Demographics in the United States are changing rapidly. According to the Washington, D.C., think tank Urban Institute, by 2030 nearly everywhere in the United States will be more Hispanic and less white, with the percentage of blacks projected to rise in some places and decline in others. As for Asians, American Indians, Alaska Natives and multiracial individuals, their share of the pie chart is expected to rise as well, particularly on the coasts.
These changes will necessitate a major shift in how brands conduct their marketing. That's according to Jeffrey L. Bowman, author of "Reframe the Marketplace: The Total Market Approach to Reaching the New Majority." Here's what he says you need to do differently if you want to sell to the new untapped markets these burgeoning demographics represent.
1. Learn a new marketing language.
Historically marketers have separated their audience into two segments: the general (white) market audience and the multi-cultural audience opportunity. From here on out, smart brands will begin thinking about their audience as a broad, cross-cultural group, using technology such as customer relationship marketing (CRM), social media and mobile channels to celebrate the things that people have in common.
2. Resize the opportunity.
You need good data harvested from large samples of Hispanics, blacks, Asians and multiracial people to determine what kind of growth you can garner from these growing segments of the population.
3. Make sure you have the right talent and strategic partners.
If you're going to effectively market to and serve a new audience, you'll need people within your organization who represent and understand it. Also, you'll need to cast a wider net when it comes to the agencies, vendors and suppliers you hire. Are they thinking in terms of what Bowman calls the "new majority" or are they still separating out a "minority" bucket to address diversity, if they do at all?
4. Be prepared to have new kinds of experiences.
Do you know how to talk to cross-cultural millennials on social media? Or how will you dialogue with the generation following millennials? You'd better start thinking about it-these young people will be the most diverse generation in the U.S., ever.
5. Consistently measure the effectiveness of your marketing investment.
A portion of your marketing dollars must be earmarked to measure your return on investment. But do it by starting on the inside first. "Assessing the current employee pool to ensure the right talent is in place, armed with the knowledge of-and equipped with the right tools and resources to meet the needs of-the new marketplace, offers a winning foundation for market relevance, business growth, and sustainability," he says.
6. Retrain your employees.
They should be walking the company's talk and making better decisions because of their understanding of the new majority.
7. Test your way into it.
Humans generally detest change, but you can do it incrementally after some experimentation. For example, start making changes online first through how you handle social media or geotargeting on mobile.
8. Be bold or go home.
Use the same approach multinational companies employ when entering emerging markets-focus on reaching new, untapped customers. "It's really about accountability and it's about growth," he says. "It should not be about fear."