In today’s Sounding Off -Thought Leadership feature, Marketing and strategy professional Daniel Villarroel, until recently AVP Integrated Marketing at L’Oreal USA, talks about the need to rebrand “multicultural marketing” with the more modern terminology: “demographic targeting”.

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With the growing multicultural population in the USA, it’s time to “reimagine” how we reach these different targets because of short & long-term implications to the bottom line.

These efforts have traditionally been referred to as “multicultural marketing” but it needs to be rebranded with the more modern terminology: “demographic targeting”. This will allow it to be more easily understood to this next generation of workers (who are very multicultural) , better integrated into the marketing strategy and embraced by all from C-Suite on down.

Some facts:

  • 44% of Millennials (19-40 year olds) are Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Native American or other, i.e. mixed.
  • 49% of Generation Z (0-18 year olds) are also of varying ethnicities.
  • 50.2% of all new borns are now the minority-majority babies.
  • 12 of the top to US cities now have a minority-majority primarily driven by Hispanics.

Quite often, there are many arguments against demographic targeting that need to be examined. These may include:

  • It’s not necessary
  • Marketing teams nor agencies are staffed
  • It’s cost prohibitive
  • ROI cannot be measured

Let’s review each one:

It IS necessary for continued long-term brand growth:

  • The population statistics don’t lie (see above): the USA will continue to grow because of multicultural births in the USA.
  • Nielsen research shows multicultural consumers over-index on a vast array of products and services and in some cases they comprise a high percentage of super consumers: the top 10% of households who drive at least 30% of sales, 40% of growth and 50% of profit.
  • Nielsen research also shows that being different is interesting and cool, not something to be hidden as in past waves of immigration.
  • What stores are driving foot traffic and sales? (Ask your retailers.)

Marketing teams nor agencies are staffed for it:

descargaYour bottom-line is now dependent on finding, growing and retaining a diverse team, including (and especially) the marketing team.

  • Having a member of the marketing team designated as the multicultural guru was how it was handled in the past, if at all, but it’s now time for every marketing team member to be responsible for demographic targeting, from senior executives on down.
  • Recruitment is key to find diverse graduates and it should be easier than in the past, but some of the top business schools are still not reflective of the US population — consider schools you never considered before and make diversity of the student body a criteria to select schools where you recruit.
  • Consider mentoring programs to help diverse students acclimate and thrive in your company. They may be the first in their families to go to college and work in corporate America — they may need some friendly guidance.
  • Companies need to push their agency partners for a diverse team reflective of the US population, ESPECIALLY if targeting millennials and Generation Z.
  • The advertising world has been taken to task countless times for lack of diversity. Creative teams also need to be staffed with senior team members on down who can navigate and explain cultural insights.
  • If your media agency isn’t equipped to handle demographic targeting, find another agency.
  • Digital agencies are still evolving but this group especially must have the know-how to target demographically.

It’s cost prohibitive:

Have you or your agencies run the numbers?

It’s all in the approach: if you hire separate agencies to create a separate marketing strategy — creative (TV, print, digital, social), media planning & buying (TV, print digital) — then your overall strategy will be disjointed and cost more. Consolidate within your existing agencies and make demographic targeting a fundamental criteria in the briefing process.

Advertising (TV, print, digital) & Content: creative must be “inclusive” from ideation. If not, it will cost more to do additional creative work down the line.

The main shoot should accommodate all creative needs including other languages if needed.

Budget extra time; this and model costs are the additional costs on the shoot day. After the shoot day, editing and trafficking costs will be extra; however this is much less expensive than doing a completely different shoot.

Media: planning & buying teams must know all the nuances of all the partners that can help do specific targeting including the demographic composition of “general market” partners.


  • Most retailers know what doors attract specific demographic targets. What does the POS data tell you? These store locations are crucial for demographic targeting.
  • Nielsen and IRI can provide scan data by market, category, retailer and location.
  • Marketing Mix Analyses can help pinpoint which marketing levers are making the most impact.

A complete and reimagined effort starting in the C-Suite that cascades down across marketing, sales and research coupled with agency collaboration will provide the marketing nuances that will bring you higher engagement and brand loyalty across all targets. Guaranteed.

*data from US Census Data, Nielsen, Multicultural Edge: Rising Super Consumers March 18, 2015

Daniel Villarroel is an accomplished marketing and strategy professional having worked on powerhouse global CPG brands like Maybelline New York and Garnier in product development, advertising, digital, content creation, social media while additional expertise in demographic targeting as well as experiential and integrated marketing. He has also worked in the beauty business for other well-known companies like Revlon & Zotos International (div of Shiseido). Currently, he is a consultant for start up’s as well as established business and is also the pro bono Executive Director, Marketing & Social Media for Artz Cure Sarcoma.Villarroel received his MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and BBA in International Marketing from Bernard M. Baruch College.  A born and raised New Yorker, Dan now resides in Madison, NJ.

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