Multifaceted: The New Face Of Multicultural

The 2010 census has sparked a sense of urgency among advertisers, marketers and media companies alike to reach today's most powerful and fastest-growing multicultural population segment. With the buying power of Hispanics expected to rise by 50%, from $1 trillion in 2010 to $1.5 in 2015, this comes as no surprise. There is no arguing that multicultural populations are the new majority as well as the driving force behind consumer spending in the marketplace -- particularly women, who account for 85% of all consumer purchases.

The question is no longer whether to market to the multicultural female consumer, but how. Simply increasing your ad budget in multicultural media is not enough. To truly connect with this consumer, marketers must look beyond the census numbers to find out who she is and what really makes her tick.

We recently conducted a proprietary study titled "Transformers: Multicultural Women As The Shape Shifters of America," which provides a valuable glimpse into the inner workings of this new majority. Here are some key takeaways to help effectively market to this demographic:



Multifaceted describes her more accurately than Multicultural: Multicultural women don't necessarily think of themselves only in terms of race or culture. While race and culture are an important part of their identity, first and foremost they think of themselves as moms, wives, sisters, professionals and community leaders. Marketing campaigns should reflect this multi-dimensional and multifaceted mindset. Appeal to these central aspects of her identity rather than basing campaigns on preconditioned racial and cultural profiles.

She's not that type: Stereotypes are still one of the most important issues facing multicultural consumers today, with over half of all multicultural women claiming they would rather not be represented at all in an ad campaign than be inaccurately portrayed. In order to create culturally and contextually relevant content, brands should take the time to fully understand their target beyond typical associations and assumptions. Misconceptions can be very dangerous to marketers who are trying to grow their business within this space.

Cultural chameleons: Expect the percentage of people checking the "other" box to outpace Census projections. Three-quarters of multicultural female respondents say that other cultures and races influence them personally across categories -- from food and entertainment to language, fashion and religion. Products and brands should reflect this "other" sensibility by cutting and pasting from various cultural influences.

Yes, we can: Call it the "Obama Effect" or a second women's right movement -- the glass is half full for multicultural America. Multicultural women are leading the way to a brighter future, as women of color continue to rise in the workplace, politics and Hollywood. On a scale from 1-10, over half of all multiculturals said their outlook on their future was an 8,9 or 10, as compared to only 37% of their white counterparts. Marketers have an opportunity to reinforce this optimism by giving nod to the fact that multicultural consumers are the new pioneers of America.

Media mavens: Multicultural women are far more active online and on their mobile phones. They not only have more friends on social networking sites such as Facebook, but also report spending more time on their mobile devices -- texting, taking pictures and accessing the Internet -- than their white counterparts. Marketers should utilize mobile and social platforms as a way to reach this audience and should not ignore the enormous potential for word of mouth across these channels.

Underserved aspirationalists: Whereas white women seem to have reached a saturation point with regard to brand outreach, multicultural women would like to see more brand outreach pointed their way -- particularly when it comes to brands that are aspirational, such as organic products, higher educational institutions and technology. According to our research, multicultural women are less skeptical of advertisers and more willing to try new products than their white counterparts.

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