Multicultural Marketing Maturity Framework: Reaching Diverse Audiences

Crystal Foote

Brands not exploring ways to market to diverse, inclusive consumers are doing their business and customers a disservice. According to iProspect, 93% of marketers believe that inclusive marketing is vital for business. Why, then, is only  5.2% of total ad spend allocated for Multicultural media spending? This lack of focus and dollars showcases an ongoing failure to conduct Multicultural marketing campaigns regularly. Often, these campaigns are treated as a one-time project or experiment rather than a core part of a marketing program. In 2022 and beyond, brands need to add Multicultural marketing strategies as a core pillar of their programs. 

This focus will quickly lift your brand and build ongoing relationships with customers. According to Facebook, 59% of people claim to be more loyal to brands representing diversity and inclusion in their online advertising. Multicultural marketing is not just about running ads with diverse faces for target demographics, it is also about building a brand people feel they can trust. 

Inclusive ad campaigns are the first step to creating impactful, Multicultural campaigns. Equitable representation in marketing teams and positive community impact are the pillars of a brand’s genuine involvement with Multicultural audiences.

What is Multicultural marketing?

Multicultural marketing is creating campaigns, advertisements, and other marketing strategies designed to target and reach a diverse audience through culturally relevant creative tactics or messaging through the proper channels. 

What is a “good” Multicultural marketing campaign?

Successful and relevant Multicultural marketing campaigns use data deterministically to reach a diverse audience through culturally relevant and authentic messaging. Furthermore, the most successful campaigns are created by brands who authentically engage with the community beyond marketing by hiring diverse talent and giving back to the community.

✏️ Case Study: Home Depot Retool Your School

KORTX and The Home Depot have established a successful partnership that highlights community support throughout the program’s entirety. KORTX’s team of digital experts, coupled with our Multicultural expertise, continues to generate program participation through a media strategy comprised of Cross-Platform Display and Native ads. Since 2020, KORTX has supported Retool Your School’s initiatives from the very first step of building program awareness all the way through to the winner announcement ceremony.

Multicultural Marketing: Campaign Maturity Model

The remainder of this article will discuss the Campaign Maturity Model KORTX uses to help diagnose a marketing strategy or program. This framework pinpoints where tactics can be improved and expanded upon. 

Creating a well-rounded marketing campaign geared toward a Multicultural audience isn’t that much different than marketing authentically. Still, there is a critical nuance to follow. We’ve all seen marketing attempts to be inclusive that miss the mark entirely. This model helps provide context and guidance on creating an authentic campaign.

Stage 1: Find Your Audience

The first step to a thriving Multicultural marketing program is discovering the audience you’re hoping to reach and researching the places to reach them. This can be split into two core steps: target and reach.

Discovering Your Target Audience

When deciding who to market your products or solutions to, data should always be utilized to accurately portray your target audience. Instead of guessing, use tools and data such as focus groups and surveys to understand what Multicultural audiences are interested in your brand and brand offerings. 

Tools & Data Sets to Use

  • Online Surveys
  • Offline Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • Current Brand Sales Data/Other Owned First-Party Data

Example: Hispanics’ spending power is felt most in categories such as groceries, shoes, clothing, and cellphone services. Hispanics will account for 34% of growth in apparel spending in the next five years, exceeding $48.85 billion in future revenue.

Hispanic buying power rising in US, bolstering consumer sectors, eMarketer, December 2021

Hispanic buying power rising in US, bolstering consumer sectors

Reach Your Target Audience

Once your core audience or target demographic has been chosen, it is essential to supplement this data with further information. Layering on additional data from Third-Party providers will help you discover how to reach your audience deterministically. 

Tools and Data Sets

  • Census Data
  • Voter Registration
  • Contextual Information
  • PII-Compliant Data Sources

Example: LGBTQ+ respondents find streaming content to be the most inclusive of their identity group compared to other media platforms. – Streaming is the most inclusive media platform for LGBTQ+ community, Performance Marketing World, 2022

 📍Need a little help finding your audience or reaching an intended minority audience? Check out our Multicultural Audience Guide.


