The Total Market Approach to Multicultural Marketing has captured the attention and curiosity of brands, agencies and advertisers across the United States. But how is this new form of strategic thinking informing digital marketing initiatives? 

With 84% of all the US Population growth between 2000-2010 coming from Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians (Source: U.S. Census Bureau “AHAA Addressing Total Market” April 2014), it’s no wonder why a Total Market Approach rests top-of-mind for savvy marketers and brands. 

What is the Total Market Approach? 

A Total Market Approach involves identifying diverse cultural insights at the inception of a campaign, then guiding marketing strategy development via those insights. The Total Market Approach leads to an integrated cross-cultural approach to marketing campaign strategy.

To develop a Total Market Approach, brands and their agency partners must:

  1. Collaborate to determine business goals and objectives
  2. Conduct research that reflects the diversity of the marketplace
  3. Develop an overarching strategy that speaks to the main insight yielded from the research, and, if necessary, serve custom-tailored marketing messages to each cultural group

Practicing a Total Market Approach begins during the process of acknowledging a business problem, or when identifying a business opportunity.

While researching potential solutions and opportunities, audiences must be segmented in various ways, creating profiles of cultural segments to identify brand and product sentiments for particular cultural groups, as well as to identify both the differences, and commonalities, between groups. This process allows the agency or brand to uncover key insights necessary for accomplishing business and marketing goals for targeted demographic audiences.

During this process, brands and partner agencies must collaborate to prevent from losing sight of the main business objectives, since allowing multicultural agencies to operate in isolation from general market agencies, or from each other, can lead to major strategy failures. In fact, the Total Market Approach helps prevent these types of failures, as it requires that key stakeholders are engaged together, early on the in the process, so that collaborative and integrated marketing solutions can be brought to the table.

As the U.S. population grows more diverse, the Total Market Approach will become increasingly more important for brands hoping to make an impact on multicultural audiences, especially when operating in the digital space. Marketing campaigns that fail to craft a comprehensive strategy based on the unique demographics of the customer base are virtually guaranteed to fail.

In fact, any campaign that simply translates the language of the general market strategy, hoping that the same messaging will resonate with multicultural audiences, is unlikely to succeed at winning over new audiences, and far more likely to alienate new potential customers.

The only way to ensure the success of multicultural marketing campaigns in the digital space is to analyze data about the targeted demographic groups, hold collaborative strategy sessions between the brand and partner agencies, then bring the comprehensive Total Market Approach to market, specifically tailoring the messaging for each targeted cultural group.