In our evolving digital world, we’re constantly connected and interacting with each other. As brands, we can easily reach wider audiences. With this opportunity comes a challenge: how to effectively market to consumers from all backgrounds and cultures.
According to census data analyzed by The Brookings Institution, around 4 in 10 Americans identify as a race or ethnicity other than white. With the U.S. rapidly becoming more diverse, how can you ensure your messaging resonates with diverse audiences? Implement and strengthen your multicultural marketing strategy.
On our web show SpeedBumps Live!, we talked with two multicultural marketing leaders. They gave actionable advice on effectively marketing to and representing multicultural audiences. Meet the women who understand that the blanket “one-size-fits-all” messaging is not enough
Jennifer Rogers-Givens is a marketing leader with expertise in multicultural advertising and PR. Understanding cultural nuances, she directs brands on how to speak to their target audience.
Adaliz Vicens is an expert in Hispanic marketing and involved in organizations driving inclusivity in business and tech. She shares that Hispanics have a strong sense of word-of-mouth in their community, making them the “OG influencers.”
From our interviews, we took away three considerations to keep in mind when building a multicultural marketing strategy:
- Data backs up your strategy — as long as it’s right.
- Nuances spark an emotional connection when data falls short.
- Authenticity makes or breaks a strategy.
1) Data backs up your strategy — as long as it’s right.
Numbers help fill in the gaps, so here are a couple to paint a more holistic picture:
African American spending is projected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2024 (NielsenIQ).
The Hispanic community now represents 19% of the U.S. population and has a buying power of $2.7 trillion (Nielsen).
African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans hold a combined spending power of around $2.4 trillion (UGA Today).
The multicultural population is growing and will continue to in the coming years. [see below]
It’s projected that in 2060 the U.S. multicultural population will grow, and non-Hispanic Whites will no longer be the majority (Statista).
The abundance of data available today proves that multicultural marketing is critical for a truly integrated marketing strategy. Adaliz and Jennifer share that brands should utilize data; however, there are gaps to address.
Jennifer explains that skewed data, representing a majority of non-Hispanic whites, typically drives campaign messaging. This data gap often leads to the underrepresentation of multicultural groups, ultimately leaving them out of the total market strategy. Make sure your data is clean and unbiased before using it to inform marketing efforts.
Plan to correct the data.
If your goal is to reach a multicultural audience, you need to have a plan. It could include buying data from a reputable source, conducting more primary research, or bringing in the right partners that know these multicultural audiences well. Jennifer even suggests that if your data is skewed, you can overrepresent certain groups to balance it out.
Use data to build a consensus around your audience.
To create correct data sets, you need extra resources and time. You want to make sure you’re correcting your data properly to give your strategy a strong foundation and gain team buy-in.
Break down the data and share key insights across your entire organization, so everyone has a deep understanding of your target audience. You can only truly connect with your audience if you know exactly who you’re trying to reach. That makes all the time and effort spent correcting your data worth it.
2) Nuance: spark an emotional connection when data falls short.
Quantitative data can only get you so far. Where’s the data to support the customer’s thought process or the feelings behind buying habits? There’s more at play here: actual human emotions. Numbers don’t tell you anything about the feelings that go into consumers’ decisions. More is needed to ensure that marketing efforts address the defining elements of multicultural groups.
To fully understand your audience is to observe and speak to the details that set them apart from the total market. Different racial and ethnic groups have unique experiences, values, and perspectives. For example, an African American woman in her 30s and a White American woman in her 30s will each have a different set of experiences, values, and perspectives that factor into their buying decisions. These nuances should all come into the equation when creating your strategy.
According to Jennifer, Nike is a great example of a brand that understands and appeals to different cultural perspectives and values. By using a particular song or language in their ads, the athletic brand intentionally delivers nuanced messages that resonate with different audiences. Missing these nuances can cause you to overlook potential loyal customers and, even worse, turn them away.
Adaliz pointed out that there are multiple subcultures within the U.S. Hispanic community. All consumers within this audience seek belonging, but how a brand can do this varies between subcultures. Without understanding these nuances, you can dismiss members of this audience.
Ask the right questions to ensure you have the right information. In personal experiences, Adaliz has tossed out brands from her life because of targeting her using a one-size-fits-all strategy. Pulling this qualitative data can provide the reason and emotion behind the numbers.
Understanding these unique characteristics in audiences is essential to maintaining a culturally relevant strategy. Jennifer believes that “Trying to undo the total market mentality and go back to segmentation works.” Creating more segmented messaging based on what makes audiences different allows you to prove that you understand and value them. Who doesn’t want that?
3) Authenticity makes or breaks a strategy.
Even if you correct the data to represent all the multicultural audiences and identify the nuances, it can fall apart if the strategy isn’t authentic.
The biggest driver behind authenticity is intentionality. Both Adaliz and Jennifer suggest that you must be intentional about what you do every step of the way. This intention includes actively working to bring diverse talent to the table and putting purpose behind all marketing efforts.
Publix and Target are two brands that do this well. Jennifer mentioned that Publix seeks out the right agency partners to help them with their multicultural campaigns. Adaliz says Target authentically sources talent to represent multicultural audiences.
Every action should have a reason. It helps keep your brand culturally relevant and on target.
Another way to establish authenticity is to align your strategy to complement your brand. Prove to multicultural audiences that you understand where you fit into their lives. This allows them to see that you took time to understand and reach them – that you genuinely care.
Is Your Brand Seeing Clearly?
Utilizing correct data, recognizing emotional drivers in your audience, and remaining authentic are three critical components of a multicultural marketing strategy. The next generation of consumers will be more diverse than they are today. They’re the ones who hold your brand’s reputation in their hands. Ensure your multicultural customers feel seen to future-proof your business. That starts with adjusting your strategy to reach them today.