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It’s almost impossible to live life today and not interact with someone from a differing culture in some capacity. These interactions can be wonderful opportunities to learn from others and appreciate what makes them unique.
Unfortunately, many of these interactions also result in miscommunications and misunderstandings that create barriers between cultures and people. The inability to respect and appreciate our differences can negatively affect our personal lives and our businesses.
When talking about business, internal teams are becoming more and more diverse, and so are external audiences. This makes learning to communicate across cultures especially important because if you don’t, relationships with your customers and employees suffer, which means your overall business strategy does too.
The way to prevent that from happening is to improve intercultural communication. Your overall operation will thank you, but your marketing strategy will, with extra enthusiasm. We’re set to share five reasons why below.
But first, does intercultural communication really deserve all the hype? And if so, how seriously should you be taking it in your business?
How well-versed in intercultural communication should you be?
The world is becoming more and more diverse and interconnected, with no signs of slowing down. If you want your business to thrive in this environment, you must learn to connect and communicate with people of various cultures and backgrounds. Simply put, the more effort you put into mastering intercultural communication, the better. The goal should be to be as well-versed in this area as possible.
Intercultural communication helps you better communicate and connect with a diverse consumer base. This results in stronger customer relationships and a better brand reputation among the public. Consumers are drawn to brands committed to breaking down cultural barriers instead of holding them up.
Additionally, intercultural communication allows you to attract and retain a diverse workforce. When your workforce is diverse, you have access to a broader range of knowledge and perspectives to boost business operations. You can understand and celebrate differences instead of shying away from them and losing opportunities to expand your business worldwide.
Being well-versed in intercultural communication is incredibly beneficial to your entire business operation, but let’s look at how your marketing strategy specifically can benefit.
Benefits of improved intercultural communication
Marketing is all about engaging with your target audience and building strong relationships with the individuals in that audience. The only way to do that is through solid communication. And because your target audience is full of people from varying backgrounds, learning to communicate around those cultural differences becomes even more critical.
Here are five ways your marketing strategy can benefit from improving intercultural communication.
1. Attract diverse talent to form a diverse marketing team
As stated above, intercultural communication allows you to form a diverse and inclusive workforce, particularly a diverse marketing team. You want each team member committed to respecting differences. This will make their interactions with each other more harmonious and allow them to create marketing materials that are mindful of cultural and social differences.
Additionally, intercultural communication helps you assist your marketing team in personal development. Expecting them to appreciate and honor differences improves their emotional intelligence, empathy, and communication. As these things improve, creating a marketing strategy becomes easier to manage because it isn’t overshadowed by team conflict.
A diverse marketing team also means you can create a diverse and inclusive data analytics strategy.
2. Prioritize diversity and inclusion in data analytics
If your marketing strategy doesn’t include data analytics, you’re a step behind your biggest competition. You’re even further behind if the data you do collect isn’t reflective of a diverse audience.
Intercultural communication allows you to collect, process, and leverage data that is a lot more accurate and helpful in connecting with the different people in your target audience.
Also, when you prioritize diversity and inclusion in data analytics, the insights you get can help you better understand how cultural differences motivate your target audience’s behaviors.
3. Better understand your target audience
A considerable part of a marketer’s job is to understand why people do things. For instance, what motivates them to make certain purchases? Why are they searching for a solution for a specific pain point? What emotions are driving their consumer needs?
Why someone does something can absolutely be influenced by their cultural norms and behavioral customs. So, when you can communicate across cultures, you get a deeper understanding of your target audiences’ behaviors and how their cultural differences inspire their actions.
Improving intercultural communication can expand your reach to new markets as well.
4. Tap into new markets
You’ll likely think about tapping into new markets at many points in your business. This may mean reaching a new demographic in your current target audience or taking your operation global. Without intercultural communication, it’s nearly impossible to do either.
For instance, trying to break into an international market without knowledge of that market’s cultural customs sets you up to make mistakes in your marketing that can be deemed offensive or disrespectful. There are many such examples, including giant brands such as Nike, which had to withdraw a line of women's sports gear inspired by traditional tattoos from Samoa.
Intercultural communication ensures you’re respectful of cultural and other differences so you’re able successfully to tap into a market you otherwise wouldn't have.
Lastly, intercultural communication helps you create an empathetic marketing strategy.
5. Create an empathetic marketing strategy
You cannot create a connection with someone without empathy. Empathy helps you speak to someone’s heart and make an emotional connection with them. If your relationship with someone lacks emotion, it’s not likely to have the depth you need for a long-term relationship with them.
That said, an interpersonal connection is vital to successful marketing, hence empathy being so impactful in your marketing strategy. Empathy humanizes your business. It shows people that you’re not just there to sell to them but to make deeper connections with them that hopefully prompt relationships that are beyond transactional. You actually care about understanding their viewpoints and feelings, and they feel that.
Additionally, empathy helps you use language that improves SEO. This is because you’re using the language people use to talk about their pain points and the terms they use to search for solutions.
Improving intercultural communication can have a profound impact on your marketing strategy. You can attract and retain a diverse marketing team, leading to a diverse data analytics strategy. It also helps you better understand your target audience, tap into new markets, and create an empathetic marketing strategy that captures your customers’ hearts.
In today’s interconnected, global marketplace it makes absolute sense.