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Outlook for Multicultural Marketing in 2011 and Beyond

Friday, Jan 14, 2011

Top multicultural marketing experts weigh in with their informed opinions on what to expect in Multicultural Marketing in 2011 and over the next decade. Read on to learn what these experts have to say about marketing to African Americans, Asian Americans, Muslim Americans, the GLBT consumer market and people with disabilities.

The Asian American Market

Asian multicultural marketing continues to be poised for growth in the new decade, and will be spurred on by the publication of new Census 2010 data on the Asian population – expected in March/April this year. Some key trends to watch for in 2011 and beyond include: Expansion of active product categories and entrance of new category players in the Asian multicultural space. While the historical “big players” of financial services and telecom will continue to remain active, new growth will come from increasing, or ‘re-activated,’ marketing activity from clients in the retail, automotive, and luxury products sectors. Healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing programs will also deepen as Asian DTC efforts move beyond the historical focus of the last decade (liver health and osteoporosis) to embrace new disease categories including mental health, cardiovascular, oncology, and others. Major OTC brands will also turn towards the Asian segments for the first time as a new ‘frontier’ that extends their prior successes in Hispanic and African-American marketing. The coming 3-5 years will also welcome new, or fairly ‘inactive’ categories to the Asian market as multicultural marketing as a discipline completes its transition from ‘option’ to ‘imperative.’ Such categories include consumer packaged goods (in its broadest definition), computers/software, travel & leisure, and others. Drive to the Web: Asian marketers will increasingly build their online competencies as the spotlight is maintained on Asian consumers in the USA as the most ‘mature’ users of the web – with respect to their daily/weekly/monthly surfing habits, their leading use of social media, and their leadership among all segments in researching products online, purchasing products online, and conducting financial transactions online. However, unlike in the general market, growth in online marketing programs will not replace traditional Asian media programs, but rather serve as an essential, integrated ‘complement’ to such programs. This is due to the long history of Asian offline media in the country, the ever-expanding offline content sophistication, the continued strong reach which Asian offline media affords within the top ‘Asian’ cities, and it’s comparative low cost vis a vis media in other consumer segments. As such, the cost barrier-to-entry in building ‘surround-sound’ offline/online programming to reach Asian consumers will continue to remain low, thereby enhancing market attractiveness. By Saul Gitlin, EVP Strategic Services, Kang & Lee Advertising

Multicultural Markets

From the perspective of a market research company we see the following: We anticipate that the release of the 2010 decennial census data will spark many large companies to enter the market. This trend should continue throughout the next decade. We will see the multicultural market begin to move faster and with greater impact for those who jump in. End user and agency companies will finally recognize the full potential of both Hispanics and Asian Americans and adjust their spending accordingly. New, less expensive techniques for market research data collection (i.e. the advent of real, representative Hispanic panels and interviewing using mobile applications and specialty panels) will mean that marketers can now get quicker insights, cutting costs and time-to-market for many new products. This will be a very exciting time as fresh, new faces enter the multicultural arena with new ideas and enthusiasm. By Michael Halberstam, President, Interviewing Service of America

In 2011, multicultural marketing will continue to migrate toward digital assignments. The number of African Americans and Hispanics online and with access to digital outlets through smart phones will increase significantly, as will the ability to reach them with optimized messaging. At Prime Access, our digital communications business will climb steadily, so it will continue to receive our greatest investment. The biggest news in 2011 and 2012 will be the release of 2010 census results, and this will aid in creating finer multicultural segmentation. The number of multicultural Americans and so-called mixed-race individuals and couples will surprise many in the industry. Yesterday’s dominant target audience (young and middle-aged whites) will clearly be aging out of their prime consumption years. A majority of marketers will begin to see there is no “general market.” And the attention generated by repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will fuel a surge of interest in LGBT consumers. Multicultural agencies will hold the best understanding of those comprising the new America, as legacy agencies and holding companies still will not employ a critical mass of seasoned managers who understand these consumers’ sensibilities and world view. This will enhance the value of multicultural agencies while impeding legacy agency effectiveness, particularly as clients increasingly value direct interaction with consumers where they live and frequent. By Howard Buford, President & CEO, Prime Access.

As we seek to provide valuable products and services in another new year of a new decade, it is imperative that we continue to understand and embrace the multiculturalism that increasingly defines America and our world.  The 2010 U.S. Census, in asking respondents to be more specific in noting their racial and ethnic identities, officially acknowledges the changing racial and ethnic demographics.  A recent Pew Foundation study predicts that by 2050, America will be a nation of minorities. What better time than now, during 2011, to review in earnest, all the ethnic and cultural diversity around us, and take definitive actions to become better informed about our multicultural society-as employees, employers, and marketers of  consumer products and services.   Real education and real understanding will be the key to any short-term or long-term success in an ever-increasing multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural marketplace.  To meet the needs of a changing marketplace, the mission of is to be a valuable resource to achieve better understanding across race, culture, and ethnicity. As an online educational magazine, each issue, through its many departments, covers important topics in the areas of business, health, politics, education, and cultural uniqueness.  By Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., President and Publisher of

