Marketing to the New Majority: Strategies for a Diverse World

Marketing to the New Majority: Strategies for a Diverse World


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Marketing to the New Majority: Strategies for a Diverse World by David Burgos, Ola Mobolade

Today, diversity is the default, not the exception. "Minorities" are already the majority in some of the biggest cities in the United States, and demographers predict that the same will be true of the country as a whole before 2050. Yet companies continue to address the "general market" as a separate audience from ethnic consumers, rather than acknowledging that the new mainstream is itself multicultural. In addition, many who do target multicultural audiences still employ ad strategies that rely heavily on stereotypes and fail to resonate with minority communities. Here, David Burgos and Ola Mobolade look at the changed marketplace revealed in the new 2010 Census data, and show marketers how to develop integrated campaigns that effectively reach these culturally diverse consumer populations. Drawing on interviews with industry leaders and Millward Brown's vast database of consumer research, this book will be a roadmap to the opportunities and challenges of marketing to the new mainstream in a way that feels natural, respectful, and inclusive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780230111653
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 08/02/2011
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.22(w) x 9.52(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

David Burgos is Vice President of Millward Brown and the head of the Multicultural Practice at Millward Brown, one of the world's leading market research agencies. He is an industry expert in market segmentation, new product development, and brand and communications research across the U.S. and Latin America. David is the Co-Chair of the Advertising Research Foundation's Multicultural Council and a past recipient of the ARF's Great Mind Award for his contribution to the marketing research industry. A former professor, and co-author of the book, "Ciudad de los Reyes, de los Chavez, los Quispe," David speaks frequently about the changing face of multicultural markets at conferences and industry events. David holds an MBA from Esan University in Peru. He currently resides in the Chicago suburbs with his wife Adriana and two children, Lorenzo and Renata.

Ola Mobolade is managing director of Firefly Millward Brown, the company's qualitative research division. Her clients include dozens of industry powerhouses.

Read an Excerpt

Marketing to the New Majority

Strategies for a Diverse World

By David Burgos, Ola Mobolade

Palgrave Macmillan

Copyright © 2011 Millward Brown
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-230-33885-2


Majority Minority

You most likely already knew it, or at least felt it when walking down the street in your neighborhood, but the 2010 census just made it official: The United States is a multicultural nation.


The number of racial or ethnic minority persons living in the United States in 2010.

This figure represents 36% of the total population, or roughly 1 in every 3 people, broken down as follows:

• Hispanics or Latinos: 50,477,594, or 16% of the population

• Blacks or African Americans 37,685,848, or 12% of the population

• Asian Americans: 14,465,124, or 5% of the population

• Other races: 3,332,939, or 1% of the population

• Two or more races: 5,966,481, or 2% of the population

Put another way, there are more Hispanics in the United States than Canadians in Canada, Malaysians in Malaysia, or South Africans in South Africa. If they were a country, Latinos in America would be the second-largest Hispanic nation, right after Mexico and before Spain, Colombia, and Argentina. As a nation, Blacks or African Americans would be the 35th most populous country in the world, after Poland and before Algeria. More Arabs live in America than in the Gaza Strip in the Middle East.

In addition to the racial and ethnic groups mentioned above, there are close to 8 million White immigrants in the country, many of whom come from Eastern or Southern Europe. While Caucasian in race, these immigrants do have distinct cultural backgrounds that are often overlooked by the business community and society at large. If this group were counted along with the groups previously mentioned, the US ethnic segment would swell to 38% of the total population.

Within the population under 18, the pattern is even more pronounced. Racial and ethnic minorities comprise more than 50% of this group when foreign-born Whites are included (see figure 1.1). Hispanics and Blacks represent 23% and 14% of this population respectively; Asians stay at 4% and this proportion of multiracial children jumps to 4%.

While the influence of ethnic segments is still strongest in the traditionally multicultural markets of the West, South, and East, it's no longer limited to the largest metropolitan areas. Ethnic consumers are gradually expanding to the Central and Northern regions of the country and to smaller urban centers, as the statistics cited below demonstrate.

