A Closer Look at Activating the New American Mainstream in Marketing [Interview]
In a white paper titled, “Activating the New American Mainstream,” The CMO Council and Geoscape looked at how marketers are crafting strategies to engage the country’s culturally diverse business industry.
Research found that 80 percent of B2B marketers do not have a multicultural marketing initiative in place. However, the Asian-American, African-American and Hispanic populations make up one-third of the U.S. population.
To take a closer look at the findings, we spoke to Cesar M. Melgoza, the founder and CEO of Geoscape, as well as Liz Miller, the Senior Vice President of Marketing at the CMO Council.
Were there any specific results, trends or statistics that surprised you?
Liz Miller: “Not sure if I was surprised, but I was certainly disappointed to see how few marketers felt they had total support for multi-cultural initiatives from their C-Suite and Board. It is undeniable that the ability to reach, engage and connect with customers in hyper-personalized experiences is quickly coming the cost of doing business. So the underlying question for me becomes, are we as marketers not proving the right things — are we not clearly communicating the business impact of personalization — or are our CEOs not listening?”
Cesar Melgoza: “The numbers were not as good as we were hoping. The level of which [marketers] are embracing this were less than I was personally expecting. But in terms of the priorities in organizations, we could’ve predicted some of those. It confirmed much of what we already knew, and that work still needs to be done.”
How can B2B marketers integrate more multicultural marketing tactics?
LM: “I actually think multi-cultural mindsets in the B2B space are among the most fascinating — albeit easiest to overlook. What we are talking about here is understanding behavioral buying patterns and culturally-driven mindsets and actions that will assist B2B marketers in their quest to engage and build relationships. We need to change our vision of multi-cultural engagement from one of niche campaign where we translate text into a specific language, or we wish people well during a culturally significant holiday season.
That’s missing the opportunity.
It’s about really understanding specific behaviors, mindsets and key decision-making drivers that specific ethnic groups may have. B2B marketers are excellent content marketers and storytellers — we craft experiences that drive what can be a long sales cycle. Knowing that, according to Geoscape’s insights and data, the Hispanic market is more mobile but also more connected to multi-generational households, could help influence more mobile products, content or opportunities sell features that more enable free and clear home time and productivity.
It’s all about understanding our customer on a one-to-one level, right? Even for B2B marketers — we can’t afford to ignore culture as a component of that profile.”
CM: “Most multicultural marketers are focused on B2C because that’s been where the press is and the obvious targets. When it comes to the business market, Hispanic businesses have been growing at more the twice the rate of non-Hispanic businesses. There is a new type of business that companies have not quite taken into consciousness, if you will. O
n the B2B side, it’s becoming more interesting and we’re getting more interest on it. B2B should be one of the things that companies think about because it’s all about growth. Growth drives the success of a business.”
What would you say is the biggest takeaway for marketers from these findings?
LM: “Multicultural is an opportunity, but personalization with our customers is the goal. We are all looking to engage with that market of one. And for many of our customers, so much of their behavior, instinct, patterns, expectations and demands are influenced and molded by their rich cultural heritage. As B2B marketers continue on this path of multichannel, personalized content marketing, we have to look at all possible points of influence that enhance our customer profiles and intelligence. Understanding the ‘New American Mainstream’ is an ideal starting point.”
CM: “If marketers simply look at allocation of budget according to the future lifetime value of the intended consumer, everything will solve itself. If you look at where the money will come from today to end-of-life, you’ll see a much more multicultural picture, even much more than it is today. Many don’t know that we as a culture increasingly embrace our heritage, regardless of our country of origin.
We love to be American, but we also love to celebrate our heritage. Sometimes this makes big differences in what we buy and the products we consume. Many marketers are hoping that general American advertising will work for everyone, and that’s not necessarily the case.”
The ‘Activating the New American Mainstream’ white paper is based on a 10-question survey of 150 North America-based senior marketing executives.