Marketers are missing out on two huge segments of the Canadian population—landed immigrants and visible minorities. According to Statistic Canada’s 2016 census, 22 percent of Canadians are now visible minorities, and 21 percent report that they once were a landed immigrant or permanent resident.
The Canadian Marketing Association suggests that marketers assume that these populations will be socialized by mass media, but it can actually take seven years or more for a new immigrant to pay attention to mass media. By that time, their brand loyalties may be set. If you can’t reach someone through mass media, direct mail is the perfect way to ensure your message gets through their door.
If not, the “lost generation” effect takes over. When first-generation immigrants are unaware of your brand, location, or products, they do not guide their children, or other newcomers, to your company. For example, many immigrants will vacation at well-known locations in the United States, like Disney World and New York City. They simply aren’t aware of their vacation options in Canada.
Narrow Your Focus
One reason marketers may not jump on the opportunity these populations present is that they are overwhelmingly varied. Canadians identify as more than 200 ethnicities. Targeting all of them is simply not possible. Instead, focus on understanding the cultural makeup of your current customers and segment your audience accordingly.
Asia is currently the top source for recent immigrants, so it’s quite likely you have Asian immigrants in your target group. But continent doesn’t tell you too much. You should know whether you need to be targeting wealthy East Indians and/or young Cantonese-speaking Chinese, for example. The more details the better, including which languages they speak.
In fact, you should attempt to offer translations of your copy in the languages your target group speaks. This can help ensure that every member of the family understands your brand and that the nuanced details of your message aren’t lost.
There are many language possibilities, but several languages make up the majority of speakers. There are more than 400,000 Tagalog speakers, more than 400,000 Spanish speakers, and more than 300,000 German speakers in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. Cantonese and Mandarin together make up more than a million speakers, and Punjab adds another half million. Which geographical area you’re targeting, or even specific postal codes can indicate which “niche” languages should be targeted.
Including these languages isn’t just about understanding, it’s also about emotion. Connecting with a customer in the language they speak at home is powerful and can help develop brand loyalty.
There are other ways to connect emotionally with your target audience if they are a recent immigrant or visible minority group. Consider making a special welcome flyer just for them. Or, consider integrating ethnic media which your audience is already reaching out to as part of your strategy. Another strategy is to remind your audience of their country of origin with pamphlets themed after their cultural holidays and events.