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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|2867||2005||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Volume 12, Issue 1, January 2005, Pages 1–13
The paper is based on an explorative study of small ethnic retail entrepreneurs and their target consumers in the UK. The paper argues that the ethnic entrepreneurs engage in a number of marketing practices that reveal their competency, innovation and networking abilities to successfully compete in a competitive context. In doing so, the paper highlights the ambivalent nature of marketing practices followed by ethnic entrepreneurs revealing their role as bicultural mediators seeking to facilitate negotiations of multiple identities by their multi-ethnic consumers. The paper discusses implications for marketers of mainstream brands who are interested in targeting ethnic minority consumers.
The 20th century has witnessed an ever-increasing interdependence and integration throughout the world, giving rise to a florescence of social changes at local, regional, and international levels (Costa and Bamossy, 1995; Penaloza and Gilly, 1999). This, according to some scholars, has led to a market place that is characterised by market integration as well as persistent ethnic differentiation due to ethnic, racial, religious and national interests (Penaloza and Gilly, 1999; Rossiter and Chan, 1998). For instance, there is much discussion in the UK today about the costs and benefits of immigration and about public attitudes towards immigration. Cultural diversity sometimes generates conflict as different unwritten rules of social conduct can result in friction due to communication problems or inefficiencies caused by the lack of fit among differing cultures (Gentry et al., 1995). Examples of some stronger ethnic conflict include the Bradford riots of 1990s and the Burnley, Bradford and Oldham riots of summer 2001 in the UK, the Los Angeles riots of the early 1990s in the USA (Hunt, 1996; Min, 1996), and the immigrant versus resident clashes that took place in late 1990s in Western Europe (Drozdiak, 1997). However, as Penaloza and Gilly (1999) argued, ethnicity provides a powerful basis for the identity and community of its members. Furthermore, cultural diversity offers benefits to society in terms of stimulating the imagination, the arts and cultural growth. Increasing diversity in the UK is already affecting and shaping many institutions (e.g., the educational institutions have to cope with a multicultural student body and staff) and culinary habits (e.g., assimilation of a variety of ethnic foods into British cuisine). Cultural diversity affects businesses as well by opening new domestic markets for a wide variety of goods and services, by creating new challenges in managing a diverse workforce and effectively seeking diverse consumers and by providing domestic firms a special edge in competing in the global marketplace (Doka, 1996; Wilkinson and Cheng, 1999). Increasingly marketing academics such as Barber (1996) are interested in the ways cultural and market forces unite and divide people. According to Penaloza and Gilly, 1999, ‘the market separates people by distinguishing them on the basis of their socio-demographic characteristics and other consumption patterns. It unifies them by assembling people with similar characteristics, ideas, and behaviours; providing products, services, media, and social spaces that reinforce cultural identities; and promoting the consumption of cultural market artefacts’ (p. 84). Similarly, while discussing the role of different subcultures in a country's economic development, Gentry et al. (1995) argued that cooperation across subcultures of consumers and between cultures and businesses was crucial for the economic development. They cited the examples of developing nation states such as Malaysia and Singapore with significant cultural diversity that actively promote ‘unity’ to the Malay, Chinese and Tamil subcultures. And as Doka (1996) argued, the ability of companies to transcend cultural differences in a culturally diverse market place is critical to maintain not only profits but also social unity. Therefore, the challenge for marketers in such a context is to promote harmony and consistency by improving co-operation between marketers and consumers of different ethnic backgrounds (Gentry et al., 1995). The purpose of this research is to explore the marketing strategies of small retail enterprises owned and operated by members of the ethnic minority community (hereby termed as ethnic entrepreneurs) who have grown in significant numbers during the last 20 years in the UK (see for instance, Iyer and Shapiro, 1999; Marlow, 1992; Ram, 1994). This is done with a view to contribute towards theory development by furthering substantive understandings of intercultural market dynamics, knowledge generation and future research among ethnic minority consumers. All the indications are that the main beneficiary of this knowledge is likely to be the marketers of mainstream brands in the sense that it is they who may find findings of this research interesting and a starting point to develop and implement ethnic marketing programmes aimed at ethnic minority consumers who are growing in size and have an increased purchasing power accompanied by heightened political and cultural awareness and ethnic pride (Cui, 1997; Penaloza and Gilly, 1999). The author's many years of experience of dealing with ethnic markets suggests that as the market for ethnic products grows and proves stable and profitable it is going to attract corporate competitors. In the USA, many of the major retailers, grocers, banks and other service providers have already adopted their marketing mix strategies to target ethnic minority consumers leading to an increase in competition for the ethnic entrepreneurs (Edwards, 1994; Gore, 1998; Holliday, 1993; Mummert, 1995). Mainstream marketers in Europe (although hesitant so far) are unlikely to remain ignorant of the impact of rising cultural diversity in the marketplace on their marketing programmes (Clegg, 1996; Burton, 2000; Nwankwo and Lindridge, 1998). Rather they are likely to adapt their marketing strategies to increasingly diverse consumers. In response, ethnic entrepreneurs are likely to expand to serve the needs of mainstream