We Might be Close…Very Close

Nov 05, 09 We Might be Close…Very Close

Last week, I enjoyed being a part of the 6th Annual Multicultural Marketing Summit, organized by Geoscape. While there, in the luxurious surroundings of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (tough work, but somebody has to do it), I had the privilege of standing at the podium with one of our Clients, Lisa Bacus, Vice President of Marketing at American Family Insurance. Together we shared a best practices example of Cultural Convergence.

As I took it all in, something became very clear — I think we may be close to reaching a season in our industry where the question surrounding multicultural marketing truly becomes less about “IF” and much more about “HOW.” And after having the opportunity to speak at dozens of other conferences like this one, over the course of 18 years, this has not always been the case.

In years past, the expressions in the audience appeared more overwhelmed, skeptical and uncertain. Last week, I saw more heads nodding, smiles and outbursts of encouragement. I saw more people locking in on the one foundational truth that most defines the multicultural marketing opportunity — that multicultural marketing, at the core, is just marketing. The demographic landscape is simply leading more brands into becoming more customer-centric around the lifestyles and behaviors of a “new general market” – one that, in many DMAs, is dominated by high-growth segments that happen to be more multicultural than ever before.

Of course, we still have a lot of work to do. One of the prevailing themes at the event was the ongoing quest of gaining internal buy-in and alignment. The internal culture seems to still be a larger hurdle than the external one inside of most organizations. But I was encouraged by the energy, passion and sheer intelligence reflected in all of the “champions” who attended. If they can successfully build the business case internally to get more of their key decision-makers on board, from the C-Suite to the front-line, we may just start to see a whole new generation of truly innovative marketing programs in the next 18-24 months – and serious things will start to happen around moving the share and sales needle as a result.

I, for one, stand ready to help. Ready to tackle the “HOW,” and when necessary, to continue moving the conversation of “IF” further along.

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