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Multicultural America provides opportunities for targeted marketing

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 23-Nov-2010

Marketers need to tailor their strategies to reflect the cultural diversity of the United States rather than adopting a ‘one size fits all’ approach, according to the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies.

Market research organization Nielsen predicts that more than half the US population will be non-white by 2050. Currently, the African-American, Hispanic and Asian populations in the United States are responsible for about $299bn of CPG (consumer packaged goods) spending, and Nielsen estimates that this could rise by as much as 25 percent over the next 10 years, to $373bn in today’s money.

The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) said that savvy marketers, including the likes of General Mills and McDonald’s, understand the value of targeted marketing for different cultural groups.

AHAA chair and COO of Bromley Communications Jessica Pantanini said: "Trying to be all things to all consumers not only waters down the communication but also waters down the results. The population is definitely more multicultural but that only reinforces the need for customized, one-to-one communication.”

The association said that consumer inclusion and cultural insight is crucial to translation marketing strategies into improved financial results.

Pantanini said: “The US is a salad bowl and not a mixing bowl. Multicultural consumers are blended into the population but they retain their own unique cultural traits, behaviors and innate desires that influence their responses, purchasing and loyalty. To ignore this in the name of cost-cutting and consolidation or leaving it to the agencies to figure it out will impact negatively advertisers' return on investments."

The growing diversity of the United States requires marketers to understand cultural and ethnic nuances and the differences that drive shoppers’ behaviors, the AHAA said.

In 2006 Americans of Hispanic and Latino origin were estimated to make up 14.8 percent of the United States’ population. The Census Bureau has projected that they will account for 30 percent of the population by 2050. Driven by this rapidly increasing Hispanic population, market research organization Packaged Facts said that US sales of Hispanic food and drink were nearly $7bn in 2009 – up 28.7 percent from $5.4bn in 2005.

In addition, it has predicted that sales in the Hispanic food and beverage sector will hit $9.5bn by 2014.

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