Director of Marketing

Beyond The Episode: Multicultural Consumers

The September episode of The Why Behind The Buy, a podcast for marketers focused on finding and targeting their ideal customers at scale, went live on September 16th. You can find the episode, here. During the recording, I had the chance to talk to one of our in-house multicultural marketing experts, Ron Cohen and Albert Thompson, Managing Director of Digital at Walton Isaacson, a full service advertising agency that focuses on marketing sports, lifestyle, entertainment, experiential, and branded content to multicultural consumers. We covered topics from who multicultural are, to considerations for reaching Millennials vs. older generations, how to work with influencers to help cultivate authentic relationships with this segment, and which digital channels are the best to leverage for reaching them. But, while you’ll hear all about those topics and more when you listen to the episode, 30 minutes just wasn’t enough to discuss everything. Because of this, we took some of the conversation offline and put it in this blog, so you can get the full story on Multicultural Consumers: Why the Success of Your Business Starts and Stops With Them.

Multicultural Audiences Are Your Power Users

It’s safe to say there are many companies in existence today that excel at multicultural marketing, but there are far more that need a helping hand in getting it right. The fact of the matter is, these are the audiences that will drive growth but, according to Albert, in-market success is prohibited when the decision makers businesses cast as their consumer is out of alignment with reality. If your company or brand finds itself needing to be “sold” on the value of marketing to multicultural audiences, it might be time to recognize inherent biases that form within agency partners, marketing teams, the C-suite, etc. so you can articulate that bias and begin to correct it using real data. Even those that know they want to reach a multicultural audience or are already doing so will need to continually educate themselves, as what worked even as recently as 2017 isn’t necessarily going to work in 2021 and beyond. This is especially true now that brands are under even more of a microscope when it comes to quality and commitment to diversity inclusion.

The Multicultural Millennial Path To Purchase

Albert notes that Millennials (and Gen Z) are shifting the entire universe of consumption patterns. Whereas older generations are TV first, younger generations look to social media platforms more often when forming a brand impression. “Micro-moments” of impressions happen much more frequently via paid social than they do through linear TV, meaning it’s playing a bigger part in changing the way Millennials interact socially. An example of this would be when a consumer is scrolling through their social feed and sees an influencer they follow holding up a product, so they instinctively navigate to the brand page to learn more, or even visit their website to purchase. In the past, if they saw a commercial on tv promoting a product, they would have to get in their car, travel to the store to find that item and purchase from there. It’s not as immediate of a reaction, and much more grand scale to trigger that action than the micro-moments of today. With the effects of COVID-19 on the marketplace, businesses are having to be even smarter about where they divert their advertising dollars, since loss of revenue and a disrupted supply chain is a very real problem. That’s why working with a provider who can essentially get your marketing message to not just any inbox, but the right inbox, is critical.

Major Shakeups

Are there any trends that will change for marketers due to the two major shakeups in the industry this year – COVID-19 and renewed diversity efforts? Albert says absolutely. As consumers come to terms with changing financial health and personal health, there will be an influx of false signals around intent and brands will need a way to react to data in near-real time if they want to create a viable go-to-market strategy. He says, “the same way brand marketers want agility in budgets and channels, consumers are now thinking about agility in loyalty to owning and having things.” One silver lining is that consumers will likely start to crave experiences again, as they feel safe to do so. After months of limited options, they’re starting to get to a place where they want to spend time and money, but it will all have a new meaning to them. That speaks to consumer psychology, and brands would be wise to pay close attention to the conversation. That might mean using geofencing data to find out where they are selectively going or even joining the online conversation to see what they are saying.

The last few months have made many people become more self-sufficient, instead of hiring out for help. While it’s to be seen if that trend of self-sufficiency will trump the convenience of outsourcing, brands have an opportunity to get in on the conversation, especially with the more tech-savvy multicultural consumers who are using social platforms to learn how to provide a service for themselves they likely wouldn’t have prior to March of this year. The other interesting shift has been with migration patterns. Offices have gone remote, with many indefinitely extending the work from home options, people are moving out of congested cities to quieter communities, and life is going in a different direction than anticipated. This all culminates in a unique opportunity for brands to rethink their product or service lines and how they market them. Investing in original research and performing segmentation analyses on your CRM are two ways Claritas has seen companies successfully pivot their strategy to fit the needs of consumers today.

How To Leverage Influencers

Influencer marketing offers a relatability factor many brands didn’t have access to even 10 years ago. Celebrities were the first influencers and are still successfully leveraged, but a “new” wave of influencer marketing is changing the dynamic. Consumers now often find themselves looking to others that align more with their everyday life to follow for recommendations. It’s a win-win for both consumer and brand. Influencer marketing campaigns are not usually as highly produced as other marketing campaigns are, so there’s often a less lead time to get them up and running. Plus, working with today’s influencer is typically more budget friendly for brands than celebrities are, and the content often sees higher engagement rates, as the influencer organically becomes an ongoing extension of your sales team via their platform, even if that’s not necessarily part of the deal you’ve brokered with them.

That being said, pay attention to the skillset of the influencers you work with, as added perks of being able to self-produce content are what will help you see a higher return. From the consumer perspective, influencers are usually more relatable to the everyday person than a celebrity, and are therefore more trusted in their opinions. Albert stresses the importance of onboarding influencers though. Do they really have a real affinity for your brand? Are they a current user before even negotiating a deal to promote a product? Brands need to understand this before investing, as you don’t want to work with an influencer who may switch to a competitor as soon as deal terms end or who may have an attractive number of followers but their audience is not your audience and won’t help you see the kind of return you’re after. At Claritas, we always recommend optimizing your campaigns with attribution solutions that help you know more about which channels are most effective at converting and how to improve performance, making every dollar you spend work harder.

We hope September’s episode of The Why Behind The Buy helps answer any questions you have about successfully and authentically marketing to multicultural consumers, and we would love to keep the conversation going on our social channels. Tweet us your wins and learning lessons over on our Twitter (@claritas2_0).

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