Some might feel that most marketing is “culture-independent.” But that might just be overlooking the predominant cultural subtext that is threaded through many messages.
Gender, race, heritage, economic status, and other factors can inform an audience’s cultural perceptions. If we want to reach an audience that resonates with a particular culture, then we need to craft messages to resonate with that particular audience. Audiences seek to be understood. The first step in any marketing plan is to build awareness, trust, and understanding – and understanding a person’s culture can be an important first step in understanding the person.
So, how do we go about reaching a particular population? It may not be a matter of using specific terms or language. It can be a shift to using the communication modes and channels most popular with the population – and a shift in the type of message – with more emphasis on communicating and understanding the population’s priorities, and less “selling” work later on. The American Marketing Association and Nielsen Market Research have identified some broad priorities for a few populations in the United States.
• African-Americans consumers:
African-Americans traditionally had higher presence in convenience categories, but convenience items have declined with African-American millennials nearly three times as much compared to the rest of the population. At the same time, African-American consumers demonstrate “a ‘cool factor’ that has created a halo effect, influencing not just consumers of color but the mainstream as well,” said Cheryl Grace, Senior Vice President of U.S. Strategic
Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen. Nielsen also reports that the African-American market is a social media leader.
• Hispanic consumers:
Having a single Hispanic strategy just won’t work. Whether looking at generational status or acculturation level, the needs and corresponding shopping patterns are fundamentally different. For example, more acculturated Hispanic shoppers are engaged in center-store offerings at nearly a rate of 1.5 times that of less acculturated consumers. Variety-seeking behavior also varies drastically across the acculturation spectrum.
• Asian consumers:
The buying power of Asian consumers is significant and growing at the fastest rate of any consumer segment within the U.S. Asian households have different shopping patterns in totality. They have smaller grocery baskets but visit the store more frequently, and those trips add up.
To speak with cultural understanding, it’s important to speak with experience. As a minority-owned enterprise, Daniels + Roberts is always aware of the tones and implications of marketing messages. Building upon a foundation of experience, we apply detailed data to help understand cultural nuances and subpopulations. For example, there is no one Hispanic market in the United States. Language alone does not sufficiently target Mexican,
Caribbean, Central-American, South-American and Spanish sub-segments, which are each overlaid with layers of region, birthplace, acculturation, and other factors. Each of these segments is unique, and retains particular beliefs, perceptions and choice drivers.
That’s why our proprietary data integration and analysis is essential in understanding every cohort—and understanding what connects with them today. There is no one formula for reaching a particular population, and every population changes over time. Ongoing, detailed data metrics and analysis are critical for maintaining an informed understanding of any audience.
“Accessibility, accuracy and affordability of multicultural data are pivotal issues. Without equally accurate data, it is nearly impossible to distinguish segment-specific performance from that of general market audiences.”
Carlos Santiago, the co-founder National Advertisers’ Alliance
for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing.
“In reaching next-gen African-Americans there also needs to be more attention paid to analytics. There is a black hole when it comes to targeted analytical insight of this group, due to the limitations of the current listening and analytic tools that drill down to black consumers.”
cultural strategist Kevin Walker
It’s a complex calculation, and the landscape is always changing—but our data-driven knowledge and creatively fueled experience keep our multicultural marketing on target.