to uncover cultural trends and differences, they are only as useful as the online survey platform that administers them. A strong online survey platform must be able to facilitate all stages of the survey process: from the screener, to the questionnaire, to deployment and finally, filtering data after the survey completes all of its quotas. Additionally, a strong survey software uses artificial intelligence to perform quality checks that remove gibberish answers, flatlining and other poor data to ensure the highest quality of customer data.

Businesses should opt for such a platform to not simply obtain cultural trends information, but to engage in a valuable market research campaign.