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Multicultural Marketing: Bridging the Gap with Contextual Technology

The marketing landscape is evolving, driven by the rapidly changing demographics in the U.S. Today's consumers are culturally diverse, tech-savvy, and vocal about their needs and wants. Among them, to be represented authentically in advertising. For marketers, this requires a change in the paradigm, a move beyond general marketing strategies to embracing a multicultural marketing approach. Its effectiveness, however, hinges on the quality of the data driving the decisions.

Enter contextual technology. This powerful tool allows marketers to delve into the nuances of cultural identity and consumer consumption habits, including understanding specific media channels, content preferences, and purchasing behaviors of multicultural audiences. This granular data empowers marketers to craft targeted digital advertising campaigns that resonate deeply.

Artificial intelligence has impacted advertising, adding another layer of complexity as marketers navigate its use, contending with hallucinations and exploring unconventional sources of consumer insights, like synthetic data. But AI also brings about opportunities. By leveraging machine learning and rich contextual data, marketers can create hyper-targeted campaigns that speak directly to diverse demographics, such as Hispanic, Black, AAPI or LGBTQ+ communities.

Ultimately, embracing multicultural marketing with the support of contextual technology isn't just about driving sales; it's about building a future where everyone feels seen and valued in the media they consume.

In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, Tony Gonzalez, CEO & Co-Founder at Mundial Media, shares how contextual technology can build deeper connections with diverse audiences to drive brand engagement.

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The Growing Appeal of Asian Entertainment

Hollywood once dominated the domestic entertainment market, while foreign content had its niche in art houses and with ethnic broadcasters. That era has ended, and the fastest-growing entertainment segments are now coming from Asia. From Korean dramas (K-Dramas) to Bollywood, anime, and pop music, Asian entertainment is experiencing an unprecedented boom. But this didn’t happen overnight. This genre’s rise has been a steadily growing cultural force that, in the TikTok era, has captivated Americans of all ethnicities and backgrounds.

But what's fueling this phenomenon, and how is it changing how we consume media? To delve deeper into the increasing popularity of Asian entertainment among American audiences, ThinkNow tapped into our online market research panels and conducted a nationally representative quantitative survey of 2,000 adults, yielding intriguing findings.

Download the report here.

Consumer Habits

The internet, particularly the explosion of social media platforms, has been a catalyst for the proliferation of Asian media. These platforms offer a constant stream of bite-sized content that transcends language barriers. Compelling snippets of Korean Pop (K-Pop) dance routines, Japanese anime and Bollywood films have ignited curiosity among American audiences.

Japanese anime and Korean dramas are the most consumed content by 46% and 40% of Americans, respectively, followed closely by Chinese movies, Korean music and Bollywood movies. Gen Z is leading in consumption, with 62% consuming Japanese anime, followed by nearly 50% of Millennials who are also anime fans. In music, K-Pop reigns supreme, with 34% of Gen Z listening. Women, in particular, are driving the growth of both K-Pop and K-Dramas in the U.S. Their consumption of these two forms of entertainment surpasses male consumption by 10 percentage points each.

Asian Entertainment’s Appeal

So, what exactly is drawing audiences in? The answer lies in the unique appeal of Asian entertainment. For Asian Americans, the connection might be rooted in heritage or family ties, while others discover it through organic exploration on social media or through word-of-mouth recommendations. For the mainstream audience, the allure is multifaceted. They are attracted to the addictive nature of K-Dramas, with 53% stating that the storylines hook them.

Streaming Platforms

Accessing Asian entertainment is a challenge for some consumers. While streaming services have contributed to the diffusion of this content, 20% of consumers face difficulties accessing it, primarily due to limited availability on some streaming platforms. Netflix, however, remains the leading platform for video content, while Spotify and YouTube Music dominate the music scene. The survey reveals an emerging trend of viewers subscribing to multiple platforms to satisfy their Asian entertainment needs. A considerable portion of consumers expressed willingness to pay for a dedicated Asian content streaming service, particularly among Gen Z. As more platforms add Asian content, its consumption will likely increase among other key demographics.

Viewership Trends

Plot and storylines are the primary drivers of viewership, followed by genre and recommendations. However, the most significant takeaway is the overwhelmingly positive perception of Asian entertainment's influence on the broader market. Viewers across various ethnicities and age groups reported a sense of cultural connection and appreciation for the positive values often portrayed.

The Takeaway

As Asian entertainment continues to expand its global reach and influence, it is becoming increasingly clear that it’s not a passing trend. Music groups like Korea’s BTS and BLACKPINK, and series like Squid Game and anime/manga/games from Japan like Dragon Ball, Pokémon and Naruto as well as popular content from China, India, The Philippines and Malaysia promote cross-cultural understanding and are poised to create a lasting legacy of positivity within the media landscape. The future of Asian entertainment looks bright, with content poised to continue captivating American audiences as its availability grows.

