5 Tips For Multicultural Media Buying


ADOTAS — Today, the minority population accounts for 37 percent of the nation’s total population. That translates to an estimated spending power of more than $2 trillion — clout that has not failed to command the attention of marketers. The challenge is making your media dollars work for you in this diverse landscape. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Multicultural media buys should start at day one.Multicultural marketing, formerly an outlier, is becoming an integral part of the marketing planning process. Instead of creating a general market media strategy and then creating multicultural campaigns as extensions, bring your multicultural media planners to the table from day one to ensure an all-inclusive campaign.

The best approach to media planning is holistic. Nielsen, Kantar, and comScore long ago started including multicultural media tracking studies in their offerings, so there’s no reason for traditional media planners to avoid multilingual media. Look at Hispanic TV networks: Univision beat every broadcast and cable network in the country for adults 18-49 and 18-34 in July 2013. It was the first time this had happened, but it confirmed a major trend and will most likely be repeated as the Hispanic population grows.

2. One size doesn’t fit all. At the core of media buying for multicultural audiences is one thing: diversity. Every group has different preferences, but even then, trends are only that — trends. No audience preference is ever completely polarized because within every multicultural group, there are also millions of individuals. That said, consider the unique preferences of various different cultural groups, and do secondary research of your own to help maximize your media buys. Some facts to consider:

  • African-Americans spend more than some other groups on phone services, utilities, groceries, and footwear.
  • Asians spend more on food, housing, clothing, education, and personal insurance.
  • Hispanics spend more on groceries, phone service, apparel, and footwear.

3. Get a taste of culture. To truly understand your target audience, spend some time speaking with them. Secondary research is a must. Obtain reports from Nielsen, Siemens, and other reputable organizations that track media consumption of major multicultural groups, but get out of the cubicle to gain an edge. Visit neighborhoods. Eat local ethnic cuisine. Watch multicultural TV stations. Pick up newspapers or weeklies, and attend festivals. This will give you a better understanding of your consumers’ behaviors and what makes their universe work. Plus, you’ll get an inside look into the complexity of the group.

4. Know the trendsetters in your audience. To narrow your target to key influencers, research the trendsetters in your audience. For example, 29.4 percent of the African-American population is under 18 years old, compared to 23.3 percent of the Caucasian population or 24.6 percent of the total population. With a large and young African-American consumer group, it’s important to understand how this group is setting trends for young adults of every race and ethnic background.

5. Common sense is king. Despite all the research about multicultural media out there, nothing substitutes for common sense and cultural understanding. Oftentimes, marketers just lump multicultural consumers into one category called “others” — but the same basics that apply to general consumers apply here. Every group has different preferences, and they’re not based on heritage alone.

For example, Univision can be a top media buy for Hispanic marketing, but this alone is not a holy grail. It isn’t the only TV station targeting the Latino consumer in the U.S. (And, in many cases, it’s not the best choice for the target audience.) For instance, when it comes to the young Hispanic male consumer, beIN Sport or Fox Deportes would be a better choice. For the African-American consumer, BET is not always the first choice of media. Many in this demographic watch various CW shows instead.

The right media planner should start from the ground up (as with any audience) and have a thorough understanding of the target audience’s:

  • Country of origin
  • Motivators
  • Time spent consuming media
  • Method of consuming media
  • Household income
  • Propensity to spend
  • Current location

These are the same factors that affect media choices among general market consumers, but multicultural audiences often get lumped into a single category that fails to accurately portray any of them. By partnering with a multicultural agency or multicultural media planners from the start, you can ensure a holistic strategy that makes your money work for you to capture each group in our nation’s vibrant multicultural landscape.


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