Multicultural Marketing: What It Is (+ Free Audience Insights)

Drew Pytel

In 2020, there was a 61.1% chance that any two people picked randomly in America would come from different ethnic backgrounds. LGBTQ+ identification has ticked up to 7.1% from only 3.5% a decade earlier. 26% of Americans live with a disability, and yet only 1% of ads feature them.

America is diverse, and multicultural strategies are imperative.

Multicultural marketing is not just about running ads with diverse faces for target demographics but also about building and sustaining a brand people can trust.

Our research reveals the intricacies of various demographics. We explore multicultural strategies, including what drives African Americans, Asian Americans, and US Hispanics to spend and what brands must do to reach and engage these consumers.

What is multicultural marketing?

Multicultural marketing is about recognizing and celebrating the diversity within your target audience. It involves crafting marketing strategies and messages that resonate with people from different cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, acknowledging their unique perspectives, values, and experiences.

How to Craft Winning Multicultural Marketing Strategies

Crafting successful multicultural campaigns requires a thoughtful approach that prioritizes authenticity and inclusivity.

Many attempts at inclusivity miss the mark entirely because they lean into cultural stereotypes and shortcuts that make assumptions about different cultures. For example, some significant advertisers at the 2024 Super Bowl, like Uber Eats and Volkswagen, provided only generic DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) statements and featured mainly non-disabled, male, White actors.

To address the growing need for nuanced multicultural marketing strategies, we developed a model to create authentic campaigns that actually resonate with your multicultural audiences.

Step 1: Find Your Audience

To establish a successful multicultural marketing strategy, identify your target audience and determine the best channels to engage them. This involves analyzing First-Party (1P) data and supplementing it with Third-Party (3P) insights.

1. Analyze Your Audience with First-Party Data

Use data-driven approaches to analyze the ideal audience for your product or solution marketing. 

Employ tools to gather First-Party data. Use your own CRM (Customer Relationship Management) data to reveal who your current customers are. Conduct surveys and run focus groups to gain insights into the interests of multicultural audiences in your brand and its offerings, avoiding any guesswork.

Example: A skincare company targeting multicultural audiences could conduct online surveys to gather feedback on skincare preferences. Their research might reveal a Gen Z-dominated audience aged 18-28, showing keen interest in natural skincare products and favoring mobile shopping.

Tools & Data Sets to Use

  • Online Surveys: Use internet-based platforms to gather targeted feedback and participant insights through structured questionnaires.
  • Focus Groups: Conduct moderated group discussions with selected participants to explore consumer perceptions and attitudes toward your brand or products.
  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4): GA4 identifies your audience, their interests, and how they interact with your website.
  • Dstillery: Dstillery leverages First-Party data insights to offer precise audience segmentation and targeting.

What is a “good” multicultural marketing campaign?

“Successful and relevant multicultural marketing campaigns use data deterministically to reach a diverse audience through culturally appropriate 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.”

Account Manager, KORTX

2. Supplement Your First-Party Data

Enhance your understanding of your target audience by complementing your First-Party data with insights from Third-Party providers. Additional insights offer a more comprehensive audience view, further refining your targeting strategies.

Example: Using census data and additional 3P sources, an automotive brand uncovers that its target demographic consists mainly of middle-aged individuals aged 35-54, with a diverse mix of ethnic backgrounds and varying income levels.

Tools & Data Sets to Use

  • Census Data: Tap into demographic information provided by government census surveys, offering detailed insights into population characteristics such as age, ethnicity, income, and household composition.
  • Voter Registration: Access voter registration data to gain insights into political affiliations, voting behaviors, and civic engagement levels within your target audience.
  • PII-Compliant Data Sources: Utilize PII-compliant data sources to access valuable insights into individual preferences, behaviors, and purchasing patterns, thus maintaining consumer data privacy and security.

Step 2: Understand Your Audience

A thriving multicultural marketing strategy requires additional audience research and brand messaging.

Key Actions:

  1. Know the Culture: Conduct cultural research to understand your audience deeply.
  2. Craft Your Message: Create authentic messaging and creative content that resonates with your target audience.
  3. Sustain Your Efforts: Go beyond finding and targeting your audience; engage with them meaningfully to ensure your marketing efforts are relevant and inclusive.

1. Know the Culture

Use specific cultural data to understand the “why” and “how” behind specific data sets to provide context around family dynamics, sensitivities, religion, and other vital contexts.

Research the available data on sites like eMarketer, Nielsen, and Statista. These resources can provide valuable insights into multicultural communities’ demographic trends, consumer behaviors, and market preferences.

When researching, consider that different generations and geographic locations within multicultural audiences have unique preferences and media consumption habits. These habits will determine the creative messaging and targeting strategies used later.

