Moving Multicultural Out of the Silos

Jun04

Posted by Jose Villa

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Corporate America is increasingly undertaking enterprise-level initiatives to move multicultural market considerations from a segment-driven consideration into their core business operations. Market realities are driving this trend: the growth of multicultural populations, their spending power and the projections they will drive a majority of market growth in many industries. A glimpse at the demographic profile of the coveted millennial population brings this market imperative into focus: Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians make up 41% of all millennials in the U.S.

Marketing is often the “tip of the spear” for these massive corporate efforts, and appropriately so. Marketing is all about creating customer-led demand. Ironically, many organizations have created multicultural departments, “centers of excellence”, or diversity functions, which have been given responsibility for mainstreaming multicultural.

 

Total Market Is a First, Awkward Step towards Bigger Changes to Come
The Total Market Approach has been one of the first manifestations of this trend within marketing. I do not believe that the Total Market Approach is a nefarious attempt to marginalize ethnic advertising agencies, eliminate segmented multicultural marketing efforts, or obfuscate cost-cutting efforts. Instead, I see it as an honest experiment by thoughtful and well-intentioned organizations looking to fundamentally redefine multicultural marketing within their organizations. However, I do not view the Total Market Approach as long-term model. Debating the merits of the total market approach misses this most important point: marketing at the highest levels must change.

 

Marketing Must Change as Massive Demographic Shifts Reshape America 
The demographic makeup of millennials provides a snapshot of today’s multicultural marketplace. However, the coming generation provides a better glimpse into the future of the America and how marketing has to change. Gen Z is the first generation in American history to be almost majority minority (47%). But Gen Z will change multicultural marketing in more profound ways. Hispanics make up 23% of Gen Z, but 91% are native-born and only 24% speak Spanish. Future immigration into the U.S. may change Gen Z, but projections point to educated, wealthier Asians driving most immigration into Gen Z. Gen Z is also 5% mixed race, the highest in history

 

A Marketing Industry Focused on “Differences” Will Never Solve These Big Marketing Challenges 
Companies are turning to multicultural marketing and diversity experts to help solve the immense marketing challenge of taking multicultural efforts to the enterprise. Unfortunately, most of these experts – whether marketers, researchers, or diversity experts – bring a bias and fundamentally flawed frame of reference to this new multicultural world. For the last 50+ years, multicultural marketing and diversity specialists have made a living focused on identifying and leveraging the differences between the “mainstream” and ethnic minorities. As Gen Z comes into better focus, it’s clear that this model will not work.

 

The Solutions Lie in Shifting towards a Framework that Identifies and Leverages Similarities
A new multicultural marketing perspective must be embraced to move multicultural from silos and evolve marketing to meet the seismic changes Gen Z will usher in. This new approach should start with identifying and leveraging the similarities between cultural segments reflecting the new reality that culture no longer exists in the silo of ethnicity. This new approach is exemplified by “polyculturalism,” a model introduced by The Futures Company. Polyculturalism replaces the outdated concept of acculturation by describing and measuring the extent to which consumers balance multiple different cultures. While polyculturalism may ultimately give way to new models, it moves the industry towards a cross-cultural approach that effectively breaks down the silos of multicultural marketing.

 

An edited version of this post originally ran on MediaPost Engage:Hispanic on June 4, 2015.

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How Hispanic Millennials use Food and Beverages to Connect with Their Culture

May30

Posted by Jose Villa

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For the last year and half, I’ve been involved in a nationwide research initiative focused on Hispanic Millennials. OurHispanic Millennial Project research has focused on understanding how Hispanic Millennials differ from “mainstream,” Asian and African-American Millennials, as well as older Hispanics (35+). We dive deep into attitudes, behavior and motivations related to healthcare, financial services and [...]

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May15

Posted by Ken Y

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Apr21

Posted by Sensis Staff

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Apr05

Posted by Jose Villa

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The prevailing wisdom is that investment in the Hispanic market is a growth move by marketers looking to increase their revenue and market share. However I have quietly noticed a trend during the last few years that leads me to question the motives behind these investments. Has increased Hispanic market investment been a defensive move? [...]

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Digital is the New Currency

Mar30

Posted by Karla Fernandez Parker

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Mar17

Posted by Karla Fernandez Parker

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Mar06

Posted by Jose Villa

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Marketers have focused on Millennials for nearly a decade, making them among the most-studied group of young adults. But as the tail end of Millennials turn 21 and graduate from college, it’s time to turn our attention to next major consumer group – those under 21. While there is no agreement on their label or [...]

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Hispanic Millennials And Financial Services

Feb05

Posted by Jose Villa

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Historically, financial service companies have been slow to focus on the burgeoning U.S. Hispanic market. While certain sub-categories, namely money transfer services, check cashing and mortgage providers have aggressively pursued Hispanics, most efforts have been focused on the “unbanked” – an unsophisticated and relatively small segment of unacculturated Hispanic consumers that were generally outside the [...]

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Jan30

Posted by SensisStrategyTeam

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