Q. If you think of where multicultural marketing was when you first started, and where it is today, what are some of the biggest changes that took place ?
The biggest change has been the role of digital and mobile channels in reaching the cross-cultural consumer. We have gone from trying to convince the brands to add it on to their traditional tactics, to now using those platforms as the foundation for the entire campaign. Two decades ago, there was still a technology gap between the mainstream audience and the cross-cultural audience. Today, the picture could not be more different, as we know Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans over-index in mobile and Internet usage in comparison to non-Hispanic whites.
Q. There are brands where reaching the multicultural consumer is a must add-on to the general market campaign, and there are brands where the multicultural consumer is the only audience. Having worked with both, do you have a preference?
That depends on the type of the ‘add-on’ campaign we are discussing. Years ago, a lot of brands approached ‘multicultural’ marketing from the diversity and inclusion standpoint. They thought that reaching out to cross-cultural audiences would ultimately build up their brand perception and throw in a few extra product sales. Today, reaching those audiences has become critical to driving growth and ROI, so the expectation of a cross-cultural ‘add-on’ campaign is on par with the general market one, if not higher. The margin of error has disappeared, and we are expected to be as skilled in marketing as our mainstream counterparts, but also possess a cross-cultural consumer insight. So, as long as the ‘add-on’ effort is given the same strategic support and push, and is viewed as a valuable asset to the overall result, that is just as valuable as implementing a campaign where the sole audience is the cross-cultural consumer.
Q. If not marketing, what would you be doing?
I would make a respectable psychologist. I’m a great listener. I like working with people, solving their problems, and I enjoy the dynamics of personal interaction. If not that, I would be running one of those gourmet French fry trucks.