Saturday, November 19, 2011

Multicultural Marketing: Looking Forward to Tomorrow’s Face of America

This December, I will be graduating from Northwestern University’s Integrated Marketing Communications Graduate Program as an accomplished and intelligent professional ready to take on the Marketing challenges that tomorrow holds for the changing global marketplace.

According to Hernan Lopez’s article, “U.S. Hispanic Population is Growing, But This Isn’t Your Abuela’s Latino Community”, Hispanics currently make up 18% (50 million people) of the U.S.’s population – this is more than Canadians in Canada!  Hispanics are a young population comprising 21% of those younger than 25 according to The Economist.  All organizations who want to succeed in the U.S. need to recognize the importance of the U.S. Hispanic population especially since in the next 40 years, the Hispanic minority will become the majority.  By 2050, Hispanics will comprise 29% of the American population according to the Pew Hispanic Center.  If Hispanic’s current purchasing power is more than $1 trillion, just imagine what it will grow to in the next 40 years.

Knowing this, what should businesses do now to reach this growing segment in the years to come?  Businesses should take a cue from Wal-Mart and remove their multicultural budget from its silo and give it to each of the business units.  This will give each business unit and their respective marketers more responsibility and ownership and prevent them from thinking that someone else is thinking of the multicultural market.  According to Tony Rogers, Wal-Mart’s Senior VP Brand Marketing and Advertising, Wal-Mart is “Making multicultural part of everything we do” (Advertising Age).  This is incredibly smart and strategic of Wal-Mart.  This should help ensure that each marketer at Wal-Mart will think of the multicultural market with each move they make as they will be held accountable come year end.  Wal-Mart is looking forward to tomorrow and is doing what it can now to remain relevant in the years to come.

Companies who do not consider multicultural marketing important, especially marketing to the Hispanic market, will not do well in the future.  An article in Advertising Age found that companies who spend more on Hispanic media find their revenue growing faster than those that do not.  Currently, 57% of the top 500 advertisers spend less than 1% on Hispanic ads.  Less than 1%!  I believe this will change since the 2010 Census has shed light on America’s changing demographics.  If business did not see the value in targeting this segment, they should now.

Website, Facebook, and other social media content should also be tailored to the Hispanic community giving the end user the option to choose between languages.  As noted in the article Few Marketers Target U.S. Hispanics With Spanish-Language Facebook Fan Pages, Marketers should ensure that Spanish language content on websites and social media sites be just as rich as that of the English content.  Additionally, as any smart marketer will tell you, content needs to be tailored to your market.  Do not copy website content from your website in Spain as your U.S. Hispanic probably has different needs and problems to be solved.    

As a marketing professional and Hispanic, I look forward to seeing how businesses will attempt to reach the growing Hispanic population and hope to be a part of that communication.  My hope is that businesses will take the time to get to know the changing face of America and produce relevant and tailored content. 

Yanette Jimenez is a proud Longhorn & Northwestern Medill IMC Graduate Student and can be reached on Twitter @YanetteEJimenez. 

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