Multicultural marketing is mainstream marketing

Hispanic Heritage Month should remind us that multicultural audiences are becoming the mainstream.

Rob Vélez is VP of multicultural sales at Vevo.

Hispanic Heritage Month offers an important backdrop to discuss the role of diversity in marketing. It’s no longer enough to ask: “What’s our multicultural marketing strategy?” 

I’ve been reminded during our multicultural upfront that savvy marketers know this. They also know that the real question to ask themselves is: “Is my marketing strategy inclusive of all identities?” 

There’s no denying the majority of Americans will soon be non-white, made up of all sorts of diverse backgrounds, cultures and mixed race origins. According to the latest Census numbers, nearly 20% of the country identifies as Hispanic; 14% identify as Black; and 6% identify as Asian and Pacific Islander. Layer in the fact America’s multiracial population has grown dramatically, jumping from 9 million to 33.8 million people in the past decade.

Given this, here are five important questions modern marketers must address year round, not just during Hispanic Heritage Month, to embrace today’s diverse mainstream. 

1. Is diversity embedded into your mass marketing strategy? 

The investment you make in building equity with diverse audiences will pay off in the long run if you show up consistently and authentically. This is now table stakes. 

My colleagues and I look to bodies like the ARF Cultural Effectiveness Council to develop balanced and unbiased research initiatives that enable us to provide brands with insights into how to resonate with audiences in a more culturally fluent and authentic way.  

At minimum, if you’re a mass appeal brand and you’re not allocating more than 50% of your budget to diverse identities, you’re missing out on your total addressable audience. 

2. Are we aligning our brand with content that transcends identities?

Thanks to our research team’s efforts, we’re able to identify which artists over-index with certain audiences, influencing brand awareness and favorability. One might assume certain music genres only connect with a distinct cultural community. That’s not always the case. White Americans can also enjoy bachata and salsa. 

When you align with the right content and research partners, you make some incredibly valuable discoveries to inform your media strategy. 

3. How is intersectionality reflected in your ad strategy? 

In addition to recognizing racial and ethnic diversity, brands must acknowledge the growing LGBTQ+ community within these segments. A recent Household Pulse Survey reported at least 20 million adults in the U.S. could be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, totaling nearly 8% of the total adult population. That’s almost double the prior estimates. 

Some of music’s biggest Latin artists identify at LGBTQ+. As Billboard recently reported, the future of Latin music is queer. This should come as no surprise when you consider that 21% of Gen Z, the largest and most diverse generation in the U.S., identify as LGBTQ+. 

4. Are you adequately prepared to communicate with the Hispanic community?

It’s imperative that brand marketers pay close attention and double down on building a bridge to the Hispanic community. The Hispanic population reached 62.1 million people in 2020, increasing 23% over the previous decade. This growth outpaced the nation’s overall population growth of 7%, according to Pew Research

While the Spanish language can be a unifier for Hispanics, it’s not so simple to just “speak” to the Hispanic population. Cultural cues matter. From music, to food to holidays, each group within the Hispanic diaspora has its own culture and heritage. The traditions of a Cuban American in South Florida differ from that of a Mexican American in Texas. 

But there are also unique commonalities that Hispanic communities share, such as spending time with family Shared experiences are important. 

5. Is our measurement approach balanced? 

As you leverage more diversity-rich data and insights, you’ll also be able to learn what content is resonating with a majority of audiences. This measurement part can be tricky for Hispanic audiences, however, when you consider they have been underrepresented by media measurement panels

Somos Vevo, our division focused on Hispanic marketing, develops custom solutions and works with multiple providers to ensure we’re measuring the impressions and engagement of ads served across our Latin music channels. 

Words of encouragement 

Like any marketing plan, you’ll need to test and learn without falling victim to analysis paralysis. As long as you make it a best practice to use diverse data sets to make buying decisions, you’re good to go. 

A good place to start: Hire more diverse talent and give them decision making power.

Rob Vélez is VP of multicultural sales at Vevo. 

This column first appeared on 

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