Diversity Marketing as Strategy: What new Canadians should your small business target?

Last time, we talked about why New Canadians will be the growth engine for Canadian businesses.  Citizenship and Immigration Canada indicated this will likely continue, with a special focus on economic immigrants who pass education, language and experience criteria.

As business owners, which segment of the ethnic market should you focus on?  Where will you invest your marketing dollars?

Though there are many ways to segment this population, let’s start off with a simple way to examine this group – Tenure and ethnicity.

Tenure in Canada

Immigrants with similar tenure in Canada tend to go through a similar experience of trying to settle in the country. We learned about their journeys in a study on 12,000 immigrants.

1)      New Immigrants:

  • Within the first year of landing in Canada, new immigrants make many decisions and major purchases in Canada – their main concerns are housing, transportation, career, education, and healthcare.
    • Most immigrants (87%) have friends and relatives in the city in which they land, and moved at least once within their first six weeks in Canada – from a temporary residence to semi-permanent arrangement.
    • Within the first six months, 70% actively sought employment, with 63% of this group employed.

2)      Adjusted Immigrants:

  • After a few years, immigrants adjusted to life in Canada.  Their concerns evolve from basic necessities to enhancing quality of life.  They are still deeply rooted to their culture and interact regularly with those with the same ethnic background.
    • Majority (93%) intended to stay in Canada and were in the process to obtain citizenship.
    • Three quarters (74%) of immigrants stated that at least half of their friends are from the same ethnic background, and most (60%) prefer physicians that speak their home language.

3)      Established Immigrants:

  • Established immigrants have integrated well into the Canadian society, but their cultural values still distinguish this group from native born Canadians.
    • 83% reported that carrying on the traditions and values of their homeland is important.
    • Home ownership of established immigrants (79%) is significantly higher than native-born Canadians (66%).

4)      Second & Third Generation:

  • Though many may not have been to the country their parents or grandparents are from, they participate in many of the traditions – celebrate the festivals, enjoy the delicacies, speak the language and maintain the core values similar to those of their ancestors.


Looking at and targeting different ethnicities is a complex task, and cultural sensitivity is critical.  We will go into further detail in future articles.

Understanding how these segments behave can ensure your marketing efforts are targeted and effective.  Think about your products & services — at what stage of their journey will they need your product?  How can you effectively reach this group?  What are strategies to maintain positive word-of-mouth within that ethnic market?

See our next article in two weeks for ways to further examine the immigrant opportunity.

Author bio

Bernice Cheung is the Senior Consultant of Altus Strategy Group, a consulting firm that helps businesses solve their marketing and strategy issues.  She leads the Ethnic Marketing practice – helping clients understand and target this lucrative population through listening to the consumer’s authentic voice.  She received her MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business, and an Honours B Commerce degree from DeGroote School of Business.

E-mail: Bernice.Cheung@AltusStrategy.com

Website: www.AltusStrategy.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Altus-Strategy-Group/353188541430920

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/company/altus-strategy-group

Source: Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada: A Portrait of Early Settlement Experiences, Statistics Canada