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Is multicultural marketing now part of ‘Marketing 101’?

Published November 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm

adsoft_direct_local_marketing_automation_multiculturalHow did one of the country’s top multicultural marketing experts find herself recently speaking at the International Spa Association’s Conference and Expo?

Throughout her career, Kelly McDonald has seen this country, and specifically her local community in Texas, become more ethnically diverse. Her comments at the conference were intended to show that we no longer live in a “one size fits all world,” and marketers need to adjust to cater their outreach efforts to specific demographics.

Given the importance of customized marketing strategies, it’s probably not a surprise that companies like Walmart have since moved away from distinct teams dedicated to multicultural marketing efforts, in favor of holistic marketing efforts that all include a focus on marketing to different demographics.

Walmart calls this approach “Total Market.”

It’s sort of a “have your cake and eat it too” approach — at least that’s the perception after reading marketing executive Gilbert Davila’s comments at the ANA Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference in Los Angeles this week.

“It’s time for us to embrace a total market approach, while still targeting individual demographics,” he said. “In this plan, everyone is included. Everyone is represented. Every single time.”

According to AdAge’s summary of the presentations, other industry experts agreed with Davila — one called Total Market an integral part of “Marketing 101″ and others said that Total Market and marketing should be indistinguishable.

While different ethnic groups certainly need to be addressed in a language and style that they are most comfortable with, customization of marketing materials shouldn’t only break along these lines. Brands might also just be trying to reach customers in a wide geographic area.

Either way, the less distance that exists between brands and customers as a result of a marketing campaign, the more likely a transaction will occur and the more likely the relationship will remain ongoing.

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