Download your free copy of the report here.

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Financial Services Industry Strives to Navigate U.S. Latino 'Bothism'

Marketers often fall into the trap of binary thinking, hindering creativity and clashing with consumers seeking fluidity. While the industry has struggled to embrace bothism – the concept of merging seemingly opposing approaches for better results – multicultural consumers in the U.S., particularly bi-cultural Latinos, have fully adopted it. Many see themselves as American and Latino, not half and half, but 200%, wholly embracing their American and Latino identities.  

Honing in on the financial services sector, let’s explore cultural bothism among bi-cultural Latinos through the lens of language, age, and income to gain insights that can inform financial institutions' strategies to engage this diverse consumer group effectively. 

Language: Spanish vs. English 

When discussing how to reach Latinos, language tends to be the most polarizing topic. Traditional Spanish-language media portrays all Latinos as Spanish speakers, while newer media platforms targeting younger Latinos suggest otherwise. However, recent Pew Research data reveals a nuanced reality: 75% of all Latinos can proficiently converse in Spanish. Yet, this percentage varies significantly across generational cohorts, with second-generation Latinos at 69% and third-generation Latinos at 34%. Considering the youthfulness of the Latino population, with 25.7% of U.S. children being of Hispanic origin, 32% of Hispanics being under 18 and 26% being Millennials, it's evident that targeting specific generational segments is crucial. For financial products, the language strategy should be tailored accordingly: 

For immigrants, Spanish remains a safe bet. For Gen Alpha and younger Millennials, English is preferable. For older Millennials and Gen X, Spanglish can be effective when used authentically, as research indicates its power.  

Age: Older vs. Younger Latinos 

Marketers often highlight the youthfulness of the Latino population, with the median age at 30 compared to 41.1 for non-Hispanics. However, this demographic is also rapidly aging, with the number of Hispanic adults aged 65 and older nearly tripling since 2000 and projected to quadruple by 2060. This dual demographic reality presents unique challenges and opportunities, especially in financial services.  

Caregiving in particular is a significant concern, as Latino caregivers face financial strain while balancing work and caregiving responsibilities for both children and elderly family members. Financial institutions can address these needs through resources like multigenerational retirement planning workshops, multilingual financial education materials, customized financial products, the promotion of government assistance programs, and the provision of culturally sensitive advisors.  

Income: High income vs. Low Income Latinos 

In addition to language and age, income must be considered. Hispanic households had a median net worth of $52,190 in 2020, significantly lower than the $195,600 median for non-Hispanic households. Despite economic challenges, many Latinos still view the U.S. as offering more opportunities and better healthcare access than their countries of origin. Our research, the Millennial project, found that over 71% of Millennial Latinos believe in the American dream, compared to 55% of non-Latino Millennials.  

Homeownership represents a cornerstone of the American dream for many Latinos. In 2023, the Hispanic homeownership rate reached 49.5%, with a net gain of 377,000 owner-households. While facing barriers like rising interest rates and low inventory, Latino homebuyers remain resilient, utilizing co-borrowers and specialized programs to achieve homeownership.  

Financial institutions can assist Hispanic homebuyer hopefuls through accessible homeownership programs, community outreach and education, multigenerational financial planning, cultural competency training for staff and accessible financial resources. 

Navigating Latino bothism in financial services goes beyond the scope of these three examples, yet they serve as a framework for fostering genuine connections with Latinos. Marketers within the financial sector must transcend binary thinking and embrace the nuanced duality within this diverse consumer base, understanding how factors like language, age, and income shape their perspectives. By doing so, financial institutions can effectively tailor their strategies to meet Latino consumers’ needs and build meaningful relationships that drive long-term success. 

This blog post was originally published on MediaPost.

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The Importance of Hispanic Market Research: Hispanic Voices Matter

The Hispanic market is no longer a niche—it's a cultural and economic powerhouse. Forget the outdated stereotypes—today's Hispanic consumers are a diverse and influential group shaping trends and driving economic growth. Projected to reach a staggering 132 million individuals by 2050, Hispanics will be the nation’s largest demographic, wielding immense buying power that already surpasses 25% of dollars spent in the U.S.

To build authentic connections with this demographic, brands must prioritize Hispanic market research, exploring consumer attitudes, behaviors and preferences and unlocking valuable insights. However, traditional research methods often fall short, lacking familiarity with this community's diverse cultures, languages and experiences. A deep understanding of cultural values, consumption habits, and the strong family dynamics that shape Hispanic consumer behavior is crucial.

