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Summer has descended, and with it a wave of Top 40 hits to set the mood. For marketers, perhaps no song better describes the tone of the marketplace than Beyoncé’s catchy “Run the World (Girls)” — a sassy and spirited shout out to ladies the world over who are hitting clubs, lovin’ life and — most importantly — spending money. Women, after all, account for the majority of consumer choices, and marketers are wise to target them. Leading the charge — according to a recent study — are Hispanic women, who are responsible for 85 percent of buying choices within their powerful demographic. But as the recent study from Media Post points out, the current challenge facing marketers is not merely gender or race specific, but rather it is gender and race specific. Titled “Transformers: Multicultural Women As The Shape Shifters of America,” the study asserts that — gender aside — ethnically speaking the minority is the new majority, and it’s up to marketers to celebrate not only consumer sameness, but their differences. “Stereotypes are still one of the most important issues facing multicultural consumers today, with over half of multicultural women claiming they would rather not be represented in an [integrated marketing] campaign than be inaccurately portrayed.” In other words, it’s not just about “girl power,” or consumers identifying themselves by gender or race. Advancements in education, politics and technology are shifting the face of multicultural marketing and it is time for marketers to respond.
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems as if the many faces of the modern American consumer poses exciting but exacting challenges. Multicultural marketing demands campaigns be as varied as consumers themselves.
Of course, the real challenge for brands and marketers then becomes money. It is not as if marketing dollars are as endless as ideas. But there are ways marketers can engage consumers without spending a fortune. Writing last year about the power and influence of the Hispanic/Latino consumer, Vertical Marketing Network challenged marketers to embrace the concept of the “digital plaza,” or the idea that commerce and conversation can unfold more affordably and more effectively online. And surely, it does. An estimated 71 percent of Latinos use their mobile devices for activities such as SMS, MMS, email, surfing the Internet and gaming functions, compared to the market average of 48 percent. Moreover, as of 2009 nearly 23 million Hispanics were online. With Hispanic buying power expected to rise by 50 percent over the next five years (by 2015, it will exceed $1.5 trillion), it’s no wonder marketers from leading brands such as AT&T, Budweiser, Ford, P&G and Toyota are responding. The Media Post study also argues that multicultural women — be they Hispanic/Latino, African-American, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc. — are far more active online and on their mobile devices than their white counterparts, and they’re also more optimistic. On a scale of 1 to 10, “over half of all multiculturals said their outlook on their future was an 8,9 or 10, as compared to only 37 percent of their white counterparts.” Not only that, but multicultural women are more willing to try new products than their white counterparts, particularly when is comes to brands that are inspirational.
Whatever your taste in music, it might be worth lending Beyoncé an ear. If all else fails, she might consider a second career in marketing.