The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) Multicultural and Diversity Conference is one of the leading industry events to discuss and debate the progress we are making with these topics. The Mars Agency had the chance to attend its last edition this past November, in Miami, FL; and join the conversation together with category leaders and retailers. If you are aware of the outstanding multicultural population growth in this nation then you certainly will be interested in its implications for your marketing plans. I invite you to continue reading this first part of our conference recap to learn more about what the industry is saying about this hot topic.

The heart of the conference was the deepening of our understanding of the “Total Market Approach.” Something that we have been hearing for a while now, but that still has a long way to be fully comprehended and applied. In an attempt to continue formalizing this practice, ANA shared what they see as an official definition of Total Market:

“A marketing approach followed by corporations with their trusted internal and external partners which proactively integrates diverse segment considerations. This is done from inception, through the entire strategic process and execution, with the goal of enhancing value and growth effectiveness. In marketing communications this could lead to either one fully integrated cross-cultural approach, individual segment approaches, or both in many cases, but always aligned under one overarching strategy.”

This is obviously easier said than done, and a handful of daring marketers were there to share their first-hand experience via examples of what has been successful for their companies. There were similarities among those examples and here I intend to capture what I thought were key tenets for success that we can all begin to apply:

– Understand the core consumer and where is the growth opportunity.

– Determine if Hispanics are in a similar place in the category.

– If they are not in the same place, what are the differences?

– What are the issues getting in the way of the sale?

– If there are different issues, customize messages and approaches to grow among the desired target consumer. This takes an enhanced approach to segmentation.

– Remember that authenticity is more than a common denominator.

– Start with people first. Remember data = people.

– Look deeper at attitudes and behaviors, beyond ethnicity.

– Be insights driven, meaningful and human. (The most highlighted point!)

In some scenarios, the task at hand was beyond the marketing department, calling for a look at the organization and internal structures to really support this type of work. Here are some tips pertaining to this point:

– Create an organizational structure that allows more collaboration.

– Create diverse teams (ethnicity, gender, experience, background, skills), and move multicultural from silos.

– Engage multicultural from the beginning.

– Make it an end-to-end go to market process – from strategy to execution.

Marketers today must acknowledge that we are moving from multicultural marketing to marketing in a multicultural world. The diversification of the United States (U.S.) population is not just being driven by Latinos – there’s a fundamental shift in our ethnic composition. Not coming to this realization soon may have real implications in our bottom lines. Today’s marketing must invite everyone in the conversation!

Here’s a quote that we think captures this thinking perfectly, and that resonates with the way we look at the Total Market Approach at The Mars Agency: “Multiculturalism is not about understanding individual minority cultures in isolation, it is about understanding how the mix of cultures deeply transforms the way we live in the twenty-first century that goes way beyond race.  It speaks of a duality we all can relate to but often find hard to express” — Chiqui Cartagena, Latino Boom II, 2013

I will leave it at that for now, but this conversation is to be continued…