Marketers hone focus on minorities

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More marketers are making multicultural marketing a separate unit, and fewer feel able to skip targeting the U.S. Hispanic market, according to a study by the Association of National Advertisers.

Eighty-six percent of respondents to a multicultural marketing survey of its members by the ANA said they are marketing to Hispanics, up from 70% in a similar ANA study done in 2002. The gap is growing between the emphasis on the Hispanic market and targeting African-Americans, with just 60% of respondents saying they market to that segment, a figure that is virtually unchanged from 59% in the 2002 survey. Targeting Asian-Americans is up somewhat, to 35% of marketers from 27%.

The study, which will be presented at the ANA's annual Multicultural Marketing Conference from Nov. 7-9, also found that half of the marketers surveyed have set up separate multicultural units or departments, up from 39% in 2002. Another 36% handle multicultural marketing at the brand level, and 15% at least have a multicultural staffer.

"Having a stand-alone department with profit-and-loss objectives was a key factor to organizations really driving their multicultural success," said Barbara Bacci Mirque, an ANA senior VP and author of the Multicultural Marketing Survey. She said the number of respondents who indicated they had a stand-alone unit with P&L responsibility grew by eight points to 32% in the new survey.

lack of budget

Although an overwhelming 89% of respondents said they are doing multicultural marketing, the barriers faced by the other 11% are discouraging. The biggest reason, cited by 46% of those not doing multicultural marketing, was lack of a budget. Other reasons given were lack of commitment by management (36%) and that diverse market segments aren't important (27%).

The average ad budget of respondents was $225 million, with $4.8 million devoted to multicultural efforts. Most (54%) said their ad budget remains the same in 2004. That doesn't reflect the new dollars pouring into the multicultural area as many marketers advertise for the first time, usually starting with U.S. Hispanic ads.

Looking at how marketers define multicultural marketing, 85% said they create separate ads for different market segments and use multicultural media. Just 7% said they favor advertising that appeals to both the general and multicultural market. And nobody admitted to just translating general-market ads for a multicultural audience, although many marketers do start that way before developing original creative.

Reflecting other trends, 52% of respondents said they have created and run bilingual ads. And 22% said they have used campaigns created for multicultural markets in the general market, too. General Motors Corp., for instance, ran a spot during the World Series for Chevy's Silverado that was created by GM's U.S. Hispanic agency, Accentmarketing, Coral Gables, Fla., for Spanish-language TV. GM had previously adapted English-language work for the Hispanic market, and done original creative in Spanish, but never moved a spot from Spanish-language to English-language TV before.


Asked about the greatest challenges they face, ANA members cited measurement of results (38%) and funding (34%) followed by lack of market research (13%).

In other findings, 85% of respondents said they use a multicultural agency-up from 76% in 2002-while 33% have their general-market agencies doing multicultural work. Media buying is a fairly even split, with 49% of respondents relying on their general-market media shop for multicultural duties, and 46% using a multicultural media-buying agency.

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