When marketing to African American and Hispanic audiences, authenticity and specificity are key. Campaign tactics must not only be culturally relevant but must also speak to the diversity of demographics within each group. While traditional channels, like broadcast and radio, remain important, digital mediums are becoming increasingly vital to marketers seeking to connect with multicultural audiences and the segments within them.
Nielsen data shows that African American and Hispanic audiences are dynamic and engaged consumers in the digital marketplace. Often early adopters, both audiences have taken to wireless devices in strong numbers, with smartphone adoption among Hispanic and African American mobile subscribers at 50% and above, compared with 45% of the general market. One reason for this is the younger population base of both groups, with Hispanics and African Americans making up a larger percentage of the nation's youth. Also, as wireless devices get cheaper, cost-conscious segments seeking Internet access see these devices as viable alternatives to home broadband setups. As such, African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to access the Internet, send and receive messages via text or email, interact with social media, and produce or publish content using their mobile phones. Both audiences over-index in digital behaviors like tweeting and blogging, and consume more Internet video and mobile video than other markets.
So, we know that multicultural audiences are actively engaged in the mobile space, but where are the advertisers? A recent article in The Atlantic showed that while consumers spend as much as 10% of their media attention on their mobile devices, the medium only makes up 1% of total ad-spend. As multicultural experts, we see this as a lucrative opportunity to build relationships with multicultural consumers. Sure, digital-heavy campaigns can be a tough sell with some clients, but audiences are there, and savvy consumers are using the technology to connect with brands and reap the benefits of special offers. A recent Vision Critical study shows that African American audiences often use their wireless devices to tap online research and social networks for product recommendations before making a purchase. These consumers are also more likely to use their smartphones for comparison price-checking or redeeming e-coupons and online offers on the go. This is also true of Hispanic consumers, who over-index in downloading mobile coupons and sharing those offers with their family and friends through their social networks.
Marketers who can align culturally relevant marketing messages with consumers' natural digital behaviors will have a great advantage here. A good example is Procter & Gamble's Mis Quince, a Hispanic-targeted campaign for Cover Girl that seamlessly integrated culturally relevant messaging with social networking and mobile advertising. The bilingual campaign ran on up to 10 mobile web properties, including Univision and Elle Girl, and was extremely successful at reaching Hispanic consumers in a way that spoke to their multifaceted, bicultural, tech-savvy lifestyles.
Digital and mobile marketing provide ample opportunities to connect with consumers at key moments, with relevant and specific messaging that speaks to consumer needs in seamless and integrated ways. As brand loyalty is extremely high among consumers of color, marketers would do well to use these tools to build sustainable relationships as digital platforms grow and change over time.