© 2016 DMI

A commitment to leading our companies with multicultural insights – Do or Fail [INSIGHT]

By Gilbert Davila / CEO of Davila Multicultural Insights & Chairman of ANA Multicultural Board

Welcome to the 2013 ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference entitled “Marketing to a Multicultural Nation” – a very appropriate title considering the latest reports on the continuing growth of multicultural groups in our country today.

In 2012, the US Census identified 37% of our country as multicultural – that’s over 116 million African Americans, Hispanics and Asians. As we all probably know by now, these demographic groups are mostly younger and growing much faster than their White counterparts. Years ago, when we started looking into these growing trends, we realized multicultural would become the way of the future. Ladies and gentlemen, there is no denying it: that future is now.

For those of us who want to grow our businesses (and I certainly hope that’s every single person here), targeting multicultural groups – and embedding a multicultural perspective into all of our efforts – is not a choice. It’s a necessity. Simply put, if you want to enjoy growth, you must target these growing populations.

So, as marketers we find ourselves asking questions like: how can we reach millennials without targeting multicultural? You can’t. How do we target members of generation Z without embedding a multicultural perspective? You don’t. Today’s reality is the emergence of a multicultural nation. Tomorrow’s reality is its definitive growth.

Our job as marketers is to inspire our customers to open their minds and try new things. Our challenge is to present today’s multicultural nation as the norm. In doing this, many companies have moved from a siloed multicultural market approach, to a total market approach in our business strategies. We’ve begun embedding a multicultural perspective and representation in our general market efforts.

This year alone, we have been inspired by many commercials created by corporate America where multicultural has indeed been presented as the norm. Tomorrow’s excellence awards will show us how very far we’ve come. Slowly but surely, we’ve all started to drink the cool-aid. Today’s demographics give us no choice.

Every 30 seconds a Hispanic turns 18 years old. They represent one out of every 6 Americans and 1 out of every 5 teenagers. Within a few months Hispanics will be the new majority in the state of California. But the growth is not Hispanic based alone.

The Asian American population is growing faster than ever before. In 2010 there were 17 million Asian Americans in the United States. Their buying power grew 89% in the last decade and is expected to reach $775 billion by 2015.

African Americans – with a spending power of nearly 1 trillion dollars, now make up over 13% of our population – including the most powerful man in the world: the President of the United States. President Barack Obama is the perfect example of the changing face of America. The United States government has a multicultural chief executive. Yet, 98% of the nation’s largest businesses do not.

According to numbers from DiversityInc., there are 6 Black, 8 Asian and 8 Latino CEO’s within Fortune 500 Companies. What’s the total? Twenty-two out of 500 multicultural CEO’s in America today. Four percent. Sadly, the low representation of minorities stands true in the lack of multicultural senior leadership in corporate America today.

If we are committed to leading our companies with multicultural insights, we have to do a better job of mirroring our country today at all levels of the corporate ladder – including our CMO’s and CEO’s so that these executives can, in turn, inspire and attract up and coming multicultural talent into our corporations.

Without a system in place that allows our multicultural youth to understand that leadership dreams are indeed attainable, those dream become quite implausible. Without multicultural representation in our corporate corridors, it’s hard to effectively target diverse populations. Without a total market approach – total multicultural representation in our advertising and marketing efforts – we have to be aware that we’re leaving a huge population behind. Remember that number? 116 million Asians, African Americans and Hispanics in our country today. Crazy to ignore such a large and powerful demographic.

It’s time to not only lead with multicultural insights, but with multicultural leaders as well. It’s time our companies finally reflect today’s multicultural America. It’s time we invest accordingly into these groups – not as a small percentage of the overall budget, but as a budget comparable to their contributions and full potential. It’s time for us to embrace a total market approach, while still targeting individual demographics. In this plan, everyone is included. Everyone is represented. Every single time.

Have you created your total market and inclusion plan yet? If not, this conference should send each and every one of us on our way

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