In the United States, multicultural audiences are continuing to grow in both size and influence. In fact, the nation’s foreign-born population is projected to reach 78 million by 2060, making up a total of 18.8% of the US population. Moreover, according to a 2015 report by Nielsen, African-American growth will accelerate to 18% of total population growth by 2020 and increase to 21% by 2060, while Asian-Americans will be responsible for 15% of total growth by 2020 and increase to 19%.
While this study found multicultural populations rising, as the Non-Hispanic White (NHWhite) population ages, their share of growth will actually begin to decline. In 2012, for the first time, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that due to their more advanced age profile, NHWhite mortality exceeded births, and net gains for NHWhites were based on immigration.
In light of these figures, it’s becoming increasingly more important for marketers to target multicultural communities, and truly understand them. So, as communicators, it’s critical to assess how you are going to message your points of difference to diverse markets that hold a significant portion of the buying power; 3.4 trillion, to be exact. And that’s just the buying power of Hispanics. This figure represents a percentage increase of 415% from their buying power in 1990 at $661 billion.
The multicultural market’s size, growing clout, and buying power require thoughtful understanding about what the market represents to a company’s bottom line, and how that company can integrate multicultural marketing into their marketing strategy to more effectively target these consumers.
Keeping Branding and Messages Consistent
While your message for reaching a particular African-American audience may be entirely different than how you choose to market to young, Millennial Asian-Americans, it’s important to keep that targeted message to each individual group consistent. For instance, General Mills is well versed in this, and has understood the importance of adjusting their message for specific audiences, yet keeping their branding consistent. The Cheerios Heart Healthy marketing campaigns are a good example of targeting multicultural audiences. The commercials often target African-American men, as they run a higher risk for heart disease, and Cheerios claim to be heart-healthy.
Not only are their commercials targeted toward African-American men, Cheerios keeps their branding of heart-healthy messages consistent across all advertising and social platforms, including their Twitter account and Facebook page.
Determining Responsive Marketing Methods
As our nation’s three largest multicultural groups (Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asian- Americans) continue their rapid upward trajectory in both numbers and buying power, the need for a nuanced, culturally defined roadmap to this fast-growing segment of the population has never been greater. But it’s key to remember that not all audiences are as responsive to certain media.
For example, African-Americans and Hispanics have proven to be much more responsive to reading product reviews and making online purchases via their mobile devices (21% and 20%, respectively) compared to Caucasians at 13%. Moreover, data shows that these two consumer groups are more likely to adopt and integrate new technologies into their daily lives.
An Experian Marketing Services report found that African-Americans are 39% more likely to purchase products they saw advertised on their mobile devices, while also being more likely to refer to various in-store marketing tactics, such as advertising on the floor. In fact, 11.5% of African-American consumers say they always refer to advertising on the floor, making them 52% more likely to than the average population to do so.
And while we’re talking specifically about mobile as a means of connecting and targeting different segments of the market, this affinity for mobile communications presents an invaluable opportunity for collecting data from these audiences as well. When gathered properly, with the right permissions, mobile data has the potential to tell your business an incredible amount about where and how these groups engage with your brand.
Make the Move to Mobile
Multicultural shoppers, both individually and collectively are leading the way in digital devices and social media. This consumer group uses these platforms to celebrate and maintain their cultural identities, as well as to connect with one another and the world around them.
Studies show that multicultural consumers are connected and incredibly mobile savvy; they use their smartphones and other digital devices at much higher rates than their non-multicultural counterparts. Take a look at your current mobile advertising strategy, and figure out how it’d need to change to be better at targeting multicultural audiences.
Just as you’ll have to break down your mobile strategy, you’ll also need to assess how your marketing needs to change for different social outlets in order to better create a more integrated multicultural marketing strategy. Knowing, and more importantly understanding your audience and their habits is necessary to reaching them in the most effective ways.
Both African-American and Hispanic consumers are very active on social platforms. One core reasons Hispanics use social media is to stay in touch with friends and family who live far away. According to Mintel, 80% of Hispanics say social media allows them to be in constant contact with friends and family in Latin America and to be closer to their Hispanic roots. In the case of African-American consumers, social outlets also allows the fluid connection with friends and family with the addition of providing them with the ability to share news and things that matter to them, especially things that impact the Black community.
As leaders when it comes to technology, mobile, and social media, it’s no surprise that Asian-Americans are very active social media users. According to Nielsen, they also watch and download more movies than any other ethnic segment. Furthermore, 42% of Asian-Americans are more likely to agree that the Internet is a source of entertainment.
Discover Offline Habits
As marketers, studies show that you can win with Hispanics in grocery markets. Generally speaking, Hispanics place a high value on fresh foods, and they’re spending at a higher rate on grocery items and perishables more frequently than other U.S. consumers. Nielsen reports that Hispanics shoppers spend $175 more on fresh foods per year at grocery stores than the national average. Not only do Hispanics spend more on grocery items, they enjoy food shopping and consider it a special time to spend with family and socialize.
An offline habit we found interesting is that 88% of Asian-Americans own credit cards, compared to just 66% of the general population. Additionally, Asian-Americans are selective shoppers. They are 31% more likely than average to buy organic foods and are 23% more likely to evaluate nutrition facts. With an average life expectancy of 87.3 — much higher than any other ethnic group — it’s no news that Asian-Americans will also spend more on foods that support a long-standing tradition of holistic well-being.
Be Language and Jargon Conscious
There is a fine line between offensive and accurate; make sure you understand the nuances of audience cultures. When working to translate copy to a different language, make sure things read correctly and won’t be taken out of context.
Be careful when using jargon or sayings that won’t translate well in a different language or culture. It’s like that one time Britney Spears thought she got the Chinese symbol for “Mysterious” tattooed on her hip, but it ended up meaning “strange.” Making a similar translation mistake can be as permanently damaging to your brand’s reputation as a bad tattoo.
A prime example of a brand that had a translation tragedy is General Motors. When introducing their Chevy Nova in South America, their marketers must not have realized that the name “Nova”, literally translates to “It won’t go” in Spanish. To make sure this embarrassing mishap doesn’t happen to your brand, consider consulting an expert or translator so that your copy not only comes across correctly, but is grammatically correct.
Monitor Your Marketing
So you’ve created a multicultural marketing strategy tailored to your target audience’s behavior. Your work isn’t done just yet; looking into consumers’ demographics, media habits and online behavior is essential. By keeping an eye and ear on what your customers are saying, you can better understand their evolving needs and desires and in turn, adjust your marketing strategy as you see fit. Monitoring your marketing tactics is a chief way to grow the multicultural responsiveness to your brand.
One way to do this is via social media — checking on hashtags, and looking out for feedback that may be constructive. Remember, great monitoring agendas are driven by purpose, a great tool is Google Analytics. You can use this to generate detailed statistics and insights about your website’s traffic, usability, conversions, and sales. It will also provide you with valuable information about your visitors.
To connect with multicultural consumers, explore key dimensions of cultural subsets using insights — identity, environmental factors and language, understand how your potential consumers’ behavior affects their experiences, values, habits, and attitudes; it’s instrumental to learning their motivations. These consumers are trendsetters and tastemakers; they are avid technology, mobile and social media users. And as they begin to join the mainstream in growing numbers, brands will need to focus on culture sustainability to remain relevant in the market.
By taking the time to invest in multicultural consumers today, marketers can ensure that they will remain a competitive and strong force in an increasingly multicultural market. Brands that lead with multicultural insights to craft authentic and sustainable marketing strategies will reap the most profitable returns on their investment.