I recently read a story about Rashida Jones and Kidada Nash, the adult daughters of Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton. Being both black and white, the sisters talked about the difficulties they have had growing up in a world that has tried to define them by one race or the other. It made me stop and think about three of my nieces, born to my white sister and her African-American husband.
In truth, I have not witnessed a single racially-charged moment when I've been with my nieces in public. And I think I know why: They grow up in a racially and culturally diverse neighborhood, near the college campus where their father teaches. A birthday party I attended for my eldest niece not long ago included friends from all walks of life, including a girl who is Mexican-American. Not only are American children growing up in a more ethnically diverse world than their parents or grandparents, but it's one that quickly is becoming truly multicultural.
But don't take my limited observations for fact. The U.S. Census Bureau recently released new population statistics and forecasts, noting that the country is indeed becoming more of a melting pot than ever. According to an article in USA Today about these latest stats, multicultural marriages now account for one in 15 marriages in the United States, where that figure was only one in 23 in 1990. Further, the Census projects an aging white population in comparison to a minority youth explosion.
For advertisers, it's become clear that promotions to younger groups must reflect their cultural and racial diversity. But for direct mail or e-mail, where the audience is more defined, companies will be challenged to address the unique values and attitudes of these increasingly blended markets.
Looking for clues on how to craft your multicultural marketing approach? Check out our Special Report on Multicultural Marketing, which begins on page 43. It contains an insightful article from Thomas MacDonald, executive director of marketing for TeleTech In Culture, who posits that in-depth market research is the way to go to be able to speak to any particular ethnic group's wants and needs. As you might expect, list selection for ethnic markets can take more work to find a quality source. Learn how the publisher of Black Enterprise magazine tackles its promotion obstacles in the case study, "Marketing to a Niche Within a Niche," on page 46. You'll also find in this special report statistics and charts that help define the spending power, language preferences and education attainments of different ethnic groups.