clientele as their products become recognised and assimilated into the larger population. This research applies an emerging theory building approach (Geertz, 1973; Glaser and Strauss, 1967; Spiggle, 1994) as a way of identifying and exploring the marketing mix strategies and their contributions towards the positioning of marketers and consumers in traversing multiple cultural spheres (Penaloza and Gilly, 1999). The research presents empirical data from a qualitative research employing observations, in-depth interviews and focus group sessions to support the theoretical framework. The research makes four important contributions to the literature of ethnic entrepreneurship and marketing to ethnic minorities: (1) The research provides empirical evidence to demonstrate the ways in which small ethnic entrepreneurs apply principles and concepts of marketing to develop customer patronage and maintain competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive market; (2) the research, while highlighting various dimensions of their marketing practices, provides empirical evidence which suggests that ethnic entrepreneurs act as bicultural mediators seeking to facilitate the construction and maintenance of identities by their consumers. In doing so the paper highlights the ambivalent nature of their marketing practices; (3) the research outlines clear implications for marketers of mainstream brands interested in targeting ethnic minority consumers; (4) since most of the existing literature is North American in origin and application, the research also contributes by presenting empirical evidence collected in a European context. The remainder of this paper is organised in four sections. The first section discusses the conceptual background, which is followed by a section describing the research method. The third section presents some of the findings while the final section contains a discussion of the findings together with conclusions and implications for marketers.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The findings reported here suggest that at a macro-level, the ethnic entrepreneurs were able to facilitate the institutionalisation of their respective ethnic minority consumers’ culture in the UK, just as they ‘facilitated the institutionalisation of Mexican culture in the United States’ (Penaloza, 1994, p. 50; see also Jamal, 2003; Penaloza and Gilly, 1999). Through the efforts of ethnic entrepreneurs, all major brands that were available to their co-ethnic consumers in their country of origin were made available to them in UK at competitive prices and at convenient locations (see also, Cui, 1997). This was supported by an on-going provision of information about new trends and products originating from their own culture of origin. Reinforcement of consumption of culture of origin was further achieved by active participation in respective cultural mechanisms such as festivals and community events and provision of culturally salient products during the festivals. Unlike any other SME enterprise, the participating entrepreneurs were quite conscious and proactive (rather than unconscious and passive) in their efforts to develop relationships and communications with their ethnic consumers (Carson and Gilmore, 2000; Carson et al., 1995; Hills and La Forge, 1992; Stokes, 2000). This is in line with previous research that argued that ethnic entrepreneurs took an active interest in identity relations and in building long-term relationships with consumers (Aldrich and Waldinger, 1990; Dyer and Ross, 2000; Iyer and Shapiro, 1999; Ram, 1994; Seltsikas and Lybereas, 1996). The findings reported here also suggest that the ethnic entrepreneurs were innovative and competent, as they understood completely what their consumers wanted and developed new brands and pack sizes that complied with the consumption requirements of ethnic minority consumers. Also, they generally kept the prices of their products lower as they knew that most of their co-ethnic consumers were price and value conscious and actively shopped around both ethnic and mainstream retail outlets. However, what really made the participating ethnic entrepreneurs unique and different was the ambivalent nature of their marketing practices (ambivalence dimension). In the context of SME marketing, Dyer and Ross (2000) studied the ambivalent nature of ongoing relationships between ethnic minority businesses and their co-ethnic clients. Similarly, Davis and Tagiuri (1994) studied ambivalent relationships in the family business, where the dual roles of family member and businessperson produced benefits and drawbacks. In the context of current study, the ambivalence dimension is defined as the development and implementation of mixed or multiple marketing strategies arising from conflict among values, norms, traditions, and consumption practices of different cultural groups that shopped at ethnic enterprises. It is argued that the three dimensions, namely, competency, innovation and networking, contributed towards this ambivalence dimension whereby marketing tools and techniques were adapted to meet the specific requirements of clientele of different ethnic backgrounds (Fig. 1).For instance, a major focus of the marketing practices followed by participating entrepreneurs was the reinforcement of culture of origin, and the perpetuation and defence of ethnicity among their co-ethnic clients through a range of marketing activities. In doing so, their concern for profitability and survival was successfully merged with concern for ethnic allegiance and cohesion (Dyer and Ross, 2000). However, at the same time, the participating entrepreneurs also consciously realised that their co-ethnic consumers were consumers of both ethnic as well as mainstream consumer cultures; based on this realisation they facilitated consumption of both cultures among their co-ethnic consumers by providing them with both ethnic as well as mainstream brands at competitive prices. By doing so, they contributed towards diversity in the marketplace and facilitated building and negotiation of self-identities by their co-ethnic consumers on the basis of contrasting elements taken from two diverse cultural representations (see, for instance, Bouchet, 1995; Oswald, 1999). While this happened, the same entrepreneurs also sought to facilitate the consumption of