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Marketing to South Asians in Great Britain

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There are some segments of the British consumer public that are not being reached as effectively as others. One of these segments is the South Asian community – those from the Indian peninsula and the surrounding countries – and research shows that this represents half of the British immigrant population (Burton, 2002). Worldwide, immigrants from this region are underrepresented in marketing surveys and journal research (Stern, 1999. Williams, 1995). While 20,000 Indians and Eastern Europeans were recently allowed to immigrate into Germany because of shortages in the computer industry, there is no evidence that German marketers are taking advantage of this new segment (The Economist, 2000). This is a trend that is even more marked in Britain. There are several reasons for this: parts of the South Asian immigrant community are viewed as a sort of underclass (Lash and Urry, 1994). many perceive this group as lacking the purchasing power to join the consumer society (Sivanandan, 1989). there are very few South Asian marketing managers in British firms (Burton, 2002). and there is a confusion in some marketing firms as to how to reach the South Asian community (Gooding, 1998). While there is a growing awareness of this group as a formidable [segment] as consumers, workers, and investors(Palumbo and Teich, 2004), there are some areas of debate in just how this group should be reached. These include the rapidity with which immigrants from South Asia will gain consumer values similar to those of British society (Bhugra, Kamaldeep, Mallett, and Manisha, 1999). which consumer values will change at all, or remain the same (Ryder and Paulhus, 2000). whether or not British firms should use South Asian languages and cultural symbols in their marketing campaigns, trying to find a balance between a sense of welcome and a sense of ostracization (Palumbo and Teich, 2004. Koslow, Shamdasani, and Touchstone, 1994. Holland and Gentry, 1999). and at what point segmentation becomes isolation (Briley and Wyer, 2002).