Stage 2: Know Your Audience

The second stage of creating diverse and inclusive campaigns digs deeper into audience research and brand messaging. A true Multicultural marketing campaign does not just find and target the intended audience. In addition to compiling this research, marketing teams must also work to get to know their audience and how they would be marketed. This includes conducting cultural research and creating authentic messaging and creative.

Know the Culture

Once you’ve discovered your core audience, layer qualitative research atop your plans to reach customers. During this stage, marketers use specific cultural data to understand the “why” and “how” behind certain data sets to provide context around family dynamics, sensitivities, religion, and other vital contexts. 

Tools & Data Sets

  • Cultural Data & Research
  • Hire Diverse Talent for Teams
  • Partner with Minority-Owned Firms and Specialists

Example: Driven by the belief that sport belongs to everyone, Adidas is committed to celebrating all women in sport and ensuring more inclusive spaces for female athletes around the world with the SPORT HIJAB 2.0 collection, the brand takes another step in this direction and enables women to access sport without compromising on faith, freedom or movement.-Adidas Brins South African Hijabi Athletes Together, Community Beyond, 2021, 

Crafting Your Message

Knowing your audience and communicating correctly with your audience are the most essential components of a successful Multicultural ad campaign. Reaching your audience but not ultimately authentically speaking to them can make your campaign fail and lead to issues with brand reputation. Hiring or partnering with diverse or minority-owned creative teams is imperative to guarantee authenticity. This will allow you to employ authentic messaging that speaks directly to your Multicultural audience through the use of Multicultural talent. 

Avoiding stereotypes of insensitive imagery in creative is crucial. As of 2021, 66% of African Americans and 53% of Hispanic Americans felt their ethnicity was still portrayed stereotypically in advertisements. 

Tools & Data Sets:

  • Partner with Minority-Owned Firms and Specialists
  • Hire Diverse Talent for Your Team

Example: State Farm Insurance’s Smart Living and Intuition campaign targets the growing Asian-American market with spots built on cultural insights around Asian Americans’ tech savviness and family dynamics.

💬 Supporting Minority Businesses 💬

“Supporting minority-owned businesses not only provides exceptional but often untapped talent. It also offers upward mobility to underserved communities held back simply due to a lack of opportunity.”

Damon Henry, Founder & CEO, KORTX

Step 3: Inclusive Ways of Working

Ultimately, truly authentic and successful Multicultural messaging and marketing will be crafted by creators that represent the intended audience. Data, research, and interviews will only provide a base level of insight. Companies need to hire and invest in diverse talent for companies to be successfully inclusive brands. This includes hiring and retaining in-house talent that can help shape campaigns. It also includes investing in minority-owned technology and partners.

A recent article from Digiday highlighted that while spending on black-owned platforms and publishers has increased over the past few years – it has not come with a solid, consistent investment in their platforms. Black-owned businesses are continually turned down or ignored for business loans, investments, or marketing funding. Truly inclusive brands will take part in closing the gap in spending. If not, your brand will continue to contribute to the resource gap. A true Multicultural marketing team does not just use these resources when convenient; they invest in the resources in an ongoing way.

Tools & Data Sets

  • Inclusive Hiring Practices
  • On-Going Partnerships with Minority-Owned Firms and Specialists


How do you build a Multicultural marketing strategy?

Successful Multicultural marketing campaigns ensure that cultural data (quantitative and qualitative) is used during every step of the process. Do not rely on assumptions or perceived data. Instead, marketers should reach out to diverse hires and partners to be part of the process on day one. These campaigns locate their audience, know their audience, and craft authentic, thoughtful messaging and campaigns.

KORTX Can Help! 

Looking to hire a team with Multicultural marketing experience? Contact us today!

About the Author
Crystal Foote is currently a Senior Sales Director & Multicultural specialist at KORTX. She is also on the Digital Marketing Advisory Council Member at The George Washington University and a Judge for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) 2022 Multicultural Excellence Awards.

Crystal Foote

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