Can I Get a “Woo Woo” for Multicultural Marketing

I was online this evening booking train tickets for my wife and I for our upcoming trip to NYC this Friday. She’s participating in the Avon Walk for breast cancer, so, we figured we’d make a weekend of it. While booking our Acela tickets, I noticed something unique on the Amtrak website. In addition to the English version of the website in all of its marketing glory, Amtrak prominently displays a link at the top of the homepage for the “Deutsch” version. While the Spanish version of the site is available via link as well, I thought the choice of German was a bit unusual. Check it out:

This is an interesting marketing strategy, I thought to myself, and I must learn more. So, I did a quick search and came upon the press release issued by Amtrak as to why the German version of the website was created. One of the quotes from an Amtrak official stated the following:

“Outside of North America, Germany is one of our top markets,” said David Lim, Amtrak’s Chief Marketing Officer. “These customers are very comfortable using rail travel in their home country, and we want to make it easy for them to be able to enjoy rail travel in the United States, as well.”

Additionally, the marketing of Amtrak’s services in German is smart because the engines used to pull the Acela trains are made by Alstom which was, as of September 25, named as German rail operator Deutsche Bahn’s supplier of the year, which increases familiarity of the product amongst German consumers.

The wide acceptance of rail travel as a common standard for transportation amongst Europeans and Amtrak being the established leader in the U.S. market make this marketing decision a good one. As such, I give a “Woo Woo” of the train whistle variety to Amtrak for using this strategy as part of an overall online integrated marketing plan.


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