Benefits of ethnic marketing: growth, untapped market segments and amplification: higher profitability

The face of Canada has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. So has ethnic marketing. Statistics Canada reports that more than 200 ethnicities are now represented in this country. Immigration accounts for more than 50% of our population growth and is very likely to double by 2025. Entrepreneurs should launch the product and service to ethnic markets, if not, their competitors will. In general, ethnic markets can represent growth, untapped market segments, and increased profitability.

It has been difficult for companies to find successful ways to target the diverse ethnic groups found in Canada. United Way of Greater Toronto’s fundraising initiatives across the city in 2000 proved daunting to the various multicultural groups within the city. Six years ago, fundraising efforts raised between $ 20,000 and $ 25,000 from seven or eight communities. Instead, they targeted three prominent groups and last year they raised around $ 700,000, a 300% increase over a six-year period.

Companies are hiring ethnic market managers now, and the message is about communicating to the changing Canadian market the most effective ways to incorporate a more diverse approach to marketing their brand.

Today’s consumers are much more sophisticated, better educated, and have greater purchasing power than immigrants of yesteryear. Marketers understand the ethnicity of their customers, embrace their customs, and take advantage of their sensitivities.

Ethnicity is a multidimensional expression of identity that includes race, origin or ancestry, language or religion. Influenced by variables: immigration, miscegenation and mixed marriages, which very often create a force of ethnic identification. Customs and beliefs, and sometimes eating and clothing habits, are often associated with a culture. A 2002 survey by Statistics Canada on ethnic diversity reveals that three-quarters of Canadians say they are interested in learning more about their ancestry and are familiar with their heritage.

Solutions Research Group conducted a study that examined six major population groups in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. The study included Canadians of Chinese, South Asian, West Asian, Hispanic, Black and Italian descent. A total of 3,000 respondents (ages 15 and older) were interviewed in 9 languages: English, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Spanish, and Italian. The results were astonishing: among the most important media is the Internet with 88% of use. Chinese Canadians are active users spending 2.4 hours a day, followed by television and then radio. Although less time is spent watching television, ethnic Canadians are more likely than the market benchmark to have digital cable or satellite television (41% vs. 39%). Black Canadians and Chinese lead this measure (47% and 44%, respectively).

More than half (52%) of the ethnic groups surveyed agree with the statement: “I rarely see advertising messages intended for me”, suggesting a significant loss of opportunity. The trick is to go beyond the status quo, dig deeper, and the solutions will be found.

Pay attention to the three Cs: caution, care, and commitment.


An ethnic market is actually made up of dozens of different and smaller segments. What is sold in the Southeast Asian community may not be sold to the Chinese community. If you mean China, are you going to Hong Kong or Taiwan? Marketers must learn to identify communities and focus directly on them. Ethnicity has little to do with the way people buy gas and car repairs. However, it has a lot to do with what food or books they buy.


Decisions must be made to go after different ethnic communities, and along with the care that must be taken to learn about them. You consider the size of the market and how you, the marketer, are going to capture it. Direct marketing techniques are the best way to personalize your message. Companies may already have the information they need to determine focus.

Example: financial institutions know where their customers send money. Companies that capture this type of data (through data mining) can use it to tailor their products and services to the consumer.

Buy subscriber lists of ethnic newspapers or lists of members of ethnic associations. Determining your target audience becomes easy, the next task … prepare the marketing materials in the language they understand.


A recent survey of 150 marketers found that only 40% performed back-end analysis of their direct marketing programs on a consistent basis. The costs associated with discovering this type of information are high. What will your ROI be? More and more companies are jumping on the ethnic train. Just go to any Wal-Mart Supercenter and see how their food products are cross-ethnic, and how their ways of “giving back” actually improve the communities they serve. Last year, the Salvation Army received a donation of $ 100,000 from them. After all, their motto “Wal-Mart Canada is committed to making a difference in the lives of Canadians” once again rings true.