For the third time in eight years, the Association of National Advertisers has surveyed its membership about their multicultural marketing initiatives, and the results suggest that little has changed since the first survey was fielded.
Conducted by the ANA in partnership with marketing services firm ‘mktg,’ the 2008 multicultural marketing (MCM) survey is the third edition of the study, following earlier versions in 2002 and 2003.
Though the ANA has 370 members, only 74 marketers from member companies responded to this August’s survey. The findings mirror those of the first survey in 2002 in which 100 marketers from the 331 member companies responded.
Seventy-seven percent of survey participants have multicultural marketing initiatives, similar to the 78 percent that made the same claim in 2002. Sixty-six percent indicated that their company’s efforts have increased over the past few years.
Despite the continued growth and strategic emphasis, frustration among marketers remains high. Only 45 percent expressed satisfaction with the results of their MCM initiatives, compared with 57 percent in 2002.
“A focused multicultural marketing strategy is vital to building brand s and driving business growth,” said Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA. “Our research shows that multicultural marketing programs are growing and will continue to do so in the future. However, marketers are frustrated and concerned about program quality, with less than half expressing satisfaction with their firms’ efforts to date. There is substantial upside opportunity that can be tapped with the right investment strategies and with well- structured integrated marketing and accountability programs”.
Illustrating marketers’ frustration with multicultural marketing, participants noted a range of barriers and issues:
– 58 percent cited lack of adequate funding
– 45 percent pointed to insufficient internal support
– 34 percent noted inconsistent top management support
– 45 percent of respondents cited a lack of relevant metrics to measure performance
Only 22 percent of survey respondents said their firm had a high degree of knowledge and disciplined best practices. This includes the inability to consistently integrate MCM programs into the overall marketing mix.
Strategic approaches to multicultural marketing varied. More than half (57 percent) defined MCM as “narrowcasting” — creating separate messaging for distinct market segments and communicating via media that reaches multicultural consumers. This percentage is down from the last survey when 78 percent chose the narrowcasting definition.
Other definitions include “mainstreaming,” which repurposes general advertising approaches to appeal to MCM segments (11 percent), and the “translation” approach (10 percent), which simply translates general market materials for outlets catering to multicultural audiences.
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