Insights December 4, 2020

In an increasingly diverse market, brands can drive growth with multicultural marketing

Living Word
By Living Word

The multicultural population is already huge, still growing and also getting younger. This is why multicultural marketing is more than a box for brands to tick.

Multicultural consumers make up 40% of the US population and are expected to be the majority by 2040, according to the report U.S. Multicultural Media Forecast 2019, conducted by PQ Media on behalf of the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM). Diversity is increasing as generations are getting younger; however, only 5.2% of marketing and advertising spend was allocated to multicultural efforts. Bob Liodice, CEO of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), commented on the findings: “The report reveals an opening for new ways to drive growth and offers a roadmap for how advertisers can compete more effectively.”

Patrick Quinn, CEO of PQ Media, added: “Multicultural customers — African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Hispanic-Americans — are the fastest growing demographic, but they are under-represented in media buying. Brands need to shift away from bland, generic total-market messaging and concentrate on delivering culturally relevant copy in media that are being seen by multicultural audiences.”

Celebrated campaigns

Juanita Velez, subject expert and founder of Hispanic Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE), looks at the definition of multicultural marketing for Campaign Monitor, describing it as a niche within marketing that can help grow a brand’s marketing goals, within a clearly defined audience. “Inclusive multicultural marketing aims at growing the business by investing in research and strategic initiatives to authentically market to multicultural audiences,” she says, and exposes some truths about why brands don’t spend more on multicultural marketing. For instance, 13% believe that they can reach everyone with their general marketing.

But what might multicultural marketing look like for brands and their marketing strategy? In 6 Examples of Brands Who Got Multicultural Marketing Right, we are reminded of some great examples of diversity marketing, such as Coca Cola’s America is Beautiful campaign before the Superbowl in 2014, which represented the changing face of America. Interestingly, this ad became the hottest topic on Facebook following the Superbowl. Another praised campaign is Proctor and Gamble’s The Talk in 2018, which won an Emmy. It shows Black mothers explaining the issue of racism to their children. P&G’s Global Communications Director, Damon Jones, said at the time: “We know that bias is not just an African American issue. It’s an issue that takes on many shapes and forms, across gender, race, age, weight, sexual orientation, and more.”

Don’t miss the mark

Nielsen has also published reports emphasising the importance of multicultural marketing in a society with an increasingly large proportion of diverse consumers. Stacie de Armas, VP Strategic Community Alliance and Consumer Engagement at Nielsen, said in a statement: “This is a pivotal moment, both for brands and our country. Across the nation, U.S. multicultural communities are standing up, speaking out and demanding to be heard. Racial justice is top of mind for these consumers, who are holding marketers accountable. It’s past time that brands pay attention.”

Despite this shift to a more diverse society, brands and agencies seem to lack representation and investment in multicultural marketing. In a podcast organised by AdAge recently, a number of industry leaders discuss the issue and how brands and agencies can make sure not miss the mark in multicultural marketing. As expressed by Jill Kelly, U.S. Chief Marketing Officer at GroupM, “if you’re not doing multicultural marketing today, you’re not doing marketing”.