Cross-Cultural Marketing: Definition & Overview

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  • 0:00 Cross-cultural Marketing
  • 1:48 Cultural Diversity
  • 2:35 Multicultural Marketing
  • 3:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Wendy Stewart

Wendy teaches college courses in Business, has a master's degree in Business Administration, and has completed all coursework for a Doctorate of Business Administration

Cross-cultural marketing is the strategic process of marketing to consumers whose culture is different from that of the marketer's own culture. In this lesson, learn more about the definition of cross-cultural marketing and why it is important. Then test your knowledge with a quiz.

Cross-Cultural Marketing

When an organization does not fully understand another culture, bloopers will inevitably occur. For example:

  • The Swedish furniture giant IKEA unfortunately created the name 'FARTFULL' for one of its new desks that was to be sold in English-speaking countries. Enough said.
  • In other products, companies may include the word 'mist' in the name of the good. Several examples are a liqueur named 'Irish Mist,' a curling iron called a 'Mist Stick,' and the British Rolls Royce named the 'Silver Mist.' That is fine when only selling within English-speaking countries, but when these companies expanded into Germany, organizations found themselves in a cross-cultural marketing fiasco. 'Mist' translates into 'manure' in German.
  • 'Traficante' is the name for an Italian mineral water. When the company expanded into Spain, they realized the importance of cross-cultural marketing. In Spanish, the word translates as 'drug dealer.'

It is imperative that businesses understand different cultures and norms to utilize cross-cultural marketing successfully.

So what exactly is cross-cultural marketing? Cross-cultural marketing is the strategic process of marketing among consumers whose culture is different from that of the marketer's own culture. Examples of the fundamental cultural aspects to be considered include: social norms, values, language, education, religion, economic systems, business etiquette, laws, and style of living. Typically, cross-cultural marketing takes advantage of the ethnic groups' different cultural norms to communicate to and persuade that audience.

Cultural Diversity

The world is full of cultural diversity, and individuals tend to live within their cultural boundaries. Diversity is defined as the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization. People have their own cultural norms and values which influence how they think, how they feel, and how they act. Each cultural group tends to share a common language, social views, and customs which, in turn, influence their beliefs, motives, emotions, attitudes, purchases, and consumption.

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