Key areas in the United States that are already "majority-minority" include:

• The two largest US states: California (60%) and Texas (55%), plus Hawaii (77%) and New Mexico (60%)

• The two largest metropolitan areas: New York–Northern New Jersey–Long Island (51%) and Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana (68%), plus Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown (60%), Miami Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach (65%), San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont (58%), Las Vegas–Paradise (52%), Memphis (54%), Washington DC–Arlington–Alexandria (51%), San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos (52%), and several smaller urban centers

• 28 of the 50 most populous US counties, including the largest three: Los Angeles County in California (total population of 9.8 million, 72% ethnic), Cook County in Illinois (total population of 5.2 million, 56% ethnic), and Harris County in Texas (total population of 4.1 million, 67% ethnic)

Those areas on the verge of becoming majority-minority, with ethnic populations in excess of 40%, include:

• States: Nevada (46%), Maryland (45%), Georgia (44%), Arizona (42%), Mississippi (42%), Florida (42%), New York (42%), New Jersey (41%), and Louisiana (40%)

• Metropolitan areas: Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington (50%), Atlanta–Sandy Springs–Marietta (49%), New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner (46%), Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos (45%), Chicago–Naperville–Joliet (45%), Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford (47%), Durham–Chapel Hill (45%), Phoenix–Mesa–Glendale (41%), and Sacramento–Arden–Arcade–Roseville (44%), and several smaller urban centers

• Counties: 7 more of the top 50 US counties: Travis and Tarrant Counties in Texas, Mecklenburg County in North Carolina, Hillsborough County in Florida, Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, Fairfax County in Virginia, and Pima County in Arizona.

Among the areas where ethnic segments grew by 50% or more between 2000 and 2010 are:

• States: Nevada (78%), New Hampshire (68%), Maine (66%), Utah (65%), Idaho (63%), Iowa (60%), Minnesota (54%) and Vermont (52%)

• Metropolitan areas: Sioux Falls, South Dakota (110%); Pocatello, Indiana (76%); Fargo, North Dakota (84%); Saint Joseph, Missouri (94%); Orlando–Kissimmee, Florida (74%); Madison, Wisconsin (72%); Providence–New Bedford–Fall River, Rhode Island–Massachusetts (66%); Columbia, South Carolina (61%); and Duluth–Superior, Minnesota–Wisconsin (69%); and other urban centers

• Counties: 915 counties (almost 30% of all the counties in America), including Martin County, Kentucky with the largest growth (746%); followed by Forest County, Pennsylvania (722%) and Gilmer County, West Virginia (677%)

Even for a country that has long thrived on immigration and prided itself on diversity, these numbers are surprising. And the ethnic mingling of the United States will surely continue, as demonstrated by these snapshot facts:

• Eighty-three percent of people in the United States report atleast one foreign ancestry. The top five are German (51 million), Irish (37 million), English (28 million), Italian (18 million), and Polish (10 million).

• Ethnic segments make up 40% of the population in urban America and 18% in rural America. Racial or ethnic minority populations are present in every US county.

• Two Hispanic surnames, Garcia and Rodriguez, are among the top ten surnames in the United States.

• Eighty-three of the 435 members of the United States House of Representatives are minorities (44 African Americans, 30 Hispanics, and 9 Asian Americans). Keith Ellison from Minnesota is the first Muslim American elected to the House.

• The multiracial population grew 19% between 2000 and 2010 and is expected to grow by 194% between 2010 and 2050.

• Every hour, 114 Hispanic babies are born in the United States. During the same hour, 253 non-Hispanic White babies, 70 Black babies, and 29 Asian babies are also born.

• By 2025, more than half of the families with children in the United States are expected to be multicultural.

• By 2042, the United States is expected to become a majority-minority country. By 2050, ethnic segments (defined by the census as everyone except non-Hispanic, single-race Whites), will make up 54 percent of the US population.

• Minorities owned 21% of all non-farm businesses in 2007, a 46% increase from 2002.

