Digital Diversity


Reach multicultural consumers using digital platforms.

Whether you’re watching videos, downloading songs, finding coupons or tracking everything from your bank balance to your kids’ grades to the weather in Cancun, what you can do digitally is exhaustive. For companies looking to break through so much digital clutter to connect with consumers, especially diverse consumers, the challenge is quite complex.

The digital behavior of ethnic groups is as diverse as the groups themselves. Consider these facts: African-Americans use more mobile voice minutes than other groups (talking 1,261 minutes per month versus 606 for Caucasians) and are 30 percent more likely to visit Twitter’s website through a mobile web browser; Hispanics text the most out of all ethnicities (943 texts per month), and almost three in five Hispanic mobile subscribers use smartphones; Asian-Americans are the most active PC and Internet users, spending nearly 80 hours on PCs in a month versus the national average of about 55 hours and consume more Internet content than any other group, visiting 3,600 websites in a month (about 1,000 more than their counterparts).

Multicultural consumers are constantly and continuously connected. More choices, media and devices make for more savvy shoppers. Most marketing professionals understand marketing successfully in a digital world requires an integrated approach: combining digital strategies with other communications tactics such as websites, word-of-mouth and social media.

Relevancy is also key. If you, as a marketer, don’t actively seek to engage diverse consumers where they feel culturally connected, reflected and respected, it’s a missed opportunity you may not get again. Once upon a time, ethnic consumers had to watch what marketers offered, whenever and wherever it was offered. Today, digital platforms offer a more level playing field. If, as a consumer, I want to visit a site where everyone looks like I do, I have a myriad of options. Will I find your brand there?

Marketers should expand beyond traditional digital sources to more culturally relevant platforms, while also implementing culturally relevant strategies in traditional platforms. It’s important not to fall into an “either/or” mindset, just as it is important to not select one diverse community over another to include in your marketing strategies.

If you, your chief marketing officer or CEO needs a fresh perspective on the opportunities diverse segments represent for your business, consider this: collectively, ethnic consumers account for approximately $2.6 trillion of today’s buying power. In eight short years, there will be about 170 million ethnic consumers: 50 million African-Americans, 95 million Hispanics and 27 million Asian-Americans. In 2050, minorities become the majority. If you are not doing business with diverse audiences today, it’s bold to say, but you may not be doing business at all in the future.


About Cheryl Pearson-McNeil

Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of public affairs and government relations for Nielsen, which measures what consumers watch and buy around the world. Her responsibilities include developing ideas and approaches to widen the scope and improve the effectiveness of Nielsen’s government, community and corporate-responsibility programs and special initiatives. She is also the author of one of Nielsen’s Multicultural Insights Columns. Prior to coming to Nielsen, Cheryl was director of station relations for WMAQ, and press secretary for former Chicago City Treasurer Miriam Santos.