The Shift from Multicultural Marketing to Total Market Strategies by Nicole Valentin
Two years ago Walmart made headlines in the advertising world by announcing it was eliminating multicultural marketing and embracing a “Total Market” strategy. We are now seeing several major advertisers such as McDonald’s, Coca Cola, and GM adopt this approach. While a total market strategy could be implemented in markets with a large percentage of African Americans or Asians; the term total market strategy was introduced as a method to integrate Hispanics into an overall marketing strategy versus developing a general market marketing plan and a separate multicultural (Hispanic) marketing plan. A total market strategy doesn’t just apply to advertising, it really includes everything from strategy to product development to packaging. 100% of the U.S. population growth in the next 10 years will come from Hispanics. It only makes sense to recognize Hispanics as part of the general market. However, it may not be that simple. Since the approach is relatively new, the definition is still pretty vague and some marketers are skeptical. Some are concerned that Hispanic consumers may be sensitive to the fact that a brand is not speaking directly to them. Through this blanketed approach, marketers may miss the mark in being culturally relevant and lack a connection to the Hispanic consumer. Gilbert Davila stated at the ANA Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference, “embrace a total market approach while still targeting individual demographics”. I agree with his statement 100%. We must have a more holistic approach in our marketing plans, while taking notice of cultural differences.