30 Seconds With: Lura Hobbs

Lura Hobbs
Vice President of Account Services, TMA Multicultural

Q: According to   a recent article in the National Journal , “no longer can American businesses get away with chasing a single group of consumers—that is, whites. Large or small, white- or minority-owned, corporations will need to create new products and pursue segmented marketing strategies." Understanding that this isn't exactly earth-shattering news, what changes do you see brands making in terms of targeting multicultural consumers?

A: Minorities are the new majority – nearly 40% of the U.S. population doesn’t fit the “Cleaver” stereotype that made marketing in the 60’s so easy. Pair that with the mass clutter of the media landscape of most homes having over 100 channels, internet, smartphones and other wireless devices, and it’s clear that the marketing plan of the future is really complex.

Successfully reaching consumers, regardless of what their cultural heritage, is about relevance. Brands have to find deep-seeded insights that reach consumers on an emotional level. It’s not enough to just place a diverse cast in an advertising spot that is based on insights from one cultural perspective. The era of translating a “general market” spot is over. Consumers recognize brands that are speaking to them directly versus those that are speaking to them on a tertiary level.

With shrinking brand marketing budgets and more diverse consumer groups to reach, one of the ways to reach different segments is online. African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Gay/Lesbian and Hispanics have distinct online meeting points that brands can intersect with culturally relevant and insight-based communications. Hispanics and African Americans overindex in smartphone purchasing and usage – this is another cost-effective way to target these key groups with targeted communications. Television doesn’t have to be the starting point for a consumer conversation anymore. There are more targeted, less expensive routes to take.

The changing cultural landscape of the country is exciting. It will require all of us in the marketing discipline to think about the best medium for each consumer segment and the best way to start an engaging conversation.

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