2014 was the year Total Market took the multicultural marketing world by storm. Agencies changed their mission statements to include this relatively new term, events capitalized on the buzz through re-branding of events to a more Total Market feel, and many weighed in on the meaning of Total Market and whether it will be a lasting trend or not.
As a market researcher in the multicultural and Hispanic space, I wanted to weigh in on the conversation but by the time I got around to it, it was already 2015 and I had other things on my mind like, what happened to the Large Hadron Collider?
Ever since the construction of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland was announced I was captivated by the idea of what would be discovered and at the same time, I had absolutely no idea what it was going to do or what it was meant to discover, yet the idea of over 20 countries coming together for the single purpose of discovery of the unknown was enough to get my interest.
This weekend I finally decided to find out what the LHC was all about and watch the Netflix documentary, Particle Fever. Now I finally have a basic understanding of what the LHC is trying to accomplish, in a nutshell, discovering the particle holding together our universe, the elusive Higgs boson.
At the crux of this documentary is a battle between two competing theories of the construction of our universe, the supersymmetry model and the multiverse model, both hinging on the theorized weight of the Higgs boson that the LHC could potentially discover. The supersymmetry model posits a beautifully laid out model of the construction of our universe, singular and predictable whilst the multiverse model presents a more disjointed view of our universe, multiple universes where our laws of nature may not be applicable, thus potentially barring us from ever understanding our origins and place in the cosmos.
As this cosmic battle was unfolding in front of me throughout the documentary my mind of course went to the even bigger questions, like will Total Market prevail in this New Year or will the traditional multicultural market model persist?
I couldn’t help but find the parallels in the two universal views presented in the documentary:
Total Market – an integrated approach to marketing that shifts away from ethnic-specific marketing, creating a super symmetry model of the marketing universe in which all pieces fit nicely together in a pattern easily digestible by agencies and end-clients alike.
Multicultural – a more siloed approach with each ethnic segment having a dedicated approach and agency in which the marketing laws of one group may not be applicable to the other, a marketing multiverse.
As a market researcher, I have no vested interest in either of these competing marketing world views winning but as I watched the documentary I was silently rooting for the super symmetry model to win. It is easily digestible, less work for my mind to process, orderly and clean. I think the same fundamental yearning for our minds to create order from chaos has led to the meteoric rise in the Total Market rhetoric to dominate 2014, it is clean, orderly, and easy for end-clients to digest in the sometimes disorderly world of multicultural marketing.
Yet, there will always be the persistent nagging of the “what if?” What if our universe is not one beautifully designed piece that fits together neatly? What if it is chaotic and we are never able to understand our place in it all? And the more important questions, what if multiple agencies with multiple points of view is the only way to reach a multicultural audience? What if we can never create an integrated model that eliminates the need for ethnic specific teams? The latter makes us uncomfortable, more work for our minds, less digestible but as Roosevelt said, “Theodore Roosevelt “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort”.
So where does that leave us in 2015? Which model will persist? I’m not sure, but I will leave you with the ending of the documentary SPOILER ALERT…the weight of the Higgs boson particle was found, and it ended up being a weight that left both models for the universe as a possibility, leaving more questions than answers.
This blog post was originally published on Total Market Views, where you can view other posts about marketing strategies from a professional market researcher's perspective.
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