It’s Time to Get Serious – Looking Ahead to 2013 and Beyond!

By Terry Soto, Author of Marketing to Hispanics A Strategic Approach to Assessing and Planning Your Initiative

As 2012 comes to a close, it’s gratifying to see the dynamic and momentum among US companies when it comes to leveraging multicultural markets for growth.

Those who’ve followed my articles, presentations and book, Marketing to Hispanics a Strategic Approach to Planning and Assessing Your Initiative, which published in 2006, know that I speak two words when it comes to targeting Hispanics – INTEGRATED and HOLISTIC. So you can imagine how encouraging it is to see many companies now use this terminology to describe the multicultural initiatives they are trying to achieve within their organizations.

Yet, there is so much more work to be done. Speaking the words and knowing what is meant by them or by what is meant by taking a TOTAL MARKET approach, won’t get us to total market success. Reading all the books, articles and attending all the conferences and round tables won’t do it either. But they sure feel like they’re great tools to bring back to the company, don’t they? And for a split moment, it sure feels like when “they” read THIS article, or the report or the presentation it will make “them” think twice about dismissing the opportunity – it will be THE catalyst that will make believers out of them and your jobs more gratifying. But it seldom really happens, does it? In fact, just this week, I spoke to a VP of Multicultural at a large CPG company, who’d forwarded the article with the headline: 100% of Wal-Mart’s growth will come from Multicultural markets, only to hear back that the Wal-Mart must have been misquoted. Can you imagine the frustration?

The truth is unless our C-Suites take leadership in establishing Multicultural markets as a business imperative, you and those who come after will continue to re-live this vicious cycle.

Over time, I’ve given you best practices, steps to follow, the 4-Cs and many tools and advice to help elevate our industry’s thinking about multicultural marketing, but as we look forward to 2013 and beyond, we need to get serious. We need to step up our game!

Whether you’re a CMO, a VP of Marketing, a VP of Multicultural or Multicultural director or manager, I CHALLENGE YOU to insist your C-Suites stop giving Multicultural markets lip service – to stop patting us on the head and giving us bogus responsibilities for Multicultural market growth when the C-Suite and the rest of the organization has yet to acknowledge and adopt a total market strategic approach that leverages multicultural markets as the true business growth opportunity it represents.

You must insist that at least the following eight steps I normally work on with my client organizations take place. These are the only ways to signal a serious and profitable organizational approach to multicultural marketing. Anything less is an exercise in futility.

1. The C-Suite must communicate the need to leverage ALL consumer targets as an imperative critical to improving the company’s growth performance.

2. The C- Suite must guide the organization to adopt a broader view of the company’s consumer target and demand a relevant and relatable strategy for all target consumers.

3. The C-Suite must have the same ROI expectations in terms of timing and investment across all target segments since it is a total market approach after all.

4. The C-Suite must ensure all areas of the organization take responsibility for delivering value to all the company’s target customers and tie rewards to performance. Silos must disappear and external partners must adopt a total market approach.

5. The C-Suite must ensure the necessary total market competency is developed internally so ignorance and fear don’t become reasons to avoid change.

6. The C-Suite must lead key stakeholders across the organization to develop processes, operations and action plans and marketing approaches that deliver viable and relevant solutions to the company’s total target market.

7. The C-Suite must drive the implementation of integrated solutions and ensure multicultural metrics enable a view of the multicultural contribution to total market goals and priorities.

8. The C-Suite must adopt a sustainable and forward looking vision that ensures the company is relevant and which maximizes its growth potential in this “New” consumer marketplace for the long term.

In 2013, we need to be willing to push our C-Suites to evolve personally and professionally as big picture business growth leaders and visionaries or we risk staying on this “hamster wheel” for a very long time to come.

I wish you much courage and conviction in 2013.

Terry Soto is President and CEO of About Marketing Solutions, Inc., a Burbank, California – based strategy consulting firm specializing in helping her clients dramatically improve overall business performance by optimizing their strategies to succeed in the Hispanic market. te***@ab*********************.com

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