This is where online panels come in. These online communities consist of pre-recruited Hispanic consumers willing to participate in online surveys and focus groups. By leveraging online panels, brands gain access to a broader pool of Hispanic consumers, including those who may be difficult to reach through traditional methods like in-person surveys or geographically limited focus groups. This allows you to gather more nuanced and representative data, leading to a deeper understanding of each segment's unique needs, preferences and cultural influences.

Online panels present several advantages for collecting data from Hispanic consumers. Here are a few key reasons why they are especially effective:

  • Mobile-First Approach: Nearly 80% of U.S. Hispanic adults access the internet via their mobile devices. Online panels are optimized for mobile participation, making them convenient and accessible for this tech-savvy demographic.
  • Geographic Diversity: Online panels transcend geographic limitations, allowing you to reach Hispanic consumers across the country, including those in rural areas or with limited access to traditional research methods.
  • Targeted Recruitment: Reputable online panels offer diverse participant pools segmented by various demographics, including country of origin, generation, income level, and geographic location. This allows you to target specific segments of the Hispanic market for a more focused and insightful study.
  • Increased Response Rates: Online surveys within panels often boast higher completion rates than traditional methods, leading to a richer data set and more reliable insights.

By considering these factors and adopting a "mobile-first" approach in your panel design, you can ensure a representative sample that accurately reflects the diverse Hispanic market. Doing so empowers brands to develop targeted marketing strategies that resonate effectively with this influential consumer group.

Choosing the Right Partner

Including Hispanic voices in your research through online panels contributes to a more representative study, which mitigates the risk of costly marketing missteps.

ThinkNow is the preferred source for double opt-in Hispanic sample in the United States and Latin American countries, maintaining an online panel of over 1 million Hispanic panelists representing a diverse range of backgrounds, lifestyles and perspectives.

To learn more, reach out to us.

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The Pulse of American Voters: Insights from the 2024 Presidential Election Survey

Americans are gearing up to make their voices heard as the 2024 Presidential Election approaches. With only six months before ballots are cast, emotions are running high as the nation prepares for one of the most consequential elections in history. ThinkNow tapped into the pulse of likely voters with a nationwide online quantitative survey, uncovering the attitudes and trends shaping this pivotal moment in American democracy.

Download the report here.

A Diverse and Engaged Electorate

The survey, which reached 2,000 Americans and 1,443 likely voters, highlighted a significant level of engagement among various demographic groups. While approximately 80% of Non-Hispanic Whites, Asians, and African Americans expressed their intention to vote, around 70% of Hispanics indicated the same. Despite historical patterns suggesting a potential gap between reported intentions and actual turnout, the demographic differences align closely with past trends.

Not everyone, however, is interested in voting. Among the top explanations cited was the lack of appealing candidates, with Gen Zers exhibiting the lowest interest in politics overall. Furthermore, Baby Boomers and Non-Hispanic Whites were most likely to express dissatisfaction with the current slate of candidates.

Seven States Poised to Determine Election Outcome

One of the survey's most notable findings was the even split among likely voters between Republican and Democratic candidates. In pivotal swing states such as Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Michigan, Republican candidates held a clear edge, potentially tipping the scales in favor of the GOP. If actual voting results were to match current survey results, the Republican party would obtain the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. 

photo credit: 270toWin

Interestingly, if Michigan, with its 15 electoral votes, were to vote for the Democrats, they would retain the White House.

TV News Still Rules

When it comes to sourcing information about candidates, traditional media outlets such as TV news and news websites remain the primary channels for likely voters. However, social media and conversations with family and friends also play a significant role, particularly among younger demographics and certain ethnic groups.

Interestingly, the choice of information sources varied across swing states, reflecting each region's diverse media landscapes and campaigning strategies.

The Economy Takes Center Stage

Amidst a myriad of issues, the economy emerged as the foremost concern for likely voters nationwide. Healthcare, social security, and immigration also ranked prominently among voters' priorities, highlighting the multifaceted nature of electoral decision-making. Notably, Republican and Democratic voters exhibited divergent priorities, with the economy, immigration, and a strong military resonating strongly among the former, while healthcare and gun laws were top issues for the latter.

Furthermore, generational disparities on issues were evident, with Millennials prioritizing anti-poverty initiatives and LGBTQ+ rights. Gen Xers and Boomers, on the other hand, focused more on traditional concerns like abortion and national security. Gen Z cares more about student loan repayment than other groups by a wide margin. In swing states, variations in issue salience were observed, reflecting each region's unique socio-political landscapes and demographic compositions and the need to target messaging at the local level.

Challenges to Electoral Confidence

Despite the impending electoral showdown, concerns lingered regarding the fairness and integrity of the electoral process. Alarmingly, less than half of likely voters expressed confidence in the upcoming elections' fairness, with Republican voters exhibiting the highest levels of skepticism. Surprisingly, a substantial proportion of Hispanics voiced doubts about the election's fairness, underscoring the need for enhanced efforts to bolster confidence and transparency in the electoral system.

