By Gregory Curtis Jr., Media, IRI
Multicultural marketing is not a fad or trend – it’s an urgent priority and foundational element of any marketing approach that hopes to reach mainstream consumers in America today. While the nation’s shift to a multicultural majority has long been a topic of discussion, the 2020 Census revealed that America’s non-Hispanic white population has declined eight years faster than predicted. Based on these updated stats, we know now that Americans under 18 likely reached multicultural-majority status in 2015, those under 35 will reach the milestone in 2023, and Americans under 50 will reach that milestone in 2028.
Brands that want to effectively reach American consumers at scale must make the days of “general market audiences” a thing of the past. As a University of Georgia study found, the total buying power of multicultural consumers has grown faster than that of whites since 2000.
As we become a more multicultural society, our concepts of race are likewise likely to become more blurred over time. Today, almost three in 10 Asian, one in four Latino and one in five Black newlyweds marry someone from a different ethnic or racial group. A closer look at the Census Bureau’s projections predicting a majority nonwhite America by 2060 reveals a shift to a much more multicultural nation. 52% of people in the nonwhite majority of 2060 will also identify as white, and 40% of those who say they are white will also claim another racial or ethnic identity.
For marketers who wish to succeed and grow, effective multicultural marketing is imperative. And to succeed in this effort, you should:
- Do your homework.
Research as much as you can about the audience or audiences you are trying to reach. Be inclusive and culturally relevant in your outreach. Create ads that resonate and represent your multicultural audiences. And acknowledge that you may not be viewed as being serious about this effort until your team more closely reflects the multicultural profile of the audiences you serve.
- Commit to the relationship.
You won’t be able to connect with LGBTQ audiences just by tweeting about Pride Month or appeal to Black consumers by quoting MLK during Black History Month. You need to listen to your target audiences and create authentic and ongoing relationships with them through consistent messaging.
- Speak your audience’s language.
Language has nuance and reaching distinct audience segments requires an understanding of it. An example would be different variants of Spanish between people of Puerto Rican, Mexican American and Spanish ancestry. Language within queer audiences comes with its own unique set of rules. And be polite, as consumers don’t want to feel that they are being pandered to in an inauthentic or forced tone.
- Embrace the power of influence.
Influencers are one of the best things to ever happen to marketers. Micro-influencers now make up an estimated 91% of the market share of the sector. They give you the opportunity to pick authentic representatives who have built-in audiences. They are efficient, can be cost-effective and — most importantly — incredibly targeted. If you are targeting a queer, Latinx, first-generation American foodie audience, you can find several creators who meet your needs with a powerful and targeted sphere of influence.
- Understand the diversity within specific target markets.
In our webinar "Unleash the Power of Multicultural Influencer Marketing,” Fashion Fair Cosmetics CEO Desiree Rogers talked about the company’s inaugural influencer campaign and the importance of representing the varied communities of Black women the brand serves. That’s why the brand chose a diverse slate for its inaugural influencer campaign that included Black comedians, influencers who talk about makeup for darker skin tones, a younger beauty influencer, podcast influencers, and influencers who are non-binary, trans and queer. This impressively diverse slate of influencers does share one essential thing in common — they authentically use and love the Fashion Fair brand.
- Get local and specific.
The true power of multicultural influencer marketing is how localized and granular campaigns can get. Working with a partner like IRI, you can target very precise audiences and measure sales conversion accurately. You can reach your preferred audiences and measure the effectiveness of each campaign so you can test, learn and continually improve your multicultural marketing over time.
While it’s important to keep these considerations in mind, multicultural marketing doesn’t need to be overwhelming. The beauty of it is that you can start small — even by working with a small group of select influencers on a campaign or by collaborating with one creator on a single promotion.
Using tools such as IRI and Geoscape Acculturation Audiences, you can also quickly and cost-effectively target specific U.S. multicultural households for specific campaigns at a level of scale and accuracy not historically available. To learn how IRI can help you get started, reach out to your IRI representative or IRI@IRIworldwide.com.