More than half (56%) of marketers responding to a recent online survey confirmed that their companies are increasing their investments in digital media platforms for multicultural marketing purposes, reports the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

The online survey was conducted last July through September among client-side marketer members who were either personally involved in or knowledgeable about their organizations’ multicultural marketing efforts. Among the 90 respondents, 74% work in organizations that are primarily B-to-C, 63% work in organizations with annual revenue exceeding $10 billion (mean revenue was $31.7 billion), and 52% work in organizations with advertising budgets greater than $200 million.

About one-third (35%) of respondents reported that their companies are maintaining existing levels of spending on digital media platforms, and just 9% reported reducing such spending.

The percentages reporting spending more, the same and less on multicultural media as a whole were very similar (56%, 31% and 13%, respectively). The average spending increase reported for newer multicultural media was 11%, versus 9% for all multicultural media.

The survey adds to the growing evidence of newer platforms’ effectiveness for reaching and engaging in meaningful ways with multicultural consumers, noted ANA president and CEO Bob Liodice.

Still, multicultural marketers may not be spending enough on newer media (perhaps in part reflecting insufficient overall multicultural spending by many brands, points out ANA). Multicultural marketers reported allocating 6.6% of multicultural media budgets, on average, to newer media, whereas a 2009 ANA general-market survey showed 15.6% of those budgets, on average, being allocated to newer media.

Asked which newer platforms are used by their companies, 80% of multicultural marketers cited ads on third-party Web sites. Search engine marketing/paid keywords and email were next most-cited (72% and 70%, respectively), followed by search engine optimization (64%), mobile and social networks (each 59%), viral videos (55%) and video on demand (34%).

Virtually all of these usage levels have increased significantly over the past three years, with social networks showing the greatest increase (up 43 points, from 16%). However, the newer-media usage rates for general marketing purposes found in 2009 are still significantly higher than the rates reported for multicultural marketing purposes, across platforms, with one major exception: 59% of the multicultural marketers reported using mobile to reach multicultural consumers, versus 32% of marketers reporting using mobile to reach the general market in the 2009 ANA survey.

The reported usage patterns for newer media by multicultural marketers don’t necessarily directly parallel their effectiveness assessments. SEM and SEO were the newer media judged most effective by these respondents (cited as effective by 60% and 58%, respectively). These were followed by the organization’s own Web site (54%), video on demand (53%) and ads on third-party Web sites (50%). The top three metrics used for assessing newer platforms’ effectiveness are positive word-of-mouth (73%), purchase (70%) and “would recommend/forward to a friend” (63%).

Respondents confirmed that budgets for multicultural markets using digital platforms are allocated or shifted from multiple sources, including the media/marketing communications budgets for both multicultural and general markets and (to a lesser extent) incremental budgets.

Key barriers to employing or considering newer platforms in multicultural marketing include “loss of brand control” and “difficulty in getting multiple agencies to collaborate effectively on integration” (each cited by one-quarter of respondents), “senior management pushback” (21%) and “reluctance to move funds from tried-and-true practices of the past” (21%).

SOURCE MediaPost/Karlene Lukovitz

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