Influx of Immigrants – New People, New Customers

Are you or your company aware of how the face of the American consumer is changing because of immigration?  Is your brand still relevant to this influx of new people into your market every day?

Immigration to this country, both legal and illegal, is at an all time high.  As people pour in from other countries, settle, and begin to build their lives, companies must understand and embrace the cultural differences, and emotionally connect in order to be relevant and effectively communicate marketing and branding messages.

How relevant is your brand to the influx of immigrants?  It’s OK if you’ve made a conscious decision to eliminate this group, as a strategic trade-off, from your list of targets.  But let me at least share some interesting data before you finalize that decision.

Did you know, based on government estimates, there are 250,000 new illegal immigrants coming to the U.S. every year, with 10.8 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. now.  States with the largest illegal immigrant populations are: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Nevada.

According to the government’s immigration statistics, 1,130,818 people became Legal Permanent Residents in the U.S. during 2009.  Just one year.  Of those, 59% already lived in the U.S.  Most of them came through family connections, some sponsored by employers, and nearly 200,000 were given political asylum.

The largest age group coming to this country is between 25 and 34, representing 277,000 of those admitted to Permanent Residents….young people starting families.  The next largest age group is 35-44, representing 210,000 of new Permanent Residents.  And there were 209,000 young people admitted, ages 15-24….new and future customers.

The majority of these immigrants come from Mexico and Latin America.  But Asians make up the next largest group…. middle easterners are increasingly finding their place in the U.S.

These numbers represent new and future customers for you and your brand.

Foreign investments continue to grow here just as American companies expand internationally.  It’s a Global New World Marketplace.

The middle class consumer is no longer just white.  The influx of immigrants continues to remind us that diversity and multicultural societies are now a rule, not an exception.  It is now more important than ever for corporations to realize these shifts in their own backyards in order to sustain relevance and growth.

If your company is still putting Spanish dubs in English commercials and displaying banners during Cinco de Mayo or other ethnic holidays, you are not really understanding and relating to the immigrant population.  Companies must learn to understand these new immigrants, their hot buttons, what turns them on or off, and what they are willing to spend money on.  Companies must learn the cultures and archetypes that impact their day to day decisions.  These immigrants are motivated by different cultural values and life priorities.  Definitions of family values, education, religion, relationships, and work/life balance varies for each segment within each racial and ethnic group.  Stereotyping these values for each group will defy all their logic, and at times, become even offensive.

For any national brand, it is time you start looking at your marketing calendar as a multicultural plan, as a whole.  How “general market” is defined is changing every day.  Find commonalities for all different groups within your target, and connect those to your brand’s leveragable attributes.  Start with “Respect”…..a common important need among all immigrants and minority populations.

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