Kelly McDonald, president of McDonald Marketing, based in Dallas, is a marketing expert, speaker, and author. She offers these five tips to those looking to work with a more diverse client base.
1. Expand your definition of “diverse markets.” When you say the “D” word, people default to thinking in terms of racial and ethnic diversity. That’s important, but it’s not the only way to be diverse. I see diversity as “any way you are different from me.” If you live in a loft in downtown Manhattan, you’ll be very different from someone living on a ranch in west Texas.
2. Do your homework. Want to reach Hispanic buyers, for example? Study what that market segment cares about. Get involved in community groups. Don’t rely on stereotypes. An issue that’s important to one group may be less important to another.
3. Examine your business infrastructure. Make sure your company can do what it is you’re claiming you can do. If you’re going after “Generation Y,” you’ll want to have the human touch but also the ability to handle emailing and texting clients and offering them a way to check on their job’s progress without having to call the company.
4. Be respectful. New market segments may have unfamiliar lifestyles, cultures, and values. You need to be comfortable with the group you’re working with and do it with a sincere heart. You’ll find that people quickly sense sincerity, and will respond differently as a result.
5. Create fitting products or services. Safelight, a national auto glass repair and replacement franchise, emails a photo of the person who will be going to a customer’s home. That’s a customer service tweak that won’t cost a dime for the company but shows sensitivity to a particular market segment — women buyers, many of whom are concerned about having a strange man show up at their home.
—Kelly McDonald’s book, How to Market to People Not Like You was number nine on the business book bestseller list for 2011 at 800ceoread.com.