Multicultural Marketing: Connecting With Underserved Markets

Segments of the population can be considered “underserved” in a variety of ways that often overlap including access to healthcare, education, and financial services. These groups are most commonly defined by race, ethnicity, age, geography, income, or a specific set of circumstances that cause challenges.

Underserved groups can be a challenge to reach efficiently for government and nonprofit organizations that seek to offer services or deliver messages in hopes of improving outcomes. Marketers for these organizations need to get creative to place communications in areas often underrepresented by traditional advertising platforms. Often times it means going door-to-door, like Kathy Avery of the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement did to reach local communities in North Carolina to educate residents about the health screenings and transportation services they provide (1). It is key to fully understand the daily habits of the audience you need to reach before wasting time with messages that never connect.

Marketers of products that typically aren’t aimed at underserved markets can also have a compelling reason to reach this audience. According to studies of Millennial brand preferences, they prefer to buy from companies with social impact programs they feel good about. (2) This means to positively impact this diverse cohort, more brands will need to be prepared to reach harder-to-reach communities than ever before.

Multicultural communities are now over 120 million strong in the U.S. and increasing by 2.3 million per year. Diverse populations are the growth engine of the future. Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and other segments already make up 38% of the U.S. population, with Census projections showing that multicultural populations will become a numeric majority by 2044. (3)