Multicultural Marketing: Moving Beyond the Stock Image

August 10th, 2022

Knowing your audience is the foundation of any great marketing campaign, but what do you do when your biases—or your audience’s biases—affect how we see each other? In the modern age of digital marketing, advertisers need to be able to look past their audience’s cultural “stock image” to understand the needs of the communities they hope to target, whether or not they’re of the same ethnicity.  At Cobalt Digital Marketing, we’re proud to have a team of geographically and culturally diverse creative professionals dedicated to producing cross-platform digital content clients across the Rio Grande Valley as well as other parts of Texas, Louisiana, and Arizona. Over the course of our experience, we’ve learned a lot about targeting multi-cultural audiences for our clients, and our Latina Catalysts took a moment this week to share their thoughts about what it means to cater your content to a Hispanic audience.

Starting a New Conversation Using Visual Language

Being able to target communities with advertising that’s relevant to them is a key part of what it means to be a marketer, but our understanding of how to go about doing that has changed over time. Still, sometimes, our systems hang on to outdated methods, whether or not those methods still serve their purpose.

“I just want to open the floor to this type of conversation,” says Digital Marketing Conversion  Specialist, Alina Lewis. “Am I the only one who thinks stock imagery of certain ethnicities are old school?”

The internet is a multi-platform swirling ocean of images and videos. Digital marketing storytellers like we have at Cobalt, build brand messaging to resonates with our clients’  customers in a real and organic way.

“I feel like social media has come a long way from “we have to only show Hispanic people”. Please tell me what Hispanic looks like?” Alina continued. “It’s weird to look up “Hispanic family”, and it’s all brown people. Hispanic comes in so many colors! It’s much more complex because being Hispanic is multidimensional and multifaceted.”

A Hispanic Audience Is A Diverse Audience

It’s true that “Hispanic means more than just brown-looking people,” as Alina says, but it’s also important to remember the geographical aspect of targeting, too. After all, Hispanic people make up nearly 20% of the global population! Countless diverse cultures and communities make up what it means to be Hispanic, and we need to put in the work to understand our unique audience.

“When I think about it, I don’t see the same people from the Cities of Mission, Sharyland, or North McAllen,” Social Media Specialist and former Formula Manager Vianney Mena said. “I see the diversity and many demographic differences. So when I think of the picture to use, it comes back to clearly defining the client’s intended target customer.”

Hispanic is not only brown-looking people, but in the RGV, it’s leaning more towards that. If you go to México, there’s a full diversity of Hispanic-looking people,” Vianney continued. Even within geographic areas, our team uses data to clearly develop target customer interest and behavior profiles. 

Adapting to a Growing Communities

As a South Texas-based company, many of our Catalysts were born and raised on both sides of the Rio Grande. Being both bilingual and bicultural gives great insight into how to cultivate messaging for the wide range of Hispanic consumers . The power of this is not only understanding the language and culture, but also observing and reacting, in real-time, to changes in their cities and towns.

Formula Manager Patsy Muniz, who is based in the rapidly growing Brownsville, Texas area said “I’ve seen the growth and change our communities have had, especially in cultural diversity. Our marketing efforts should always be adapting to reflect this growth.”

As industry drives population surges across Texas, communities like Brownsville, Starbase, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio will continue to find business opportunities by expanding audience reach and complexion.

Taking a Nuanced Approach: When “Hispanic in the RGV” Isn’t Enough

Choosing what ethnicities to highlight in our advertising is incredibly nuanced; it doesn’t just end at targeting people based on their skin tone. Creating advertising with true precision means taking into account the aspects of your audience that will matter the most for your business. Often, that isn’t ethnicity.

“I believe that because I was able to experience both cultures, I can say being a Latina and being a Mexican are very similar in some ways, but not the same,” says Graphic Designer Eva Larraga. “When we think of customer targets,… we should focus more on the economic and need demographics, rather than the ethnicity.”

While targeting is an essential digital marketing tactic to attract new customers, targeting ethnicities is a narrow and limited approach. Thoughtful, relevant imagery and messaging can be crafted to draw in, appeal to, and resonate with a wide range of diverse people who share interest and behavior traits, and perhaps, the same culture.  

Harnessing Multi-Cultural Marketing for Your Business With Cobalt

The beauty of digital marketing is it enables businesses to connect and engage with a wide range of current and potential customers. Cobalt Digital Marketing’s team is here to help you tap into various data sources to better understand your customers. 

Let’s talk about breaking the old-school mold of cultural targeting and explore the power of a more modern approach to digital content to build a stronger and more loyal customer base.

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