Earlier this week, Procter & Gamble Co. Chief Brand Officer Marc S. Pritchard was in attendance at the ANA’s Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference, held in San Diego. It was the fifth year in a row Pritchard, a champion of DEI and multicultural marketing has spoken at the event.
This year, Pritchard wanted his appearance to serve as an opportunity to address what he calls “the entrenched habits in how we do marketing.” He also outlined a path to building new habits he says are needed to widen the opportunity for multicultural marketing.
“We’ve been talking for years about the wake-up alarm for seizing the growth opportunity in multicultural marketing and making commitments to do better, but we keep hitting the snooze button,” he said, expressing concern that marketers are still missing out “on the tremendous potential of marketing to serve Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native and Indigenous Americans.”
They comprise 40% of the U.S. population and are growing rapidly.
“I’m concerned that we’re still only scratching the surface on engaging people with disabilities and increasing visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in our marketing,” he says. But, Pritchard is excited, too.
“Multicultural marketing may be the single biggest source of market growth in our industry now and for the next several years, perhaps even decades,” he said. “Together, we can make sure we’re not asleep at the switch in the coming years and avoid missing the very thing that we want the most in our industry – GROWTH!”
Pritchard looked at P&G brands to confirm the opportunity. “In the past year alone, more than half of our sales growth in North America came from multicultural consumer segments,” he said.
Among our top brands, P&G holds the No. 1 or No. 2 market share positions in nearly all of the 10 categories in which it competes among Black, Hispanic, AAPI, and LGBTQ+ consumers. “It’s a good start and our market shares are in line with the national averages,” Pritchard said. “But we should beware of averages. There is still a lot more opportunity.”
OPPORTUNITY: IT’S BEEN KNOCKING FOR AGES
The opportunity is significant, but it is not new.
That statement from Pritchard brought him back to a concern, he said.
“We simply have a lot of entrenched marketing habits, and old habits are hard to break,” he said. “They’re comfortable, safe, and they’ve worked for us in the past – all key factors when you consider how perilous marketing can be in today’s world. Breaking old habits to build new ones is much harder, so it’s easier to keep hitting the snooze button before getting up and moving to a new way. If we don’t move now, in a few years when multicultural consumers are the majority, shaping culture, with the majority of purchasing power, and driving more growth, they’ll leave brands that didn’t wake up in the dust, wishing they had done a lot more, a lot sooner.”
How can one break the old habits and build the new ones needed to seize the significant multicultural market growth opportunity in front of us?
At P&G, Pritchard took an objective view of our current behavior, initiated change, and let things grow.
This involved a changed mindset, relying on “inclusive research,” and having diverse media research.
“To reach consumers with our marketing and ultimately convert them to purchase, we must break the longstanding media reach habit that solely relies on national averages to benchmark general market buys,” Pritchard said. “Ask yourself – if you’re reaching more than the 60% national average, why are there gaps in market share? Is it sufficient to simply be reaching a percentage of multicultural audiences that’s slightly above the average?”
In closing, Pritchard implored marketers to “start asking and demanding to know who the Black-owned media companies are.”
Second, marketers should not wait for ad inventory to appear at low CPMs. “This is the newest habit and perhaps the most challenging to build,” Pritchard said, noting that it is nevertheless necessary because “there is currently not enough media inventory in the Black-owned media ecosystem – less than 1% of TV and digital and less than 5% of radio media inventory. Waiting for ad inventory to materialize could take years. We need to step up and invest in co-developing programming content to create inventory to advertise on.”
This explains P&G’s creation of “Widen the Screen,” a content creation, talent development, and partnership platform that enables increased representation and inclusion of Black creators across the advertising, film and media industry. “Our immediate focus is expanding the ecosystem for Black creators and media companies, and we’re reapplying to Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native and Indigenous communities.”
The last need is perhaps the most important: Investment. Pritchard said, “At P&G, our goal is to have the number one brand in every category among Black consumers. To accomplish that, we intend to be the number one spender in Black-owned media and to significantly expand the ecosystem. We’ve made partnership investment deals with the top media companies. We’re investing money in program content development. And, we’re enabling automated programmatic media buying for companies to unlock spending.”
In two years, P&G has doubled its spending. It intends to continue doing so until the percent of spending is more in line with the percent of the population.
“I’m convinced we can seize the enormous multicultural opportunity in front of us by breaking old habits and forming new habits,” Pritchard concluded. “Have a mindset that multicultural marketing IS mainstream marketing. Convert to inclusive research habits. Achieve truly diverse media reach of each group. Implement the 3R’s of representation, relevance through accurate portrayal and unique insights. And resonance in programming by building new partners, accelerating co-development, and increasing media investments. All of these new habits will enable us to widen the screen to widen opportunities for multicultural growth.”
The Course of Advertising Has Shifted. Here’s What You Need to Know
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A call to action came to fruition as never before seen. And, CMOs and Brand Managers are paying attention as consumers watch and listen to how brands are reacting. Creative directors and media buyers are shifting greater focus and budget to better reach a more diverse audience. Yet, Hispanic advertising executives continue to lament that even with Census 2020 data in their hands, the ad spend versus the population remains out of whack.
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