The population and macro-economic figures and trends discussed before are indisputable. The United States is already a multicultural nation, and its future growth will primarily come from ethnic segments, especially Hispanics or Latinos. The business implications of this "new normal" a re enormous. To stay relevant to consumers now and in the future, brands need to rethink the way they do business in America. Catering to minority segments is no longer just a matter of developing nice niche markets. Ethnic consumers have become an integral part of the so-called general market or mainstream, and are truly reshaping it. Brands must make ethnic segments an integral part of their overall business strategies if they want to remain viable and grow.


The United States has always been a nation of immigrants. The growth of ethnic segments did not happen overnight, and it's certainly not slowing down. While marketers usually focus on the most recent immigrant segments—Hispanics, Asians, Middle-Eastern Muslims or Blacks coming from Africa or the Caribbean—let's not forget the many others that came before them. According to the US Census Bureau's historic records, there were close to 12 million European immigrants living in the country in the years before America's entry into World War II. They represented more than 80% of the country's foreign-born population at that time (see figure 1.3).

Today, of the approximately 83% of the population that reports at least one foreign ancestry, the vast majority cite a European origin. The top three European ancestries reported are German (51 million), Irish (37 million), and English (28 million). Migration from these countries took place mainly during the last decades of the nineteenth century. The fourth- and fifth-largest European ancestries are Italian (18 million) and Polish (10 million); the largest immigrant waves from these countries occurred during the first half of the twentieth century.

These are substantial figures. However, businesses in the United States tend to be indifferent toward the potential these segments represent. They feel that because European immigrants and their descendents are White or Caucasian, their experience is the same as the general population. Although this assumption probably holds true for the generations born in the United States, it does not always apply to the foreign- born groups or their children.

During the Italian immigration boom, companies seemed to understand this well. They developed many initiatives targeted to this segment, especially on the media front. As Jeff Topping wrote in The Italian Tribune:

By the 1920s, several major cities had Italian-language newspapers: Philadelphia, Il Popolo Italiano and L'Opinione; Boston, La Gazzetta del Massachusetts; and San Francisco, Il Corriere del Popolo. However, the best known by far was New York's Il Progresso Italo-Americano, then America's largest circulated Italian-language daily ... Italians anywhere who read [Il Progresso ] were greatly influenced by national issues as well cultural and social issues of concern to millions of Italians who had made America their new home.

Rarely do we see any European immigrant group catered to in this way today. That's because more recently, as figure 1.3 shows, the most dramatic growth in immigration has come from Latin America and Asian countries. In the past four decades, the number of foreign-born persons from those regions has increased 368% and 320%, respectively! While the size of this population alone is a clarion call to action for businesses, the speed at which the ethnic makeup of America is changing heightens the urgency of their response. In the twentieth century, it took more than one generation of business leaders to witness and fully assimilate the cultural shifts that occurred as a result of European immigration. But thanks to the rapid pace of change today, businesspeople who began their careers as late as the 1990s have already witnessed the transformation of the Hispanic market from a small national minority to an actual majority in many parts of the nation. Business professionals who started their careers in the 2000s will likely experience a similar phenomenon with the Asian segment.


Immigrants are not the sole source of ethnic growth in the United States. The American-born minority population plays a huge part as well. In fact, the consensus among demographers is that most of the ethnic growth in the coming years will come from the children and grandchildren of immigrants. We analyze this in the following section, but first, let's look at the impact that the Great Recession of the late 2000s had on immigration rates.

Immigration in Times of Recession

In the late 2000s, multicultural marketing pundits responsible for the ethnic business in their companies became unsettled by reports of a slowdown in Hispanic immigration as a result of the economic downturn. Their concern was exacerbated when the debate over illegal immigration took center stage in the political sphere. Many feared that Hispanics would start leaving the country in the wake of the controversy. As researchers, we felt the concern firsthand when marketers started asking us whether we would continue interviewing Latino consumers face-to-face in the malls of Phoenix, the city that was at the epicenter of the illegal immigration controversy. "Can you still find Hispanics there?" they asked.

