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Based on what I heard Tuesday morning at a presentation by Burrell Communications and The Futures Company, who shared results of their study of multicultural millennials, the future is certainly bright. Consider these datapoints:

  • Millennials comprise a bigger cohort than the Boomers.
  • 40% of millennials are multicultural, i.e., African American, Hispanic or Asian.
  • The mixed race population grew by 32% betweetn 2000–2010.
  • Non-hispanic white are, literally, dying faster than they’re being born
  • Multicultural millennials are the trendsetters, the influencers.

Bottom line: Brands can’t win the future if they don’t win millennials. And they can’t win millennials if they don’t win multicultural millennials.

But to quote Kanye West, “It’s been like that for a minute, Hedi Slimane!” That is, we’ve seen this wave coming for sometime, especially since the 2010 census.

This is all great data, and definitely worth reading. However, here’s the more pressing question for those trying to build businesses and careers based on their insight and affinity with multicultural consumers: How do you unlock the dollars that should be flowing towards engaging this cohort?

When I worked on the Burger King business in the early aughts, it was known that African Americans accounted for 15% of BK’s bottom line. Did we get 15% of BK’s marketing budget? Hardly. In fact, BK operated under the widely-held assumption that they could be more efficient by reaching African Americans via general market dollars.

Apparently, except for a few instances–the presenters cited McDonald’s (the gold standard), Coke, and P&G as brands that allocated dollars in anticipation of the 2042 shift to a minority-majority US marketplace–most brands were still only doling out narrow slices of the marketing pie to their multicultural shops.

Yes, I understand that budgets are not allocated based on percent contribution to bottom line.  I get it.  However, given the importance of the audience(s), that certainly needs to change among a greater number of marketers (McDonald’s, Coke and P&G were cited as best-in-class in multicultural marketing by the presenters).

It’ll be interesting to see what traction both Burrell and The Futures Company get out of this. And by that, I mean beyond people saying, “This is really great research!” Yes, it’s well done research, as one would expect from the former Yankelovich. But if you want your company to be competitive, you’ve got to invest in it. Which means paying the key experts that are going to help drive your business growth.

Start the clock now, and let’s see how long it takes for more marketers to move in this direction.

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Posted by Rob Fields