It's evident that politicians are beginning to understand the need to appeal to multicultural segments. Over the past several years, we have seen an increased investment of campaign funds and time, as well as a selection of candidates who directly appeal to target demographics. Barack Obama's 2008 campaign could not have been a better example of a politician attracting millennials and African American groups. Marco Rubio is another politician who's been tapped by political parties to speak directly to a certain demographic, as Republicans have come to realize that the nation and their party's growth comes from a different segment than stereotypical, white male that has traditionally symbolized the party.
While some politicians seem to have realized the importance of connecting to certain demographics, much of the business world continues to drag its feet despite mounting evidence of an increasingly diverse America.
Our nation's growth has shifted so that it is now almost entirely multicultural. Geoscape recently discovered that 88 percent of the country's population growth since the last U.S. Census in 2010 is composed of African American, Asian and Hispanic consumers. Hispanics account for about 18 percent of the total U.S. population and are the fastest growing population segment, having increased 11 percent since the 2010 census to a total population of more than 56 million. In its entirety, multicultural groups now account for 35 percent of the American population. It's isn't brazen to say that companies who aren't prioritizing multicultural growth, are essentially investing in flat or shrinking markets.
But what about all of the companies who have finally recognized that multicultural segments are the demographics to pursue? Despite being aware, many companies maintain campaigns and strategies that are lackluster and off base. They don't know the first steps involved in a multicultural strategy and have expressed that they continually find themselves troubled by political correctness.
My first piece of advice is to throw this worry out the window and realize that targeting our nation's highest growth populations is good business, plain and simple.
I've worked with several of America's top brands to help build out their multicultural marketing strategies and appeal to the highly targeted demographics that matter most to their brand. While all of these campaigns and strategies were all unique in their own way, they share some key elements that helped to drive their success:
1) Companies must understand that the multicultural market is a must have, not a nice to have. If a company continues to invest in general markets they may not only be missing out on valuable customers but are also squandering company resources.
2) Measurement is your best friend. Marketing today is based off of data, numbers and results. Be sure to begin with a benchmark, determine a goal and measure your progress along the way. In doing so, you'll be able to tweak your strategy based off actual results and make educated decisions to help drive outcomes.
3) Build a concrete business case. Determine what practices are driving your success and how this will be incorporated into future marketing goals. If a certain tactic has helped to differentiate your brand, decide how you'll incorporate this into future campaigns in order to continue to power results.
4) Develop a thorough strategy. Position your company and products around the demographics you most want to appeal to and are most important to the future of your brand.
5) Align all touch points. Marketing communication is just the beginning, it's so important that your company, products and message are all aligned and delivering the same story. For instance, if you're targeting Hispanic shoppers, does your call center offer the opportunity to speak with a representative in Spanish? Does the in-store experience and product match advertisements? While knowing what and to whom to share your message with is a challenge, it can be even more difficult to execute a comprehensive strategy.
6) Scale appropriately. If you've seen results in one market, chances are that it's going to make a similar impact elsewhere. Base decisions in data and fact, but don't limit your efforts to highly multicultural areas. Cubans in New York may have many of the same traditions as a Cuban family from Florida.
7) Empower your organization by sharing success. Marketing makes the most impact when all divisions of a company are on-board and their goals are aligned. Be sure to communicate efforts internally and don't be afraid to champion your brand's efforts in the greater marketing community.
Accelerated multicultural growth isn't something that's going to take place down the road. It's happening now and either your business is on top of it or you're going to be left in the dust.