In Conclusion

As the 2024 Presidential Election approaches, the insights gleaned from ThinkNow's survey offer a snapshot of the diverse perspectives and priorities shaping the American electorate as they currently exist. Public opinion will certainly shift in the coming months, but these findings can provide valuable guidance for candidates, policymakers, and stakeholders navigating the intricacies of current American electorate. Ultimately, democracy is founded on the principles of participation and representation. With an evenly divided electorate, the outcome of the coming election will be determined by the enthusiasm each party can generate.

Download the report here.

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The Rise of Market Research in Central America is in Full Swing!

Understanding consumer trends and preferences through market research has always been important to marketers. But it's become a business imperative in today’s hyperconnected, competitive marketplace. While countries like Colombia, Dominican Republic, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Mexico have led the way in market research investment in Latin America, we must acknowledge the strides made in Central America, notably in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama.

What’s driving the growth?

Well, several factors are at play. The widespread expansion of the internet has opened up a wealth of data on consumer behavior and market dynamics, now easily accessible with just a few clicks!

Furthermore, the growth of the middle class in the region has generated more sophisticated consumer demands. With a population whose tastes and preferences are constantly evolving, companies must stay up to date. Market research insights are the compass guiding their journey.

Finally, the reduction in extreme poverty in recent decades has been a significant factor. This change has increased consumption and attracted greater domestic and foreign investment, creating a virtuous cycle where economic expansion fuels the imperative for deeper insights.  

How do you navigate the challenges?

Like any journey, navigating market research across LATAM has its share of bends and twists in the road. Access to representative samples of the online population remains an obstacle. Disparities in internet connectivity can skew research results, posing a hurdle to obtaining accurate insights.

As such, data quality is fundamental. With the vast amount of information available online, it is crucial to ensure that the data is reliable and accurate. After all, no one wants to make important decisions based on faulty information.

Additionally, there's an ongoing tug-of-war between traditional methods and online research. Convincing companies to embrace new technologies can be daunting, yet exploring all avenues is essential to paint a comprehensive picture of the market landscape.

What are the market research fundamentals?

First, find an experienced business partner with a track record of providing reliable and representative samples in Central America, like ThinkNow. In addition, instead of seeing online research and traditional methods as adversaries, inquire how both approaches can be integrated to attain a more comprehensive and precise understanding of the market.

Lastly, adopt a balanced approach. While the growth of market research in Central America presents exciting opportunities, sustaining this momentum and fostering its contribution to regional economic development requires addressing industry-wide challenges across LATAM. Collaboration between the public and private sectors is imperative to harness the potential of online research across the region.

References:

World Bank. "Central America: Investment and Economic Growth".

Latin American Institute of Market Research and Public Opinion (ILAM). "Report on the Growth of Market Research in Central America".

López, A. (2022). "The impact of the expansion of the Internet on market research in Latin America". Journal of Economic Studies, 15(2), 45-60.

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Revolutionizing Sports Fandom: Engaging Young Bilingual Latino Fans

In the dynamic landscape of sports fandom, one demographic stands out for its potential to reshape the future: young bilingual Latino fans. These individuals bring a unique perspective to sports, craving innovative ways to express their passion for the game. But that passion goes beyond the field to the experience, whether tailgating or engaging with brand activations. For brands to truly connect with these fans, they must seek to understand and cater to their needs, redesigning the fan experience to create a more inclusive and engaging community.

But what does that look like? Traditionally, sports fandom has been defined by loyalty to teams and players. But that’s evolving as bilingual Latinos navigate between cultures and languages. Understanding cultural nuances and generational differences within the Latino community can translate into higher ticket sales, greater demand for merchandise, and overall fan engagement for leagues.

Because of this, major sports leagues, such as the NFL and MLB, are increasingly embracing the importance of diverse narratives and communities within their fan base. Aside from drafting Latino players and sponsoring Spanish-language simulcasts, leagues and franchises successful at leveraging Latino fandom understand the elements of their sports entertainment offering that appeal to Latinos and invest in supporting those features.

Tapping into this demographic represents a substantial economic opportunity. With nearly 20% of the US population identifying as Latino and 40% considering themselves avid sports fans, there's immense potential for growth and innovation. However, capturing the attention and loyalty of young bilingual fans requires more than gestures like heritage nights, which can be perceived as performative if not integrated into a broader engagement strategy. Engagement demands a deep understanding of Latinos' cultural backgrounds and preferences and a commitment to authentic representation. Sports leagues must incorporate these insights into their growth strategies, ensuring the fan experience reflects the diverse communities supporting them.

In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, Jesus Chavez, co-founder and CEO of CABRA Sports, delves into Latino sports fandom, exploring the strategies and cultural insights driving the industry’s evolution.

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