13. Multicultural Marketing Part Dos

Welcome to Episode 13 of Navigating the Fustercluck—a podcast full of snackable insights to help you navigate the love/hate world of creativity and marketing.

My name is Wegs, like eggs with a W, joining you from Deaf Mule Studios in Dallas, and whether you work in advertising, design, gaming, fine art, commercial art, content creation, whatever it may be, we’re here to talk some more about Hispanic Marketing.

Right now, more babies of color are being born than Anglo babies. The diaper brands are fully aware of the change taking place in America, and you should be, too. That’s why we’re going to delve deeper into how both the marketplace and workplace had best become more inclusive, and fast!

Algorithms Eat Anecdotes for Lunch.

Trust me, I’m Hispanic. Back in the day, that’s what clients heard when they were trying to reach out to broaden their audience. And to be honest, that sort of gamesmanship still goes on now. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t enjoy a tale or two for extra texture. Just make sure that you’re listening to someone who knows how to tell a good story with numbers. There’s enough data these days that you shouldn’t have to settle for someone’s gut feel and hunches.

Acculturation is Dead!

In this era of Big Data, there is no excuse for contrived generalizations and artificial segmentations. So, while I don’t dispute that acculturation exists, I firmly believe that it no longer has any relevance to marketing strategy. In marketing to Hispanics today, CMO’s should demand the same due diligence from their Hispanic marketing agencies as they require from those in the “general market.” If you’re not presently receiving that level of service, find better partners. First off…

Don’t Hire a Professional Accent

Unfortunately, there are still a group of people who make a living just off their ethnicity. They may be British planners who pronounce process “PRO-cess.” They may be Australian, Eskimo or Hispanic… But just because someone speaks Spanish doesn’t make that person an expert on the Hispanic Market. So, no matter what their ethnicity, be careful whom you assign your Multicultural efforts, give Multicultural communities the level of respect they deserve by hiring someone with the right data, knowledge and experience to be your point person. Not just someone who happens to be Hispanic, gay or black or whatever. Take my tampon story.

Tampon Man

What’s the first rule of marketing? Know your consumer. Rule #2? You are not your consumer. Once I was asked in an inappropriate, less-than-roundabout way how a middle-aged white guy could lead multicultural efforts. My response? One of the most successful projects I ever worked on was for a tampon company. Amazingly, neither my gender nor my lack of intimate knowledge with the product prevented our team from scoring a win. In fact, call me Tampon Man, if you’d like. (Nah, don’t do that.) The moral of the story? Hire the best person for the job. Period. And yes, that means hiring people of color on accounts targeted to primarily Anglo audiences as well. OK? This shouldn’t be so hard. But we’ve got to deal with it.

Another thing we’ve got to deal with are misunderstood ideas like Total Market.

Total Market is Incomplete

Total Market is also a big buzzword these days. But if you’re not careful in how you apply it, it could also prove to be a buzz saw.

In theory, a holistic integrated approach is what we all strive for. But in practice, a dangerous assumption is made. It’s taken for granted that a common marketing problem exists across all ethnic segments. Yet, it’s far from uncommon that their marketing problem or barriers to growth are different. In those situations, one common Total Market solution will not solve 2 different problems.

Take It Upstream

To be successful, a Total Market approach must be applied further upstream. Rather than waiting to bring things together at the Communications Planning stage, integration must take place during development of the marketing strategy. That’s when a holistic approach to segmenting should take place. One defined not by demographics or ethnicity, but by shared behaviors and attitudes.

Only in this manner can we claim that the concept of Total Market is a complete success.

Does That Make Any Sense?

Let me give you an example. This one involves Hyundai cars.

These days Hyundai is doing pretty well. Not that long ago, however, things didn’t look that good. They weren’t much to look at, and they had a terrible reputation for quality, too. In fact, even their then unheard of 10-year/10,000 mile warranty backfired on them. People thought that Hyundai had to offer it because their cars broke down so much. But over time, Hyundai turned it around. Started making some good cars that looked pretty good, too. Still, they had to rebuild their reputation. It didn’t match their cars, and it was going to take just as long to fix it.

Goodby was chosen as the agency to help Hyundai get a second chance. They asked people to Rethink Hyundai with their Rethink It campaign. The idea was a straightforward approach to present all the new evidence that Hyundai was worth reconsidering.

It was a solid campaign—for the General Market. Not so much for the Hispanic market. Why? Because Hispanics weren’t familiar with Hyundai. They didn’t need to reconsider Hyundai because they never knew the brand in the first place.

And there was the problem. By asking Hispanics to reconsider Hyundai, they would be telling people that there was something wrong with them in the first place. Taking that tact would only be creating another speed bump in selling them.

So, what did we do? Instead of asking our Hispanic audience to Rethink Hyundai, we asked them to Discover Hyundai. We used all the evidence and proofpoints of the General Market campaign yet managed to build around an insight that was more relevant and positive for a key audience. Hope that helps.


It’s not that Total Market is a bad idea, it’s just dangerous when misunderstood or ill-defined.

Let’s Take a Short Breather… (EXHALE.)

…We’re here at Deaf Mule Studios to remind everyone that this is Navigating the Fustercluck. And I’m Wegs, your world-weary host hoping that you can avoid many of the mistakes I’ve made during my otherwise adventurous career. Now back to the broadcast with this final thought:

Bake It In, Don’t Bolt It On.

If you don’t include your Multicultural partners upstream, you’ll be too late to include all the insights ethnic consumers can add to your efforts. The outcome? Instead of insights that are baked in, you’ll end up with something else bolted on. Something forced. Something cliché. Something that may fool the marketing team but not their consumers. Why? Because they’re seeing a mismatched marketing campaign that feels Frankensteined. And they know it. And, excuse the pun, but when you create a Frankenstein, scary results follow. To your business, and to your brand.

Well, that about wraps up our 13th episode of Navigating the Fustercluck.

Here from Deaf Mule Studios, I’m your host, Wegs, like eggs with a W, thank you for listening in. Until then, please feel free to reach out to us on Twitter at NavigatingF. Remember, we’re all in this together, so thanks for doing your best to buck the cluck. Here’s to you. Here’s to the future.