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Marketing Strategies and Subcultures

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Running head: MARKETING STRATEGIES AND SUBCULTURES

Marketing Strategies and Subcultures:
Flavored Cigarettes

Abstract Most recently, TRIAAD Research Group developed marketing strategies for Exotic Smokes Cigarettes. These strategies were identified to attract 18-to-25-year-old customers to the flavored cigarette market. This young adult market is lucrative however focusing on specific subcultures within the market provides additional opportunities. The African American subculture, the Hispanic subculture and the Asian subculture are emerging multicultural markets with cultural and cross-cultural differences that must be explored by marketers.

The United States is more ethnically diverse than ever before. The emerging multicultural markets offer opportunities for marketers to determine what marketing strategies are most effective to market flavored cigarettes within the African American subculture, the Latino subculture and the Asian subculture. After determining the marketing strategies to be used, the environmental factors, cultural differences, and cross-cultural differences must be identified for each subculture. The goal is to understand how consumers’ cultural identities relate to purchasing choices.
Subcultures
African American Subculture The African American market is not a monolithic group. Marketers must be aware of the diversity within the African American subculture that includes African-Argentinian, African-Cuban, African-Ecuadorian, African-Latino American, African-Mexican, African-Trinidadian, Black Canadian, African-Native American and the list goes on. Until marketers recognize that the African American subculture is as diverse as the world languages it will be difficult to target the market. Just as the subcultures vary so do interests, religions, occupations, and levels of education, family structure and socio-economic status. Attempting to target descendants of the African Diaspora with one formula is a mistake that marketers continue to make. Understanding the subcultures of the African American community is complex. For example, hip-hop culture is not the sole representative of young adult culture in the African American community. It is a subculture. Having said this, I recommend marketing campaigns that are classy and non-stereotypical. African-American subcultures must see positive representations of themselves in advertisement and promotions. There are several African American entertainers and athletes who smoke cigarettes. They can be spokespeople for flavored cigarettes and their endorsements will present the image of success and status. Marketers must move away from creating campaigns that represent corporate fantasy of “black ghetto mentality – no more advertisements of young thugs, drinking forties and smoking.” The advertisements should be as diverse as the African American community.
Latino Subculture Hispanics represent the largest and fastest growing ethnic subculture in the United States. It is currently slightly larger than the African American segment but the gap is expected to grow substantially by 2020. While Hispanics have a variety of national backgrounds (Mexico = 66 percent, Puerto Rico = 9 percent, Cuba = 4 percent), the Spanish language, a common religion (Roman Catholic), and national Spanish-language media and entertainment figures have created a somewhat homogeneous Hispanic subculture. (http://www.csustan.edu/market/williams/chapter_summaries.htm) There has been a lot of debate surrounding immigration, specifically as it relates to the Latino population. Often ridiculed and blamed for some of American’s problems, such as under employment for American born citizens and over population, marketers must be conscious of not offending this subgroup. The goal is to use American culture without negating Latin culture. Marketing strategies for this group must embrace Latin culture, celebrities and beliefs.

Asian Subculture The Asian subculture includes Chinese American, Filipino American, Asian Indian American, Japanese American, Korean American, and Vietnamese American. According to Hawkins, Best and Coney (2004) “Subculture is “a segment of a larger culture whose members share distinguishing values and patterns of behavior” (p. 152). Subcultures are usually further classified based on ethnicity, religion, geographic region, and generation while ethnic group is the most portrayed. “Asian-American subculture is the group that is the most diverse of all of the major ethnic subcultures. It consists of more than 29 countries, each with unique sets of values and traditions (Hoyer & MacInnis, p. 112). Urban hip-hop culture is popular among teens of all races. The way to reach this subculture is to incorporate their love of everything that is cool about American culture. Young Asian teens have different values and interests from their parents and with entertainment being an international genre, Exotic would be successful in this market by incorporating Asian interpretation of hip hop culture and other forms of popular culture and its music into niche advertisements. Using advertising agencies that specialize in Asian-American consumers will be the best way to attract such a diverse subculture.
Marketing Strategies Associating images or themes to appeal to the subcultures is not a new concept for the tobacco industry. In the past the tobacco industry has targeted specific subgroups through strategic campaigns. Identifying marketing strategies to segment the subcultures will result in creating flavored tobacco products that resonate with each group. Additional marketing strategies include placing advertisement in publications that target the subgroups, sponsoring events that target and support the subgroups, and using social and global marketing via the Internet.
Recommendations
Every subgroup wants to feel that they are being respected and their purchasing power is recognized and not taken for granted. The African American, Latin and Asian subgroups have often been neglected by marketers with the use of harmful stereotypes. The main things that marketers should focus on for all three groups is creating campaigns that embrace diversity and show respect for each subgroups values, desires and needs. If marketers target each group by looking at their humanity first, they will steer clear of damaging images.

References
Hawkins, D.I., Best, R., & Coney, K. (2004). Consumer Behavior: Building Marketing Strategy (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Company.
Hoyer, W.D. & MacInnis, D. (2000). Consumer Behavior (2nd ed.). Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

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