Four Takeaways from the ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference
Earlier this month, the ANA hosted their annual Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference addressing the significant changes to the US population and what marketers need to prepare for in the years ahead. The conference focused on broader economic and social trends as well as specific strategies and tactics for advertisers.
Brands are starting to understand that true multicultural marketing is complicated because it requires nuanced and flexible approaches in order to work for an increasingly diverse population.
Census.gov notes, “The fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the United States is people who are Two or More Races, who are projected to grow some 200 percent by 2060. The next fastest is the Asian population, which is projected to double, followed by Hispanics whose population will nearly double within the next 4 decades.”
The conference was an energizing and fitting backdrop for us as we showcased our new Diversity and Inclusivity features in our Context GPT product. These new features unlock scale and nuance for contextual media buying that is also culturally sensitive and enables brand value-aligned media buying.
This is truly an exciting time for marketing, and the conference sparked a lot of great conversation. Here are the four themes that resonated most:
1. The Opportunity of Multicultural Investment
Marc Cuban is credited with saying, “Wherever there is change, there is opportunity.” This was a message that resonated with me and the team both from the presentations on stage and from the engaging conversations we had with industry peers. People are open to what’s ahead and are ready to embrace new ideas to more effectively reach an ever-evolving audience.
As the Chief Brand Officer of P&G Marc Pritchard noted, “Multicultural marketing may be the single biggest source of growth in our industry now, and for the next several years… perhaps even decades.” Brands that fail to recognize and seize this monumental opportunity are not only missing out on its intrinsic value but also risk being left behind in an increasingly diverse market landscape.
So what does this mean? First, it means that brands should put their DE&I goals front and center in their marketing plan. This is not a sidebar goodwill effort, but a core growth opportunity. Second, it means that brands should invest in analytics and new marketing tactics to better understand what works. Just like the way an advertiser would test a new channel like CTV, advertisers have to test new approaches that fit a diverse audience. There are different channels and content, different buying behavior, and different reactions to ad creative and content.
2. GenZ is the Purpose-Driven Generation
In tandem with the increasing diversity of the US is the rise of younger generations. GenZ is the most diverse generation in our country’s history.
Older members of GenZ are now in early adulthood, which is an important time for advertisers to reach them as they set up homes, get jobs, and make major life decisions. Through all of this, they are more aware of and more sensitive to diversity and inclusion in marketing than previous generations. A recent study by SeeHer found that 50% claimed, “when I know a brand is committed to diversity and inclusion, I find myself more likely to do business/shop with them.”
Their spending habits, deeply rooted in values, demand authenticity and representation. As they become a dominant force in the market, brands can’t afford to overlook their sensitivities and needs. They expect brands to not only speak their language but to understand their heritage, culture, and values.
3. Over-Simplification Stymies Multicultural Marketing
Good multicultural marketing requires nuance. Consider the Hispanic population in the US – which includes people who speak only English, only Spanish, or a combination of the two. The bi-lingual group is not all the same. Some prefer content in English, while others like Spanish. They come from many different countries and have wildly different cultures and tastes. Also consider racially diverse households, where different people identify with different cultural and ethnic groups.
The tools used by many marketers today are too simplified and blunt to address these complexities. Content block lists, audience segments – these tools work like an “on/off” switch.
What’s more, many brands block diverse content because of overblown concerns with brand safety. With their blunt tools, they end up turning too much “off.” This makes it hard to scale multicultural marketing efforts while ensuring effectiveness and accuracy.
4. The Intersection of Data and Human Nuance
While big data has always driven marketing insights, the current landscape demands a merger of quantitative data with cultural nuances. It’s no longer enough to know what a consumer might buy; understanding why they choose one product over another based on cultural, social, or personal experiences becomes crucial. This makes room for advanced AI because instead of relying on historical data to make assumptions, we are in the age of letting real-time patterns tell us who consumers are, what content they are consuming, and how their interests are evolving.
The ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference underscored this fundamental shift in marketing paradigms. As we navigate this shifting landscape, it’s evident that tools and strategies incorporating multicultural nuances at their core will lead the way.