The latest immigration numbers from Stats NZ showed that for the 12 months ending April 2018, more than 130,000 migrants arrived into New Zealand with the intention to stay for more than 12 months, also defined as Permanent and Long Term (PLT) migrants.


To put into a simple term, that’s over 350 new migrants arriving into NZ every day.


Of the 130,000 migrants, over 75% of them are non-NZ citizens. They also represent new market opportunities for companies who are seeking to connect with the fastest growing consumer group in New Zealand.


As more companies realise the attractiveness of migrant segment, many are getting in touch with me to find out how they should formulate a migrant market strategy or setup a migrant segment team.


Here are 5 simple steps to create a low-budget basic migrant segment as part of a company’s growth strategy.


Step 1 – Buy-in from senior management

Any new growth strategy needs to be endorsed at the top, which will help to allocate resources and budget down the line.


The chart below speaks for itself in the continuing trend of migration in NZ. Even if the arrivals tapers back to 2009 levels, it still equates to 90,000 migrants per year or 250 per day.


You can find out the rest of the compelling reasons in my previous article, including their profitability. From our recent banking research, we know that migrants hold 10% more products than those who are locally born.


Step 2 – Hire The Right Inclusive Leader

I have seen many examples of companies hiring the wrong type of leader to lead the migrant segment, resulting in unconscious favouritism in the team, selective participation in community events because of different ethnicity of the crowd, and potentially not understanding the differences in customer needs, which leads to the danger of customer isolation.


When hiring, look for these signature traits of an inclusive leader according to Deloitte, or at least have development plan in placed to upskill them.


Step 3 – Re-package your existing offering

Many companies always ask me the question of how should they develop new products for migrants. Majority of the time there is no need to develop specialist products for migrants depending on 3 things: the size of the organisation, cost per unit of product, and system feasibility.


Most of the time, companies can just re-package existing product and communicate the line of products suited to migrants, instead of letting migrants scramble to find the products that suit them.


Everything in New Zealand is foreign to most migrants, so help them understand your products at a glance. A great example is ANZ’s Migrant Banking Package.


Step 4 – Selective Vertical Distribution

There are many pitfalls that companies slip into when it comes to distribution for migrant segment.


A classic example is translating website, or just parts of it, into Chinese and thinking this will just win over Chinese migrants and gain market share.


Or, having Chinese brochures in stores but no one in the store is able to speak Chinese.


Or, having multiple language options on your website but serviced by English only call centre.


This results in disconnection in customer experience and broken promises, where customer is given the false hope of able to interact in their preferred language from the brochure or website, only to find out that the after sales service are all conducted in English.


It’s important to understand who you want to target, and understand how the target segment prefer to interact with your brand.


For example, if you’re targeting Chinese in New Zealand, which by the way there are three different Chinese groups, then consider having WeChat as a vertical distribution platform, just like Briscoes. Their strategy is to focus on mainland Chinese migrants where WeChat is the primary method of interacting and purchasing from brands. Good work in using Chinese language to acquire Chinese customers, but what happens after that?


Step 5 – Customer Centric Marketing Programme

The last step is bringing all of the above together in a customer centric marketing programme based around a migrant’s journey. Example of a migrant journey in banking industry:

For young brands wanting to connect to migrants who represent 25% of New Zealand’s population, I usually advise companies to to focus on a three-step process that is wrapped around a delightful and seamless customer experience: Brand Awareness > Brand Consideration > Brand Trial.


For mature brands with strong customer analytics capabilities, I recommend using Customer CARE model (Consideration, Acquisition, Retention, Experience), where there are enough resources to embed migrant segment capabilities to convert new clients to become brand advocates.


Final thoughts – Is this all worth the ROI?

With these simple steps, any organisation can start a long term profitable migrant growth strategy. Other impactful elements include community support, omnichannel distribution, product development, and a well-executed cultural diversity and inclusion program.


Our research shows that migrants are less likely to switch brands compared to those who are locally born. In particular, though they may have intention to switch, but actual switching rates are much lower due to lack of choice in the market and perceived inconvenience. This presents an opportunity for those with ridiculously simple switching process and a little carrot at the end of the stick.

With more than 300 new potential clients arriving everyday in New Zealand, it’s a straight forward decision to start a migrant segment growth strategy, with many industries wide open for first-to-market advantage. As Walter Hagen puts it “No one remembers who came in second”.


Eric Chuah is the co-owner of Multicultural Times, a fortnightly newspaper that covers all things ethnic and multicultural in New Zealand, including cultural diversity and inclusion. He is also the Associate Partner of MultiMarketing – a pioneer in multicultural marketing since 2009 helping companies to connect with multicultural consumers. Eric founded Cultural Connections last year, a multicultural researching and consulting firm working with government agencies, community groups, and private sector in New Zealand. Eric is currently serving as Independent Advisor for Multicultural New Zealand; Board Trustee for Auckland Regional Migrant Services; and Ethnic Media Advisor for New Zealand Human Rights Commission.