Ethnic groups are growing in the U.S

The United States is truly still a melting pot of cultures, a blend of ethnicities, languages and customs. The U.S. Census projects that by 2044, African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanics collectively will comprise 50% or more of the population. Minorities will eventually become the majority and disrupt the current general market population.

This is good news for marketers, as emerging submarkets are on the rise and catering to these audiences in the right way can create a win-win for consumer and brands.

Major metropolitan areas are an important consideration in identifying multicultural marketing approaches. New York City has certain pockets saturated with ethnic populations like Dominican, Korean, Mexican and Caribbean. Cities like Los Angeles and Philadelphia follow closely behind in their cultural makeup.  Developing advertising plans that recognize local market nuances are sure to rise above the generic, blanketed strategies.

Increased purchasing power

These demographics contribute to the increased buying power many of the rising ethnic groups hold. Due to improved economic opportunities, minorities have a larger household income; and according to Nielsen research, multicultural consumers have a spending power of about $3.2 trillion. A 2017 Multicultural Economy Report from the University of Georgia lists the top spending categories for three ethnic segments:

  • African Americans: Electricity, Shoes, Phones
  • Hispanic Americans: Groceries, Clothing, Car insurance
  • Asian Americans: Dining out, Housing, Education

Brands should be paying close attention to the categories they fall into and whether their products and services are frequently bought by their target demo.

Use the right channels

Understanding how various ethnic groups consume media will help influence which channels are most effective in reaching them. African Americans rely heavily on traditional media, whereas they watch the most television and are also avid magazine readers. Linear TV and print mediums over-index, because they are trusted sources among the Black community. Of the Black consumers Neilson surveyed (2015), 52% were regularly read magazines- that’s 30% more than the general market population.

Asian Americans have been found to be early adopters of new technologies before the rest of the population jumps on the bandwagon. Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku are prime examples of the emerging “connected television” segment. These types of FEP streaming devices can be found in 51% of Asian-American homes (2017). Next Generation TV methods could be most profitable when trying to advertise to this group.

Align with culture

Another best practice for multicultural marketing is aligning with the culture. Consumers trust brands that understand and value the things that they value. Marketers should gain insight into culturally significant events and embed themselves in it to create a positive association with the culture and brand. Holidays are a great way to do this.

The Florida area is bustling with a thriving Hispanic population, heavily contributed to by Miami. The Hispanic tradition of Three Kings Day, which falls on January 6, honour the Wise Men who gave gifts to children in biblical times. A large parade is held annually to celebrate the occasion; streets close down to make way for extravagant floats, musical performances, marches and dancing troupes. Brands can get in on the fun too by sponsoring or partnering with vendors and companies for signage, free samples or on-site activations to engage with consumers.

Be Culturally Conscious

Of course, with ethnic marketing, it is imperative to be culturally consciousness. Be mindful not to fall into stereotypes when brainstorming strategies. Otherwise, the outcome could be offensive, create negative perceptions and turn off your consumers. Have a strong cultural radar to keep abreast of events that might impact certain multicultural groups and be sensitive about them. Remember: Consumers like brands that show empathy.