‘Total Market’ Gets Lots of Buzz, but Multicultural Agencies Will Suffer Badly – Ad Age

Advertising has a new darling concept for everyone to toss around to show how much they get the need to reach an ever expanding and varied target audience. I’m talking about “Total Market,” which was being touted at the ANA Multicultural Conference this year as the solution for addressing the growth of Hispanics and Asians in the U.S. population, and cashing in on the undeniable influence that African Americans exert as trend setters.

Dec 13, 2013 by Pepper Miller.- Ad Age.

Advertising has a new darling concept for everyone to toss around to show how much they get the need to reach an ever expanding and varied target audience. I’m talking about “Total Market,” which was being touted at the ANA Multicultural Conference this year as the solution for addressing the growth of Hispanics and Asians in the U.S. population, and cashing in on the undeniable influence that African Americans exert as trend setters. […]

Now the Total Market approach is being embraced by general-market agencies that for years have used the traditional “one-size-fits-most” approach, ignoring the shifts in U.S. population and focusing on being cost-efficient, rather than trying to understand and investing in different cultures that make up the whole. And they are still inviting few ethnic agencies to the table early or often to strategize about a new campaign. Instead, the ethnic agencies are given the general-market strategy to adapt to their respective targets, small “assignments” versus a significant piece of business, and continue to lose media-buying responsibilities. […]

I’m not opposed to general-market agencies, but my hard questions for marketers are: Why aren’t you giving diversity agencies a chance to lead? Why are you insisting that diversity agencies teach the general-market agencies how to appeal to ethnic segments and then giving the assignments to general-market agencies? […]

The Total Market approach will require an internal cultural shift for more diversity in-house. General-market agencies have been paying lip service to this issue for years without creating any actionable strategies.

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