Multicultural Marketing in 2024: Change is Here, Opportunity Awaits

March 5, 2024 Author: Roy Eduardo Kokoyachuk

The past year has been a roller coaster ride for multicultural marketing practitioners. From the recent Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action to increased scrutiny of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, companies are carefully assessing how these factors will impact their multicultural marketing budgets. ThinkNow shares this curiosity and has recently surveyed corporate decision-makers in multicultural marketing and multicultural consumer research, aiming to understand how they are strategically navigating the current landscape.

Download the report here.

The short answer? Budgets are increasing.

Multicultural marketing budgets are on the rise. Two-thirds of respondents plan to maintain or increase their multicultural marketing budgets in 2024. The driving force? Opportunity. Recognizing the economic power of diverse consumers and demographic shifts, companies see multicultural marketing as a key growth strategy.

Among the reasons cited by the 31% of respondents who plan to increase their budgets are identifying new business opportunities, acknowledging cultural influence on their business, and a desire to better represent and impact diverse audiences.

  • “Audience business opportunity, cultural influence, growing audience representation and impact.”
  • “More budget available to multicultural marketing. Hispanic has historically been a priority. We're on the journey to increase focus with African-American and other cohorts.”
  • “Growing diverse consumer impact on business and sales.”

Additionally, respondents highlighted the importance of staying ahead of cultural trends and consumer behaviors to remain relevant and effective in their marketing efforts. This includes understanding the nuances of different cultural identities and tailoring messaging and campaigns accordingly. Companies recognize that cultural relevance is not only a matter of inclusivity but also a strategic imperative for engaging and retaining diverse consumer segments.

Interestingly, nearly 40% of respondents intend to maintain their 2023 budgets, indicating a continued commitment to multicultural marketing. This demonstrates a continued recognition of the economic significance of multicultural consumers and the importance of targeting this segment effectively.

Challenges and Cautiousness

However, amidst the optimism surrounding budget increases, there are challenges and instances of caution. Eighteen percent of multicultural marketing decision-makers plan to decrease budgets, citing general cost-cutting measures and clients shifting towards broader "general population" strategies. Among the reasons given by the minority who stated they’re reducing their budgets were:

  • “Budget cuts across multicultural marketing efforts and an increased desire from clients to hit 'wider' audiences; e.g., Gen Pop.”
  • “Less clients trying to target multicultural clients.”
  • “Lower post-COVID budgets.”

Moreover, there is a growing emphasis on accountability and measurement in multicultural marketing efforts. Companies are increasingly leveraging data and analytics to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaigns and ensure they are resonating with diverse audiences. This includes monitoring key performance indicators such as brand awareness, consumer engagement, and sales lift among multicultural segments.

Adapting Multicultural Marketing Strategies

Still, 1 in 4 companies are adapting their approach. The cost of “getting it wrong” has increased in recent years. No one wants to be in the position Budweiser was in after boycotts erupted in response to their partnership with a trans influencer. In response, some companies are taking a more cautious approach, while others are conducting more research before launching new campaigns.

Key Takeaways:

  • Multicultural marketing remains a strategic priority for many companies.
  • The economic power of diverse consumers is driving budget increases.
  • Uncertainty and cost-cutting pressures are impacting some budgets.
  • Companies are adapting their strategies to navigate the changing landscape.

What does this mean for the future? While challenges exist, the prevailing sentiment among many practitioners is that multicultural marketing represents a pivotal avenue for growth. Companies adept at strategically maneuvering through these changes and placing a premium on comprehending diverse consumer demographics will undoubtedly find themselves poised for success.