Example: Generational & Geographic Differences in Asian American Consumers

Generational Insights:

  • Asian American Gen Z: Gravitate towards streaming platforms like YouTube TV, Apple TV, and Twitch, and use social media for networking and consumer decisions.
  • Asian American Millennials: Prefer media that reflects their diverse cultural heritage, are tech-savvy consumers, and enjoy a global perspective in their media consumption habits.
  • Asian American Gen X: Engage with a mix of traditional and digital media platforms, blending traditional values with Western influences, and are early adopters of new technologies.

Geographic Nuances: 

  • Asian American Audiences: In New York, Asian Gen Z might use Lyft and Reddit, while in Los Angeles, they prefer and Snapchat.

An example page of a KORTX Intelligence report on Asian American geographic nuances.

Tools & Data Sets

  • Partner with Minority-Owned Firms and Specialists: Collaborate with minority-owned firms and specialists to ensure cultural authenticity and expertise in your campaigns.
  • KORTX Intelligence: Leverage KORTX Intelligence for comprehensive market research, audience insights, and strategic recommendations through analysis.
  • Cultural Data & Research: Gather and analyze data on cultural behaviors, preferences, and trends to inform targeted marketing strategies.

2. Craft Your Message

Slapping cultural symbols and phrases across products or promotions isn’t enough to honor diverse cultures.

US Internet users expect brands to feature diverse individuals in advertisements (40%) and ensure ads and content are accessible to those with disabilities (39%). Failing to do so can harm your brand reputation, as seen in Dove’s lazy multicultural ad.

multicultural stats

Your messaging should reflect your target audience’s diverse cultural, generational, geographic, and inclusive nuances. Although this will vary depending on your target audience’s demographics, general principles to follow are:

  • Cultural Relevance: Using specific cultural data to understand the context around family dynamics, sensitivities, religion, and other vital contexts and how each demographic wants to be portrayed in media.
  • Visual and Linguistic Authenticity: Employ visuals and language that reflect the diversity of your target audience. Avoid stereotypes and ensure representation is genuine and respectful.
  • Inclusive Design: Ensure your ads and content are accessible to disabled people by incorporating features like subtitles, audio descriptions, and easy-to-read text.

This dynamic McDonald’s ad mockup offers both English and Spanish versions, automatically displaying in the user’s browser or mobile device language.

Example: A brand conducted research and found that 75% of images portray Asians with other races, and Asian Americans are over 10 times more likely to be shown in white-collar jobs than in blue-collar roles. Less than 1% of popular visuals include culturally specific aspects of Asian American life. 

Based on this, the brand decides to focus its ad creative and messaging by highlighting different skin tones, community connections, and a variety of interests beyond traditional roles while presenting Asian Americans within their communities.

✏️ Case Study Success: Home Depot Retool Your School
KORTX and The Home Depot’s partnership, driven by our multicultural expertise and audience targeting capabilities, achieved an average of 0.25% CTR and up to 0.49% in specific campaigns.

Why should marketers support minority-owned 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.”

Image Description

Founder & CEO, KORTX

Step 3: Sustaining Your Efforts

Successful multicultural marketing requires ongoing investment in diverse talent, authentic community engagement, and a commitment to social causes.

  1. Collaborate with Community Members: Work with local creators to inject personality into campaigns and tap into their communities.
  2. Consider Relevant Charitable Initiatives: Strengthen brand commitment by supporting social causes and involving consumers in decision-making.
  3. Hire Diverse Talent: Continually hire and retain diverse in-house talent who can authentically shape campaigns.
  4. Invest in Minority-Owned Partners: Collaborate with minority-owned firms to ensure cultural authenticity.

Brands like Nike and adidas are shifting their strategy toward more meaningful engagement with the Black community by prioritizing donations and internal projects over traditional marketing campaigns.

For International Women’s Day, KORTX helped Amazon with creative for a landing page for “Women at Work.”

📚 Related article: Multicultural & Diversity Marketing: 2024 Trends
Review inclusive multicultural and diversity marketing trends to refresh your strategy and stay competitive in 2024.

How can brands effectively engage with multicultural audiences beyond culturally significant periods?

“Brands must shift their focus from performative actions during specific months to genuine, ongoing engagement throughout the year. 

This means going beyond marketing for just Black or Arab American History Month. It means year-round multicultural support and strategies reinforcing authentic representation and active participation in community initiatives.”

Copywriter, KORTX

Building a Lasting Multicultural Strategy

Successful multicultural campaigns leverage data-driven insights and cultural research to craft relevant and respectful messaging. They employ visuals and language that genuinely reflect the diversity of their audience, avoid stereotypes, and ensure accessibility for people with disabilities. By genuinely committing to understanding and serving multicultural communities, brands can create meaningful connections that resonate and endure.

Avoid Superficial Multicultural Marketing. Hire Us.   

KORTX provides deep multicultural research, collaboration, and a true commitment to the communities you serve.

About the Author

Drew Pytel is a Senior Account Manager at KORTX. He has extensive experience researching and creating strategies for multicultural campaigns. He enjoys golf, bourbon, and being active with his wife and 3 kids.

Drew Pytel

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