Can You 'Martech' Your Way Into Multicultural Markets?

April 30, 2018 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

Marketing technology, more commonly known as martech, is stealthily transforming the way companies market to consumers. As ads retarget and emails automate, consumers are enjoying the luxury of an omnichannel experience while affording marketers the opportunity to collect the digital breadcrumbs they leave behind.

With a bulging waistline, the martech industry now boasts a roster of nearly 5,000 companies. While digital marketers have been playing with it for years, the big difference in the technology is the sheer scale of what’s possible with today’s tools. Marketing stacks curate programmatic advertising, social media, SEO and e-commerce into a neat bundle that produces rich data that is analyzed and then used to shape more relevant marketing campaigns to specific audiences.

Relevance and cultural nuance are the keys to winning favor with multicultural markets, a demographic that should be on every marketer's radar. According to Nielsen, 21 of the 25 most-populated counties in the U.S. are already more than 50% multicultural. And the Census Bureau reported that the U.S. itself will be majority-minority by 2044. Gen Z is the most multicultural generation in the U.S.

Entering New Multicultural Markets

As companies begin to realize the imperative of beginning multicultural efforts, I have realized that martech solutions are in prime position to help companies reach new audiences, including the coveted multicultural markets. This is why our company has developed a martech tool focused on helping strategic planners paint a better picture of their target consumer.

One of the biggest benefits martech tools offer is audience insights. The digital space is one of the few places where smart devices equipped with machine-learning technology study consumer behavior and make predictions about consumer intentions. This foresight is extremely valuable to brands.

As eMarketer reported, U.S. companies spent more than $10 billion in 2017 on third-party data for audience insights. The majority of that budget went toward omnichannel-focused data, including basic information like name, address and email, as well as general interests and behavior.

While the most obvious use for audience data is to target audiences, there are martech products that allow you to segment and define audiences based on other criteria such as behavioral and purchase data. Furthermore, there is a small segment of products, including AudienceM and my company's product, ThinkNow ConneKt, that have robust multicultural data, including behavioral and psychographic data. This allows marketers to segment multicultural markets by attributes that were not available five years ago.

The Approach And Average Investment Required

Martech also has the ability to greatly reduce the cost of entering the Hispanic and multicultural markets. According to this article, the minimal investment of entering these markets — via market research and strategy — ranges from $50,000-$200,000.

Using a martech-first approach to multicultural gives you a way to define and discover potential multicultural consumers who are interacting with your brand based on real-time data. This approach allows you to benefit from the billions of impressions these digital super-consumers produce. But there are some things to keep in mind:

1. Do your due diligence on the representation of multicultural data.

While most solutions will have the ability to segment by ethnicity, ensure the sample size is robust and representative. Depending on how you define your consumers' attributes will determine a stable enough base size. But a good rule of thumb is a minimum of 1,500 consumers that meet your segmentation criteria.

2. Ethnic profiles may not be standard, and the martech solution may be using an algorithm to define ethnicity.

This can vary widely from solution to solution. Make sure to vet the ethnic-defining process to ensure it stands up to your firm’s standards. Some essential components to be aware of when vetting a tool's ethnic-defining process should include asking if it is self-reported data or algorithm-based. If it is algorithm-based, make sure to understand what the key components are of the algorithm and determine if it makes sense in the context of ethnicity.

Martech is making it easier than ever for marketers to explore multicultural markets in the U.S. through quick access to data. Using these tools creatively can open you to new markets and increase ROI for existing customers and give you the data you need to connect with the new multicultural reality.

This blog post was originally published on Forbes