Your team has been preparing to launch your new product, service, or marketing campaign for weeks. You’ve finally created a marketing message that you hope will make an impression on your target audience. Your creative has been crafted, your paragraphs perfected, your strategy solidified. You’re ready to go. But we’re here to tell you that when it comes to reaching one in three consumers in America, your marketing message isn’t cutting it. Here’s why.  

One in three consumers in America are multicultural 

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Multicultural consumers make up too much of the population to simply ignore when you’re crafting your marketing message. According to AdWeek, Black Americans are collectively expected to spend $1.4 trillion in 2020. Our Hispanic Explorer Series™ revealed that Hispanics are wielding spending power of $1.7 trillion in 2020. Asian American buying power exceeded $1 trillion in 2018. And yet, brands still neglect to craft marketing messages and strategic media plans that specifically target this valued consumer.  

Marketing to minorities requires a unique understanding of different cultures, media habits and technology usage, worldviews and perspectives, and spending habits. Multicultural audiences have a combined spending power of $3.9 trillion. Racial and ethnic markets are out there spending – the question is how to reach them

So what is multicultural marketing? 

At its core, multicultural marketing is crafting messages that speak directly to ethnic and cultural subgroups – speaking to their values, way of life, and unique qualities – and creating an advertising strategy based on how they specifically use media.  

Hubspot provides a helpful definition, as well, saying that “Multicultural marketing is devising and executing a marketing campaign that targets people of different ethnicities and cultures within a brand’s overarching audience. Not only does it help you relate to and resonate with minority groups, but it also recognizes their ethnicities and cultures and helps majority groups realize that most countries are melting pots”.  

Marketing to diverse audiences means seeking to understand subcultures within the United States, speaking that subcultures’ language with respect to their values and way of life, and placing marketing messages where multicultural audiences will actually see them

Check out these five examples of brands that got their multicultural marketing campaigns right.

Why your general market message isn’t cutting it 

First, because the “general market” isn’t so general. Shifts in the US population have not only changed what America looks like – but also how it thinks, acts, and responds to things. When you craft a general market message and hope that it appeals to everyone, you’re missing the mark by a long shot because you aren’t aware of exactly who your target audience is. Different cultures spend differently, and it’s important that you create your marketing message accordingly. 

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The second problem? “Majority norms” or “traditional American values” are not actually universal, and don’t represent a multicultural experience in the US. How many car advertisements have you seen that sell individuality, freedom, and power? These values might feel traditionally “American”, but they don’t necessarily resonate with a multicultural population. The Atlantic provided an example. In general, Hispanic cultures place a high value on family, including extended family, and community. A car commercial that portrays the driver assisting the community, or featuring extended family, might serve this audience better. 

Finally, there’s the problem of ad placement for your marketing message. For most of advertising history, marketers have had to choose between language-specific networks and their general marketing message. But now, we have rich data on how diverse audience segments are using media and spending, and that’s data that will be vital to your campaign’s success. Refuel Agency can help place your ads where your target audience will see them. We’ve cultivated long-term relationships with multicultural publications that will ensure effective campaigns with local and hyper-local penetration. 

Read next: The Power of Print in Political Advertising

Empathy is key 

Companies must connect with the consumer at a cultural level, at their values and beliefs and way of thinking. In order to do that, your team needs to understand what it’s like to be in the shoes of the consumers you are targeting. This is where research, focus groups, and interviews will come into play.  

Placing your message in front of multicultural audiences is crucial to your brand’s success. Refuel Agency is an expert on marketing to multicultural audiences. Contact us today to receive your custom multicultural media plan. 

Christina O'Toole

Christina is a data-driven, full stack marketer with over 20 years success leading marketing in technology, higher ed and publishing industries. Christina has developed hundreds of marketing campaigns and built all facets of programs including lifecycle journeys, creative direction and lead generation. She now heads corporate marketing at Refuel Agency.