Making it in a Multicultural Market

Your business is ultimately nothing without them, your marketing message revolves around them and your long-term growth is tied to them. Customers are the bottom line and their faces are quickly changing. So why do so many companies conveniently overlook certain customer segments?

If you look around, there’s a good chance you won’t find the same customers today that you did 20 years ago. Today’s target market is growing more diverse, with unique sets of beliefs and buying patterns. In fact, more than 50 percent of the population in the state of Texas is Hispanic, African-American or Asian. Nationally, these ethnic groups will be the majority by 2050

For most marketers and advertisers, it’s much easier to put each target market in neat boxes and create messaging with diverse faces. But just like mass marketing, multicultural marketing requires researching, planning and executing. And if you think customers aren’t paying attention, think again. 

As a bilingual, bicultural Latina, I definitely take notice and appreciate it when a company makes an effort to connect with me. Take for instance this Rethink Possible – Ripple Effect ad from AT&T. For starters, the ad is in English. The message is strong - a young man makes his family proud by becoming the first Latino U.S. president, an obviously deep cultural aspiration. Of course, the AT&T product is to thank for it all, but you get the idea. 

Another company making strides in their multicultural marketing is Procter & Gamble. Their “My Black is Beautiful” campaign is not solely about reaching one’s pocketbook but connecting and creating a movement (i.e. brand loyalty). The most interesting part about Procter & Gamble is that their message isn’t product-focused or segment-driven, it’s a commitment understood and embraced by the entire company. 

Don’t get me wrong. These efforts take time and they’re a little easier if you’re a large Fortune 500 company like AT&T or P&G. But any company looking to tap into the multicultural market buying power can do it. Here are a few tips to help:

Ensure serious buy-in from senior management – If there isn’t a financial or time commitment from the leaders and decision-makers, these efforts are going to fall flat. 

Do your research, avoid the stereotypes and get to know the communities – Work to find out who your target market is, what they look like and what they are looking for.

Show them you know them – Use that research to cater customized messaging and products for them. 

Reinforce throughout the company – From the executive team to the frontline staff, each individual should be well aware of the marketing goals. Make it part of the process (i.e. user manual to arm each employee with the proper messaging and tools). 

In the end, you want to avoid the hit and miss and really do your homework. 

Is your company taking on multicultural marketing full-force or have you seen any recent examples? We’d love to hear them. Share below.