February 17, 2017

If you are in Kindergarten in America you already know that more than half of your classmates are minorities. The U.S. Census Bureau revealed in 2014 that more than half the children under 5 years old in the U.S. were ethnic minorities.  And by 2020, more than half of the nation's population under 18 will be part of a minority race or ethnic group.

These kids will be tomorrow’s consumers in the blink of an eye, and as the U.S. consumer market continues diversify, its more critical than ever for brands to create meaningful connections with multicultural consumers if they hope to remain relevant in the future – right?

Well, in truth, the future is right now.   The traditional concept of the 'typical American consumer' is no longer relevant, he/she has morphed into a new form, a form that is a meld of ethnicities, cultures, and the lifestyles, preferences and behaviors that come with them. In 2017, multicultural marketing is not a niche business, it is a necessary component for all marketers.   

For the last quarter century, multicultural marketing was synonymous with Hispanic marketing, and rightfully so, as the U.S. Hispanic market has grown in leaps and bounds in size and economic clout.  However, today if you’re a brand trying to reach as many multicultural consumers as possible, your multicultural marketing must also extend to the African American, Asian and Indian markets.   These markets now represent a combined 58% of U.S. multicultural consumers.  And as savvy marketers continue to seek out new potential consumers, the value propositions of these ethnic segments are simply impossible to ignore.

Purely by the numbers, the crown jewel of these segments is the Asian-Indian market.  Their median household income is nearly double that of the total U.S. ($101,899 South Asian vs. $55,775 Total U.S.)  The percentage of college graduates is more than double (72.3% South Asian vs. 30.6% Total U.S.) and the percentage of their population in professional careers is also more than double the national average (29.2% South Asian vs. 13.8% Total U.S.)

Traditionally, the biggest barrier to entry in multicultural marketing has been the additional expense of new, language-specific creative.  However, in the South Asian Market, even that is not an issue.  U.S. South Asians prefer speaking English by more than 3 to 1! (76% to 24%.  2007 Global Advertising Strategy Study) According to the Census Bureau, the overwhelming majority of South Asian Americans (80%)  speak English fluently. And they are the original “super-consumers,” over-indexing in purchase and usage of virtually every product category imaginable.

In spite of this almost unimaginable value proposition, the costs associated with a South Asian media campaign are significantly more efficient than general market media (and pretty much all other multicultural media as well!)  The budget for a single spot on a national network could easily cover the budget for an entire campaign in South Asian media.   The difference in value, for a relatively minor shift of investment, is one that should have all multicultural marketers (and the clients they represent) sitting up and taking notice.

The future is now and the time has come to ask yourself:  “exactly how ‘multi’ is your multicultural campaign?”


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