A few years ago, the concept of autonomous vehicles captivated consumers. While the technology has progressed tremendously, most self-driving experiences are still limited to driver assistance, partial automation, or conditional automation. Innovation develops over time. Compare that to the emergence of mobile sample. Ten years ago, it was the most significant innovation in the online sample industry. Mobile sample was discussed in every conference from 2010 to 2016. Despite the buzz, however, mobile sample didn’t immediately catch on. The technology existed, but brands resisted the change in survey methodology. But that started to change in 2017.
While Latinos over-index on using certain technologies, such as smartphones and social media, broad adoption of video conferencing apps and other online platforms being used to accommodate the shift from in-person to online qualitative research is not as prevalent. Over the last few months, market researchers have been tasked with helping multicultural consumers understand these tools so they can share their thoughts and opinions in qualitative studies. However, the technology being used to administer online qualitative research is often designed for the moderator’s comfort, not the respondents. For multicultural consumers, especially Hispanics who prefer face-to-face interactions, this presents a challenge.
In 2011, we took to pen and paper to ideate an amalgamation of terms to name our market research company and carve out our industry niche. A year before, the 2010 Census came out. It was clear that the Hispanic population in the U.S. was growing, and companies and brands needed to take notice of this bourgeoning consumer group. More than half of the growth in the total U.S. population between 2000 and 2010 was due to an increase in the Hispanic population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Hispanic population grew by 43% during that time. By 2010, Hispanics comprised 16% of the total U.S. population.
The shift in American attitudes toward social justice and inclusivity following George Floyd’s death and subsequent protests has prompted some companies to consider creating targeted messaging for multicultural consumers. Consumers are paying more attention than ever to how companies navigate social and racial justice issues and reward brands that align with their values. Getting it right, though, can be a daunting task, even for experienced brand managers. The fear of offending consumers is often enough to prevent marketers from even attempting to create multicultural messaging. If done correctly, however, the benefits of targeted multicultural messaging outweigh the risks.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion took center stage in 2020, with many brands rushing to restructure internal teams and re-evaluate advertising campaigns in response to calls for social justice. There was a cultural shift among the general population. Multicultural consumers became the focal point, and forward-thinking brands responded by creating culturally relevant marketing that appealed to multicultural consumers. But the relationship between the brand and the multicultural consumer extends beyond the register to those running the register.
U.S. consumers adjusted their expectations last year as COVID-19, social injustice, and contentious presidential and senatorial races sent the country into a tailspin. Given the unprecedented disruption, the findings of our sixth annual ThinkNow Pulse™ Report, a national survey examining consumer sentiment across key demographics in the U.S., are especially relevant as marketers scramble to get a pulse on the post-pandemic consumer. Fielded in December 2020, Americans report worsened personal finances and a perception of a weakening economy, and the outlook for 2021 didn’t fare much better.
Latin American brands often feel overly confident in entering the U.S. market. Having experienced success in their home markets, they look to replicate that brand affinity north of the border, often using the same strategy that won at home. But, that affinity doesn’t always translate into a successful entry, especially when brands fail to realize and plan for the shift from a mostly homogeneous cultural group to a more diverse society composed of varied multicultural backgrounds, cultural influences, and behavioral drivers. The tendency of LatAm brands to target their core Hispanic constituency can cause missed opportunities to reach broader markets.
Spotify, Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon are some of the world's most successful tech companies. They all share a common denominator – a subscription-based business model that requires users to input personal information to opt-in. Once connected, users can stream their favorite music and movies, buy and sell in the online marketplace, and engage on social media. Each interaction creates data points that feed algorithms and appeal to advertisers. Similarly, today’s online sampling platforms are constructed from the data provided by subscriptions. Due to the high quantity of customer impressions available online, the insights gathered far surpass older, manual sourcing methods like cold calls and government-sourced lists. As technology continues to evolve, online sample providers will need to incorporate these platforms and other innovative web-based methods into their toolkits to stay competitive amid the uncertainty of a rapidly changing market. However, in my experience, there are a few essentials needed when building an online sampling platform that will not change no matter how much technology advances (at least for the next few decades). In Subscription-Based Models, Email is King. Email has endured the test of time and is almost always required when subscribing to any platform. While some marketers blast the masses via email, savvy marketers leverage email’s personalization capabilities to facilitate more individualized experiences. We see this play out as more companies shift away from transactional customer relationships to value-based ones that come with a monthly commitment and customized content. This is excellent news for the sample industry, which has come to rely on data from the tech giants (Google and Facebook) for panel recruitment. When creating an online panel, always give the person the option to subscribe with an email address. People are more
Bilingual and bicultural Latino Americans often serve as “digital sherpas,” or guides, for foreign-born family members who have yet to master the American ethos and language. Navigating the intersectionality of both U.S. and Latino value systems, these interpreters often inform brand and product purchases, search, and content consumption for friends and family members from an early age. These “digital sherpas” wield their authority at many points in their lives by influencing purchase decisions and demystifying new technologies and services.
2020 has been one of the most polarizing years in recent history. A global pandemic decimated the economy. The murders of Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd sparked a worldwide outcry for social justice. And the presidential election and ensuing calls for recounts and litigation gripped the nation while the world watched. All of these events culminated in a complex display of cultural dynamics that influence contemporary consumer attitudes and behavior. In our 2020 ThinkNow Year-End Report, we examine the effects of these influences through a multicultural lens to provide actionable insights on key consumer trends to watch heading into 2021.