Marketing to Asian Multicultural Consumers: What Constitutes Cultural Relevance?
The first speaker at the conference was Saul Gitlin is the executive Vice President of Strategic Marketing Services/New business For Kang & Lee Advertising, the nation’s leading multicultural marketing consulting and communications agency specializing in reaching Asian Americans.
As well as writing a blog for the famous Huffington Post Mr. Gitlin has directed the agency planning teams for AT&T, Bank of America, Sears, The New York Times, and Allstate Insurance. Check out his blog at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/saul-gitlin. One of the things that impressed me most about Saul is the fact that he worked for 10 years in senior marketing positions for multi-national corporations in the People’s Republic of China, Israel, and the United States. Even more impressive is the fact that Saul is completely fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Hebrew and French and holds a BA in Asian Studies from Cornell, an MA in East Asian Studies from Yale, and a MBA in Marketing from Columbia. Saul is from New York so it was great to meet someone from my home town, here in Minnesota.
Saul Gitlin presented an updated, comprehensive introduction to the Asian American Market Including 2012 Census Results,. Then he presented a framework for understanding the definition and role of cultural relevance throughout the marketing planning cycle. From initial research and analysis, through program planning and execution, and on to results tracking and program assessment.
Mr. Gitlin laid out a very strong case for why 21stCentury Business owners should try to connect with the Asian American Consumer. For one Asian Americans are the fastest growing population in fact According to 2010 U.S. Census data the “Asian population increased more than four times faster than the total U.S. Population. The total U.S. population grew by 9.7 percent, while the Asian American population grew by 43 percent between 2000 and 2010” (U.S. Census).
Saul also describes the members of the Asian American Community with a respectful love as he describes Asian Americans as a well educated, affluent, and brand loyal community. Saul jokingly asked his audience “do you want to do business in California?” To Saul this question was a no brainer because California has the largest population therefore it has a large Asian population and it would be a great place to do business. According to Saul California and Texas has the largest number of Asian Americans.
If you know how to market to the Asian American segment you could be setting yourself up for success. According to Saul the Asian Market holds the highest median household income which is $13,000 higher than White Americans. Asian American’s also have the highest level of education attainment: 49.9% with bachelors or higher. A final and perhaps the most important point Saul made is that “Asian households are more likely than any other group to be in the >$75K and >$125K annual income range” (Saul Gitlin). This gives Asian Americans a combined buying power of almost $509 billion.
The Asian American market looks like a great place to advertise, but Saul warns us not to take our American advertisements and translate them into Mandarin Chinese or other Asian Languages. This type of advertiseing causes miscuess, and mis-communications, it can also be seen as disrespect by the Asian American Consumer. It’s more important to make relevant marketing campaigns, Saul’s philosophy—and I agree—is to create cultural relevance through Market Assessment & Research, followed by Program Planning & Development, all the while Tracking and measuring.(Saul Gitlin)
I must say I was blown away by Saul Gitlin and if you have an opportunity to hear him speak it will be time well spent. To Read the rest of the series Click the links.
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