We Might be Close…Very Close

Last week, I enjoyed being a part of the 6th Annual Multicultural Marketing Summit, organized by Geoscape. While there, in the luxurious surroundings of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (tough work, but somebody has to do it), I had the privilege of standing at the podium with one of our Clients, Lisa Bacus, Vice President of Marketing at American Family Insurance. Together we shared a best practices example of Cultural Convergence. As I took it all in, something became very clear — I think we may be close to reaching a season in our industry where the question surrounding multicultural marketing truly becomes less about “IF” and much more about “HOW.” And after having the opportunity to speak at dozens of other conferences like this one, over the course of 18 years, this has not always been the case. In years past, the expressions in the audience appeared more overwhelmed, skeptical and uncertain. Last week, I saw more heads nodding, smiles and outbursts of encouragement. I saw more people locking in on the one foundational truth that most defines the multicultural marketing opportunity — that multicultural marketing, at the core, is just marketing. The demographic landscape is simply leading more brands into becoming more customer-centric around the lifestyles and behaviors of a “new general market” – one that, in many DMAs, is dominated by high-growth segments that happen to be more multicultural than ever before. Of course, we still have a lot of work to do. One of the prevailing themes at the event was the ongoing quest of gaining internal buy-in and alignment. The internal culture seems to still be a larger hurdle than the external one inside of most organizations. But I was encouraged by the energy, passion and sheer intelligence reflected in all of the “champions” who attended. If they can successfully build the business case internally to get more of their key decision-makers on board, from the C-Suite to the front-line, we may just start to see a whole new generation of...

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Cultural Convergence Marketing – Starting with the Right Foundation

In a previous post, we discussed the changing demographic landscape that calls for a new marketing approach – Cultural Convergence Marketing. And you were left wondering – how do I apply this to my brand? Of course we wouldn’t leave you hanging!  Over the next couple of weeks and months, we’ll talk about how to apply this model to help you serve your total market. You will be happy to see that you do not need a complete overhaul of your existing efforts. We will show you, by using your current resources, including your existing marketing budgets, how Cultural Convergence Marketing can help you: Strengthen your brand inside of the total market. Demonstrate measurable outcomes and metrics across the total market. Save thousands (and possibly) millions of dollars every year. This month, we start with the foundation: planning and research. As with any marketing program, starting with the right research will give the program as a whole the best chance for success. Here are the four (4) key areas that typically comprise an effective Cultural Convergence research plan. Assessment – An upfront assessment of the brand can determine the degree to which the Cultural Convergence model is applicable. In this assessment, it is useful for a third-party to look at a brand’s current growth objectives, budget allocations and target demo strategies to determine whether or not Cultural Convergence Marketing can be applied immediately or if there are some intermediary steps that would put the brand in a better place to maximize the full benefits of the approach. Research Design – Considering that the Multicultural consumer is now the dominant population in many key DMAs, it may be necessary for a brand to reassess its traditional research approach, which typically oversamples the non-Hispanic white consumer and later overlays multi-ethnic consumers or under-represents the multi-ethnic consumer base from the outset. By reflecting the true ethnic make-up, many brand teams will be surprised to see the influence that Multicultural segments actually have on their total market. Additionally,...

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