Segment Is Key Part Of The 'New General Market'

It's no secret that the Hispanic segment has become an influential force in the U.S. While the 2010 Census will certainly confirm this, there's an even bigger demographic reality developing, which still calls for a strong and steady focus on the Hispanic segment, but also warrants a new look at a brand's total marketing strategy.

Simply put, the term "general market," as we once knew it, has changed.

In the Top 20 metropolitan markets in the U.S., of those between the ages of 18 and 44, more than half, or 52%, of the population is multicultural (Hispanic, African-American and Asian-American). This is happening right now, in arguably one of the most important age demographics that shapes the success of a "national" campaign.

This shift confronts marketers with the challenge of adapting existing marketing strategies when the general market, typically defined as non-Hispanic white, has become more of the segment, and multicultural segments have become more of the mass population.

While this can seem overwhelming, it's actually an opportunity to elevate a brand's health and enjoy unprecedented budget efficiencies in the process. We call this model "Nuance Marketing for the Total Market."

It all starts with a new twist on traditional research

The typical approach to research has been "divide and conquer." A better approach for the new general market is "converge and connect." It calls for, first, identifying common connection points, or global truths, across all segments of a brand's consumer base, based on lifestyle, attitudes and behaviors. Once these key commonalities are identified, then one should overlay factors like race, culture and ethnicity. Eliminating silos between segments during the learning phase can help a brand more effectively communicate with its total market. Cultural insights can then inform decisions around budget allocation and versioning considerations.

An increased focus on emerging media

To properly address this predominantly multicultural market, it becomes necessary to draw more heavily from emerging media as the driver, with traditional media still playing an important, but more supporting, role. Online media tend to cater to lifestyle segments more effectively than traditional television, radio or print outlets and also encourage a greater level of engagement.

What can a brand expect by getting this new general market right?

• Better Creative Brands can strengthen the effectiveness of their creative positioning within their total market, primarily because most values, drivers and beliefs of multicultural segments also resonate well with non-multicultural audiences. By including a more equal consideration of these segments during creative development, brands enjoy a lift in relevance and stronger differentiation.

• Greater Efficiencies Another common benefit is cost savings. By breaking down the silos of traditional marketing programs (where general market programs lead and segment marketing programs follow), brands can increase efficiencies in agency resources and production costs, resulting in millions of dollars of savings every year. When agency and brand teams collaborate up front, creative executions have the potential to transcend multiple audiences. What is originally created for the Hispanic segment can often be easily versioned for "general market" creative rotation -- at a fraction of the cost of doing separate campaigns.

Leading the charge forward

As the overall demographic landscape continues to evolve, and the "general market" continues to become less "general," Hispanic and multicultural marketers will find themselves in an advantageous position to lead the marketing conversation. Clearly, multicultural segments will continue to exude a larger influence on the population as a whole, so it is only logical that the experts of this new critical mass should exude a larger influence on the marketing models being applied to reach it.

Tags: hispanics
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3 comments about "Segment Is Key Part Of The 'New General Market' ".
  1. Lucia Tovar-matthews from DIALOGO , December 3, 2009 at 12:36 p.m.

    Jennifer,

    Yes, the future of the "general market" may be upon us. The present Hispanic influence on the U.S. economic and social scene is monumental. Latinos differ from antecedent immigrant groups who moved their way into the mainstream. They are not simply blending with the general market, they are transforming it.

    -The New General Market: http://bit.ly/6B4JjU

  2. Jackie Bird from Redbean Society, LLC , December 3, 2009 at 2:17 p.m.

    Agree that there is a new general market that is driven by Latino influencers. However, forward-thinking agencies and marketers should watch out they don't end up doing the reverse of what many "general market" and "multicultural" agencies have been doing for several years now. No matter where we stand, lumping all targets into one on the basis of demographics or simplistic psychographics is not the answer. In the interest of the "convenience" of one source contracting and so-called efficiencies, many marketers have failed to dig deeply into consumer insights and diluted their marketing communications to a point that has sacrificed targeted relevance and most importantly today, the valued consumer engagement with brands. This has resulted in many failed programs that quickly revert to traditional "general market" mentality when volume and scale dont follow.The real game changer lies in understanding the new cross-cultural currents and evolving socio-cultural dimensions that impact this new consumers' shopping behavior and brand relationships.

  3. Jennifer Woods from The San Jose Group , December 3, 2009 at 3:49 p.m.

    Hi there Jackie! You are 100% right - given the word limit on this article, I didn't have time to speak to the idea that this model should never be used to REPLACE specific multicultural strategies for each multicultural segment within any given market. This is not a solution for reaching an entire market and leaving it at that. We see this as more of a recommendation for recalibrating what most are calling the "general market" portions of their creative and media components and for giving marketers a reason to reconsider what kind of expertise is leading at least some of these efforts. By all means, complementary campaigns designed for each audience MUST ALWAYS BE INCLUDED within a TOTAL MARKET STRATEGY, otherwise marketers only cater to the most common denominators and never become fully engaged with ANY of their target segments. Thank you for your point, because it gave the the chance to elaborate on an important piece for which my main post did not provide the "real estate" to include. All my best to you, too.