As it turns out, there is no shortage of Hispanics in the malls of Phoenix. But the economic downturn that began in late 2007 did have a real impact on immigration, especially within the undocumented segment, whose members are likely to be more mobile than their legal counterparts. Figure 1.4 shows estimates of the number of undocumented Hispanic immigrants who entered the country between 2000 and 2009. There is a clear turning point in the years 2007 and 2008, when the worst of the recession hit. Hispanic unauthorized immigration has continued to decline since then.

Although there are many macro- and microeconomic factors at work, the trend shown in figure 1.4 is fairly straightforward: People go where opportunities are. Opportunities during the recession years were scarce in the United States, even for the local population. Logically, undocumented immigrants also felt the impact of the downturn, and since the situation was not as dire in some Latin American countries, many may have decided to stay put, or go back—at least for now.

Given that the Great Recession has differed qualitatively from other economic downturns that the United States has witnessed, it is hard to predict what will happen with immigration in the future. Some are saying that things have changed forever, while others predict that immigration levels will bounce back once the waters are calmed. We're not economists, but based on our knowledge of Hispanic consumers, we believe they will return.

Additional data from the Pew Hispanic Center supports our position. Figure 1.5 tracks the flow of immigrants from Mexico to the United States versus the US employment rate. As you can see, both lines track very closely to each other, demonstrating that immigration goes up when employment in the United States is up and declines when employment is in short supply. Obviously, this trend may be affected by conditions in Latin America in the coming years. Countries like Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Peru have been doing particularly well lately. This might discourage people from emigrating, at least in the near future.

The Bicultural Revolution

Sixty-three percent of the US Hispanic population and 33% of Asian Americans were born in the United States. That is more than 30 million and 5 million people, respectively. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of African Americans were born in the United States as well: 92%. These figures clearly indicate that most of the growth that the ethnic segments will experience in the coming years will indeed come from their US-born members.

Figure 1.6. shows the US-versus-foreign-born ratio among Latinos and Asians, grouped by those under 18 years and those 18 years and over. As expected, the vast majority of kids are American-born in both cases. The numbers confirm that these young people will lead the growth of the ethnic population in the decades to come—they are the consumers of the future.

As we will discuss in more detail in a later chapter, ethnic young people who were born in the United States are more likely to be bicultural, or even multicultural, in terms of taste and lifestyle. They grow up surrounded by the American culture, but are still very much influenced by their parents' heritage and that of the many other races or ethnicities they interact with on a daily basis. The children of nineteenth- and twentieth-century European immigrants tended to let their immigrant identities fade over time; the young people in today's ethnic segments are less likely to do that. Two factors contribute to this dynamic: (1) the actual size of the ethnic segments, which are no longer tiny minorities; and (2) the fact that the general population itself has become more receptive to the idea of multiculturalism. Instead of ethnic segments assimilating into American culture as they historically have, they are reshaping it. Because of multiculturalism, both ethnic segments and the general population are changing; that is one of our primary reasons for writing this book.


Now that we know how we got here, let's take a look at where we are going as a nation. The demographic shift underway in the United States is unstoppable. The country will become a nation of minorities at some point during the first half of the 2040s, as seen in figure 1.7.

At this time, non-Hispanic Whites will take the place Hispanics currently hold as the largest minority of the country. By the year 2050, it is expected that there will be 203 million non-Hispanic Whites, 133 million Hispanics, 52 million Blacks or African Americans, and roughly 33 million Asians (see figure 1.8). Chinese and Indian segments will remain the majority within this group.


Excerpted from Marketing to the New Majority by David Burgos, Ola Mobolade. Copyright © 2011 Millward Brown. Excerpted by permission of Palgrave Macmillan.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Majority Minority
Diversity within Diversity
Beware the Ethnic Silo Trap
A Brief History
What Companies are Doing Now
To Target or Not to Target
Intelligent Targeting
The Future (Is Now): Embracing the New Majority
The Multicultural Opportunity Abroad

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