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The A,B,C's of Chaldean Marketing
By Bedre Konja :: Monday, August 13, 2007 :: 13648 Views :: Article Rating :: Business & Finance

Claifornia, USA - Learn how to adapt your marketing strategy to the needs and wants of the growing Chaldean demographic.  If they're not on your marketing radar, chances are you're already one step behind your competition. The Chaldean population is growing exponentially, and their purchasing power far outpaces other cultural groups.

According to CulturalIntelligence, the Chaldean groups in southeast Michigan and California  spending power has skyrocketed and is projected to grow significantly stronger. The latest U.S. Census Bureau figures demonstrate high concentration of Chaldeans with large amounts of dispensable income. 

Because of this intense growth and dispensable income, Kagan Research estimates that Chaldean advertising is expected to reach record numbers in gross advertising revenue by 2010 for their group classification.

What differentiates Chaldean marketing from traditional forms of marketing? Abid Tomina, director of Middle Eastern marketing with the Urban Concepts division of New York, says it's all about relevant marketing. "Anyone can do Middle Eastern marketing, but to be relevant is the challenge. You use a lot of the same marketing strategies as traditional advertising, but then you fine-tune them to fit your target consumer, and that's the key," says Tomina. "You don't have to reinvent the wheel, but you do have to be cognizant of who you're talking to."

Marketing directly to Chaldean consumers can be a risky move--not only do you risk offending the very group you're trying to target, but you also risk offending groups you aren't targeting. Ongoing controversies surrounding the Middle East conflict and recent international issues has made marketing to the Middle Eastern communities much more difficult.

“Companies have to be careful when advertising to select groups.  It is easy for other cultural groups to become upset and take an adversarial stand against your product or service.  Plus, the Middle East is so polarized and divided on issues of rights and religion the western style of marketing can be construed as offensive and demeaning very easily,” adds Tomina. 

The medium by which an advertisement is presented is also just as important.  Tomina points out that it's important to differentiate between different types of Middle Eastern consumers.  Chaldeans are Catholic and tend to be business minded, energetic, very intelligent, and fiercely loyal.  Middle Eastern Christians favor local advertisements that demonstrate a partnership in their small communities.  Media channels include local radio, television, and online websites, church bulletins, event sponsorships, community scholarships, and other locally targeted efforts.

Traditionalists vs. Second, third and fourth generations also creates a unique audience.  Ttraditionalists and second generation-plus, Tomina refers to recently arrived immigrants as traditionalists because they integrate their traditions from their countries of origin into their lives here in the United States. Tomina, whose father emigrated from Iraq to the United States, mentions his mother and grandmother as examples of this group.

Second generation-plus refers to Chaldeans who live the Chaldean lifestyle, but speak English. Tomina says marketers are missing out on this booming key demographic--choosing instead to advertise to the traditionalists. "If you're going to market most of your dollars and spend them on the traditionalists that's fine for my mother and grandmother, for example, but who's talking to me? What brands are talking to that second generation-plus?" Tomina asks.

Tomina says he's trying to get his clients to grasp this concept because this is where he sees the biggest growth in the cultural markets.

4 Ways to Advertise Authentically, Not Offensively
As Tomina mentioned, understanding your target consumer is vital to a Chaldean marketing campaign. But there's more to it than just that.

1. Know your market. Swad Hadim, CEO of Ethnic Marketing with clients across the United States is Chaldean and Lebanese and resides in San Diego California.  He says you don't necessarily have to be Chaldean to market to Chaldeans. "I made a conscious decision 10 years ago to work with the Hispanic community and adopt their culture as my own," says Swad, who believes he's so well accepted within the community because of his effort to make a connection at the community level. 

His clients participate in small community activities that larger chains tend to ignore. For example, in June one of Swad’s clients showed their commitment to community soccer by sponsoring the Copa Lowes soccer tournament in El Paso. The chain also recently sponsored the Festival Hispano de la Salud in Dallas, a health festival dedicated to teaching families healthy habits for free.

2. Be aware of cultural nuances. "What's good for one Arab or Hispanic can be bad for another. Make sure you really look into the cultural sensitivities of the group you're targeting," says Tomina. "When I first started, people only thought Arabs should be marketed to in Arabic, but nowadays, marketers are realizing that Arabs speak English, too."

3. Be sincere. "You really have to search your heart and find out why you want to market to this group," advises Swad. "If it's strictly because you want to have a measurable monetary return, it never works that way. You have to build your brand awareness, and it takes time." When Swad opens up a new location, one of the first things he does is post a sign on the door with the words "proudly serving Hispanic communities since 1996."

4. Follow up. "It's important to follow up after planting the original flag in your campaign. Some people are so eager to tap into this market that they expect instant results, but that's not going to happen," Tomina says. According to Tomina, you can't just sell your product and leave. If you're serious about marketing to this demographic, you need to take the time to develop a program, not just a one-time deal.

Swad,  has helped his client Jose Cuervo succeed by creating a long-term campaign called "Cuervotón." The campaign is actually a U.S.-wide talent search for the next generation of Latino artists in urban music. With this campaign, Swad says Cuervo is ensuring the longevity of Latinos in the music industry. "It's marketing that shows you really care about this demographic. Cuervo is actually doing something for their target customer, and they'll be rewarded—small cultural groups are very loyal," says swad.

Bedre Konja is a senior business consultant and entrepreneurial manager for Illinois and Michigan based, Magi Consulting,   Mr. Konja is a CPA and licensed tax attorney.  Magi Consulting specialize in helping entrepreneurs start, grow, and manage their business.   Services offered by Magi Consulting  include capital fund management, new business development, acquisitions and mergers, organizational policy and procedures, technology integration, auditing, and assisting private companies in going public.   Mr. Konja lives in the Chicago suburb with his wife, and six children.