Promoted as “The Portrait of America,” the 2010 Census is almost finished and the preliminary numbers are in. At the end of the data collection process every household had information about its occupants recorded, either from the forms sent and filled out, direct contact from the enumerators or estimated answers done by the enumerators. The enumerators estimated the households ethnicity, race and number of people for those who did not send in the form or were unable to contact directly. For the 2010 Census about 72 percent of the population returned their information and language preference was not even one of the 10 questions on the short form. “Estimated” is the key word here, just how accurate is the estimated information? It should be interesting to compare their estimated numbers to those of companies who use real time data in their analysis. Companies will need to implement new strategies for increasing revenue and brand loyalty utilizing the growing multicultural segments of the population. This will give them the edge over their competition. Accurate market identification and appropriate messaging will be the key factors for success. By Candace M. Kennedy, Sales and Marketing, Ethnic Technologies, LLC

Welcome to the “multicultural mainstream” – the new buzz words in today Advertisers and Marketers vocabulary. No doubt about it – the growing diversity of the American population and the increase of globalization require true understanding of how cultural nuances of the target audience influence consumer behavior.  While the going trend in 2010 was to split the marketing budget among multicultural and general market, the tendency for 2011 seems to be a holistic approach that brings specialized and general market agencies together to get the best marketing ideas – no matter where they come from – to address all segments in a single voice.  Though this one-size-fits-all marketing approach may work for advertising budgets, caution is needed when dealing with all other types of communication.  In most cases a culturally relevant, in-language targeted message is proven to be the most effective way to communicate. With the upcoming Census results and the current Administration’s focus on export to boost the economy, one thing is sure – the volume of multicultural and multilingual communication should grow exponentially.  Organizations will need a strategy to communicate with their ethnic audiences – here and abroad – keeping in mind that the most effective way to connect is to speak the language of the heart – the native language. By Elisabete Miranda, President, Translation Plus

The African American Market

The 2011 headline is Baby boomers are coming of age by reaching 65. At 79 million strong they have changed America’s moral outlook. It was the coming of the “age of Aquarius” and Woodstock. They were no longer the frugal depression era and rationing of WWII consumer.  African American boomers grew up in the middle of the Civil Rights movement.  MLK, Malcolm X were their heroes. They returned home from Vietnam like their fathers from WWII with a new vision of who they were.  Having leveraged the opportunities of their generation they became teachers and police officers increasing the ranks of federal, state and municipal works.  Now they recognize the opportunity to provide new experiences for their children and grandchildren. Their success makes how they view their finances an opportunity for the financial community. Unlike like their parents they represent a robust demographic for marketers in travel & leisure category, finance and pharmaceuticals.  By Ron Campbell, Pres./CEO, Campbell-Communications, Inc.

The Disability Market

The forecast for disability-inclusive multicultural marketing is shinning brighter than ever with disability power and pride.  Last year, we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Companies and organizations fortified sustainability efforts by grafting disability into strategic marketing, and employment outreach. Strategic marketing WITH the disability and aging market segments (including veterans with disabilities) mirrors success of other diverse markets and is coming of age. Now is the time to rethink ad campaigns and collateral to include the nation’s largest diversity group (54 million) with $1 trillion in aggregate income.  A University of Massachusetts/America’s Strength Foundation survey discovered 92% of consumers surveyed felt more favorable toward companies that hire individuals with disabilities. Participants had strong positive beliefs about the value and benefits, with 87% specifically agreeing they would prefer to give their business to companies that hire people with disabilities. The outlook for 2011 is shining bright with disability power, pride and untapped potential. By Tari Hartman Squire, CEO, EIN SOF Communications, Inc.

The Muslim American Market

2011 kicks-off with rapidly increasing momentum in the US (and global) Muslim consumer market, estimated at  $1 trillion worldwide by TIME (May, 2009) Muslim consumers are influenced by their identity on different levels of buying and reacting to marketing messages.  For example, JWT has discovered that 7 million US Muslims are spending $170 billion a year, highly brand loyal and feel ignored by mainstream brands (JWT: Time for Marketers to take Muslim consumers seriously, 2008). Marketers are now recognizing the potential of this under-served market and have a real opportunity to garner their loyalty. Some of the most powerful Muslim consumer segments are based in Muslim-minority regions such as the US (as well as Europe) and are reachable through specialized media. Recently, several global brands have started reaching out to the Muslim American market through targeted messaging and specialized media. Among them are Best Buy, McDonald’s and Nokia.  Outside the US, Nestle, Unilever, P&G, Coca Cola and Pizza Hut are targeting this market. Like many niche segments, marketers must seek out experts who are well entrenched in this market. By Mohamed El-Fatatry, Founder & CEO, Muxlim, Inc.