Study: Multicultural Efforts Lack Funding, Internal Support

Only 45% of Marketers Surveyed Are Satisfied With Results

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NEW YORK ( -- After years of marketing to ethnic minorities, fewer than half of marketers surveyed are happy with their own company's efforts. In a new survey the Association of National Advertisers conducted for its annual Nov. 16-18 multicultural conference, just 45% of respondents said they are satisfied with the results of their companies' multicultural initiatives, and 26% said they are somewhat or very dissatisfied.

And only about three-quarters of marketers, 77%, do multicultural marketing at all, although 66% said their company's efforts have grown in the past few years.

The survey was based on responses from 74 ANA members contacted in August.

Funds don't go far enough
Lack of multicultural marketing dollars was the biggest source of frustration for marketers surveyed, a problem that is only likely to get worse as recession-hit companies slash spending next year. More than half of respondents (58%) cited lack of funding as one of their barriers, followed by lack of metrics to measure performance (45%).

One of the biggest problems multicultural marketing execs complain about every year when they gather at the ANA conference is the lack of support from within their own companies, where success depends on having a champion in the C-suite. Almost half (45%) of the marketers surveyed said they don't get enough internal support, and 34% said support from top management is inconsistent. Respondents were also critical of their companies' ability to integrate multicultural marketing into the overall marketing mix.

At many companies, multicultural marketing is synonymous with targeting Hispanics. Ninety-five percent of respondents said they target Hispanics, up from 86% in a previous survey in 2003. Three-quarters (76%) market to African-Americans, up from 60% in 2003. There has been little progress for Asian-Americans, targeted by just 38% of respondents, a small increase from 35% in 2003.

Specialists score higher
Fifty-five percent of marketers surveyed said they preferred to use a specialized multicultural agency for creative work. Satisfaction scores indicated that they are much happier with their agencies than the one-quarter of respondents who rely on their general-market agency of record for multicultural work.

The best creative and strategy usually comes from agencies that specialize in Hispanic or African-American advertising, although more general-market agencies are rushing to try to develop Hispanic expertise to cash in on that growing market. Marketers like Wal-Mart Stores and Bank of America have found that Hispanics represent a big chunk of their growth, so they try not to slash those budgets. DraftFCB, for instance, does multicultural work for four of its general-market clients and in October hired Simon El Hage, the longtime director of strategic marketing services at the No. 4 Hispanic agency Lopez Negrete Communications, as DraftFCB's first VP, group management director, multicultural marketing.
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