The growth of digital connectivity, channels and information has forever changed how marketing engages with key audiences - and many lessons have been learned from the fast pace of change in what is estimated to be a $62 billion industry, according to recent estimates from the Wall Street Journal and Direct Marketing Association.
But while marketers are beginning to understand how best to leverage the deluge of digital data now at their fingertips, a critical lesson remains to be learned: the necessity to incorporate multicultural audiences as the focal point of a company's digital marketing strategy.
Historically, multicultural marketing has been a supplemental program that supports core marketing efforts. Marketers will delegate multicultural efforts to a particular position or agency, not giving increasingly influential groups their fair share marketing attention and support.
In the digital age, this divide can become more prominent. As digital marketing becomes an additional, oftentimes siloed component of core efforts, this leaves another team responsible for interacting with all audiences on their desired channel. It creates another, more distinct position for multicultural audiences to be further left behind.
Here is the problem with this confluence of events: multicultural audiences are some of the most digitally-savvy consumers in the United States. They over-index on smartphone ownership and digital media streaming. They over-index for direct contact with authors, artists and brands through social media. And one particular group - the US Hispanic population - is the single-fastest growing population segment of young buyers in America. They live and breathe on digital media channels at rates more prominent than other ethnicities - they are not on the back burner of power and influence, they are the leaders of toady's digital marketing revolution.
Yet while the multicultural influence on digital channels is increasing rapidly, they're often a secondary component of a core marketing campaign. To marketers, I have one key message: just as traditional marketing and digital marketing must be linked, so should multicultural marketing with core goals and strategy. To connect all of those components more clearly, digital marketing is multicultural marketing.
This year, the stakes could not be higher. With consumers demanding digital touchpoints that are culturally relevant and accurate, brands cannot afford to put multicultural marketing on the back burner anymore.
If you wish to hear from marketing leaders about how they're tackling multicultural marketing across digital channels, I highly recommend attending this year's New Mainstream Business Summit. We're putting together panels full of expert insights from brands such as Domino's, New York Life, the CMO Council and Dumhumby, designed to give you the latest insights on how to best engage with these high-growth segments.
For today's digital marketers, I ask a simple question: "Are multicultural audiences a key component of your digital strategy?" If you don't know the answer, then a huge business opportunity is probably passing you by.