their own ethnic minority consumer culture among the mainstream consumers. This was achieved by offering ethnic products at competitive prices and by educating and informing mainstream consumers (e.g., provision of advice on how to use ethnic products through in-store communications). This is significant in the sense that although they mainly targeted their co-ethnic consumers, their marketing practices passively facilitated consumption of contrasting cultures and negotiations of multiple identities by the mainstream consumers (Brewer, 1999; Jamal, 2003; Oswald, 1999). This is in contrast to ethnic enclave theory that postulates that ethnic minority enterprises only serve the unique needs of their co-ethnic clients by providing only ethnically relevant products and services (Waldinger et al., 1990). The findings reported in this study are context and time bound because the study has employed qualitative methods to explore the marketing practices of ethnic entrepreneurs and the roles they play in the lives of their multi-ethnic clientele. It is possible that the extent to which ethnic consumers adopt and evolve over time can differ according to factors like age, social class, education, income, rural/urban residence, gender, work status, length of stay, sense of ethnic identity, exposure to the host and ethnic media and immigration policies adopted by the state. However, the current paper deliberately focused on discussing the consumption experiences of first generation of ethnic consumers and of those who feel strongly about their ethnic identity and origins. This is done because such consumers constitute a larger proportion of clientele of ethnic entrepreneurs. There are in all likelihood many ethnic consumers whose views might differ markedly from those discussed in this paper. However, author's comprehensive understanding of the ethnic minority communities in the UK suggests that many of the issues discussed in this paper are applicable to many of the ethnic consumers who regularly shop at ethnic enterprises. The findings reported here suggest that participating retailers were quite successful in their efforts to target their co-ethnic clients and gain their allegiance and patronage. However, on the basis of this, one can imagine a number of implications, particularly for mainstream marketers interested in targeting the ethnic minority consumers who represent the fastest growing segment of the total population in the UK (Clegg, 1996, Srinivasan, 1992; Suzman, 1996). For instance, the mainstream marketers need to make sure that all those who are involved in the targeting efforts do understand the cultural needs and aspirations of ethnic minority consumers. In the case of mainstream grocery retailers, this might involve researching the specific food practices at home and providing a range of culturally specific brands and pack sizes to meet specific consumption requirements. It might also involve developing and implementing internal education programmes to train employees to develop and reinforce relationships, enhance communications, cultural awareness and cultural sensitivities. Findings reported here suggest that the ethnic minority consumers appear to be interested in buying all of their essential food ingredients (e.g., spices, herbs, lentils, fresh vegetables and meat and poultry) in appropriate pack sizes with reasonable prices. In the case of other organisations such as banks, departmental and clothing stores, this might involve researching the specific buying patterns and preferences of ethnic minority consumers. Similarly, the chances of making inroads into ethnic minority market segments are higher for marketers that employ multi-ethnic staff capable of communicating with ethnic minority consumers in their respective languages. This is particularly useful for mainstream marketers operating in certain urban areas of the UK where ethnic minorities represent a substantial proportion of the local population (Burton, 2000). It is also essential that mainstream marketers offer products and services in languages other than English. For instance, mainstream banks can offer major ethnic minority language options (e.g., Chinese, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali and Arabic) through their ATM machines and employ multi-lingual staff in their call centres capable of identifying and addressing subtle cultural nuances. Furthermore, marketers should use multi-lingual point of sale displays and packaging materials to reinforce liberal ethos and multiethnic images of the marketplace. The advertising and other promotional materials should be developed in ethnic minority languages and use cultural symbols, objects and people that are relevant to ethnic minority consumer culture (see also, Clegg, 1996; Cui, 1997). By doing so, marketers will be addressing the cultural nuances in their advertising and promotional materials in an appropriate manner and will make their message more believable and relevant to the ethnic consumers. Since the ethnic minority consumers rely strongly on word of mouth communications, marketers could also target their promotion and communicational efforts towards opinion leaders and opinion formers within the ethnic minority communities (e.g., through community centres, religious institutions, and local political organisations). This can best be reinforced through advertising in the ethnic minority media (such as newspapers, magazines, radio and T.V.) that is hugely popular among the ethnic minorities (see, for instance, Cornwell, 1994; Tarla and Singh, 1989; Waldinger et al., 1990). This could further be reinforced by running sales promotion programs specifically targeted at ethnic minority consumers. The mainstream markers can also increase the effectiveness of their targeting efforts by sponsoring the ethnic minority cultural and religious events (e.g., major festivals) and regional conferences organised by ethnic minority professional and cultural groups. They can also market their products and services through local bulletin boards, particularly in mosques, churches, temples and other religious and cultural centres (see also, Holliday, 1993; Alyson, 1993). By doing so, the mainstream marketers will be able to build relationships and demonstrate their commitment to reinforce the cultural aspirations and values of ethnic consumers.