U.S. multicultural markets have exploded over the past nine years. Census 2000 shows that more than 3,000 new multicultural marketing companies have been established in the U.S. Big and small, they have been the most enthusiastic proponents of ethnic and niche marketing. Census 2000 also revealed that there are over 80 million people of Hispanic, African American, Asian and East European descent and half of them (excluding African Americans) prefer to speak in a language different from English. The number of multicultural Americans has increased in 2007 to over 100 million people and the language ratio remained more or less the same. Obama is a perfect example of what this country has become – a nation with a new face, new direction, and new people. Barack Obama lost the “majority” white vote to John McCain, receiving only 43% of the white vote. Meanwhile, he won the “minority” vote, garnering 95% of the African American vote, 67% of the Latino vote and 62% of the Asian vote. Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election by marketing to minorities, and did so mostly by effectively using technology and new media.
Census 2010 will prove that the minority population is quickly becoming a majority and that the U.S. looks more like the U.N. now. Over the last few years, marketers have become much more willing to embrace this shift and spend considerable amounts of money on multicultural marketing.
According to the 2008 ANA study, over 77% of U.S. marketers (surveyed among ANA members) have multicultural initiatives and 66% of survey participants responded that their company’s efforts in this area increased over the past few years. 55% of the respondents preferred to work with specialized multicultural ad agencies that have the expertise and experience in ethnic markets.
As of 2008, 65% of multicultural marketers included ethnic print in their budgets, followed closely by TV (61%), sponsorships (54%), public relations (54%), targeted radio (53%), in-store marketing (51%) and events (51%). Online multicultural advertising has risen from less than 10% in 2002 to 49% in 2008.
Even though there are many multicultural consultancies and agencies in the U.S., only a few specialize in multicultural interactive marketing. Interactive is best defined as consumer engagement with the brand, mostly through various forms of online advertising, such as display ads, SEO/SEM, emails/newsletters, advergaming, social networks, blogs, and WOM.
According to eMarketer, Internet usage among ethnic groups in the U.S. will grow every year and as a result, more online media will be available for multicultural use and more marketing dollars will be shifted from print to online.
In contrast to the popular belief that immigrants are not buying products online, numbers show that they do. It is particularly true within the Asian segment.
Culturally, ethnic minorities tend to be drawn to collectivistic values and often look to one another to help with options and decision making. In addition, ethnic minorities are more likely to leverage social networks to communicate with groups of family and friends who are geographically dispersed. Social media facilitates such collective sharing of information and communication.
In addition, market forces are driving ethnic minorities to use social media. There is a dearth of culturally relevant and in-language content available online. As a result, ethnic minorities tend to be proactive, create and share their own content, and social networks are ideal platforms for publishing and distributing such original content.
Top Social Networks for Multicultural Americans:
As of March 2009, Facebook added the feature that enables you to target people by their language – for instance, there are over 1,082,820 users of Facebook who have Spanish as their prime language on their profiles!
Display Ads and Multicultural Ad Networks
Display advertising is the most popular form of online marketing in the multicultural market. Because of the vast availability of U.S.-based ethnic websites this form of advertising has dominated multicultural online marketing. However, websites from the immigrant countries of origin have been entering the market over the past 5-6 years creating a larger field for advertisers and bringing professional content to the end consumers. As a result, ethnic geo-targeting was born. Currently, the market is divided between local U.S.-based ethnic portals and in-country geo-targeted sites. Examples of the most popular multicultural portals that cross-over between countries and have geo-targeting capabilities:
Hispanic (monthly visitors)
Univision.com – 5.8 mln global visitors; 3 mln from the US
Terra.com - 5.5 mln global visitors; 1.1 mln from the US
Esmas.com – 2 mln global visitors; 0.85 mln from the US
African-American (monthly visitors)
Blackplanet.com – 3 mln visitors from the US
Blacksingles.com – 0.8 mln visitors from the US
Urbanchat.com – 0.5 mln visitors from the US
Asian (monthly visitors)
Sina.com – 5 mln global visitors; 0.4 mln visitors from the US
Rediff.com – 7 mln global visitors; 0.8 mln visitors from the US
Wenxuecity.com – 1 mln global visitors; 0.4 mln visitors from the US
Mail.ru – 0.8 mln visitors from the US
Onet.pl – 6 mln global visitors; 0.4 mln visitors from the US
Uol.com.br – 0.2 mln visitors from the US
Because of the popularity of the multicultural websites, there are more and more multicultural Ad Networks growing in the U.S. With the growth of the market, the popularity of ethnic networks will inevitably increase.
Multicultural search engine marketing has gained momentum over the last three years. Such search engines as Google, Yahoo, MSN Live, Ask.com as well as Yandex.ru and Onet.pl (in-country based engines) generate millions of in-language searches every day. The in-language searches from the U.S. have gained popularity because of the growth of international businesses as well as immigration patterns. This trend allows for precise keyword targeting.
There are over 17,000,000 people who sign up for in-language newsletters and/or receive in-language blast emails. Additionally, over 30,000,000 in-language emails are sent daily between users in the U.S. These numbers represent a significant share of all of the emails and newsletters sent in this country and provide a great potential for marketers.
Other (Advergaming, WOM, Branded Entertainment)
Even though these alternative forms of advertising are rather new to multicultural marketers, they represent a great potential for future growth. There are many examples of successful advergaming campaigns, Word of Mouth marketing, and branded entertainment features in the ethnic markets.