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Ethnic Marketing

Ethnic Marketing

Ethnic marketing

With a whopping 11.8% of the Irish population coming from abroad, it’s no surprise that brands are looking for new and innovative ways to target this proportion of society. With such an eclectic mix of nationalities living side by side, it might seem simple enough to have one marketing campaign for everyone, but to really succeed you’re going to need to break things up even further. And this is where ethnic marketing comes into play.

What is ethnic marketing?

Ethnic marketing and international marketing are two very different concepts. Ethnic marketing (also known as multicultural marketing) focuses on targeting a particular group living away from home, whereas international marketing is targeting a particular country and their native population. Using Ireland as an example, ethnic marketing would mean having one marketing campaign targeting the native Irish population, and another one targeting Brazilians who live here.

It may seem like a lot of work, but results show that 86% of all localized campaigns outperform their English counterparts in terms of both conversions and CTR (click-through rate = the number of people clicking on an ad).

Ethnic marketing strategies

Marketing is all about messages. And culture has a massive impact on the way messages are perceived. In order to succeed in advertising, you need to pull on your buyers’ heartstrings and connect with them emotionally. Plus give your buyers a local feel. With language and emotions so closely linked, advertising to a particular group in their native language is going to resound with them so much more than if you were planning on marketing to them in whenever they’re living in’s native language. 

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So – how does ethnic marketing work? To put it simply, it works just like every other marketing campaign but much more targeted. So, here are some points to focus on:


As we already mentioned, marketing messages resonate differently with different cultures. When targeting a particular group, like the Poles, you need to know what makes them tick, and most importantly what doesn’t. The Czech Republic actually got in Poland’s bad books a couple of years back when a very famous company launched a TV ad having a laugh at Polish products, poking fun at them for being bad quality. While Czech’s found this hilarious, it actually caused a diplomatic row between the two countries and in the end, the ad had to be taken off the air. This is why it’s so essential to keep cultural sensitivities in mind when preparing your ethnic marketing messages – and this is where marketing managers really need an expert’s help.

Religious holidays 

While many brands prefer to stay away from religion, religious holidays are something that really can’t be ignored if you’re looking to implement an ethnic marketing campaign. While many European countries share the same religion, their customs and the way they celebrate can end up being completely different. Poland and Ireland are both extremely Catholic countries, but their traditions are the complete opposite. Take Easter, for example. While Irish children will be enjoying chocolate easter eggs, Polish children will be painting beautiful hard-boiled eggs.

By combining stocking your shop up with the special kind of egg dye used by Polish families to colour their eggs with some Polish marketing messages, you’ll not only increase your shop’s footfall during Easter, but you’ll also become known as the go-to place for Poles to shop.


Just like religious holidays, traditions vary vastly from place to place, even if they’re close. If you take a look at the UK and Ireland – they share a language but their national holidays and traditions are completely different. Moving back to Poland, Poland’s culture is so rich it’s full of fascinating traditions that mesmerize almost any foreign visitor to ever experience them. Polish weddings are famous for being a 3-day drinking fest with plenty of home-made goodies available (and alcohol too!). If you’re in charge of marketing for one of Ireland’s chicest wedding venues, knowing that you understand Polish traditions is going to make you the place to go for Poles planning a wedding.

You can also take cultural marketing campaigns a step further by rolling out campaigns for certain national holidays/days of the year. Ask your translation agency about different days to look out for. If you’re a bakery or work for one of the big supermarket chains, you could use Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek). If you stock up with plenty of donuts and do a special buy one get one free offer for Polish customers (in Polish, of course!), you’re doing to quadruple your sales.

Remember – people living abroad love having the opportunity to share their culture and reminisce about traditions back home.


One other important point to note is that each country has its own digital behaviour. In Poland, the most common social network is Youtube, being used by 64% of the population. This is closely followed by Facebook at 61%. 16% use NK.PL and only 15% use Snapchat. In Ireland, however, Snapchat is by far the biggest social media platform, with 1.75m users daily (this is more than Facebook and Instagram). In Germany, you wouldn’t get anywhere using LinkedIn, you’d have to use Xing which is their equivalent. So, as you can see having this local knowledge can really make or break your ethnic marketing strategy.

The value of ethnic marketing

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like anyone in Ireland has really tapped into the nitty-gritty statistics of ethnic marketing, but to give you a better idea of why it’s so important we thought we’d share this one from over the pond in the US. The total multicultural spending power in the US has reached a massive 2.4 trillion USD, which really speaks for itself. It’s no wonder that brands are looking to get a piece of the pie. With hardly any SMEs leveraging on this gap in the market, as a CEO or marketing manager, it’s your time to shine!

Want to start going out with amazing ethnic marketing campaigns around Ireland or anywhere else in the world? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!