2014 New Year’s Resolutions for Total Market

The end of the old year and the start of the New Year always find individuals searching for the “perfect formula” to resolve life situations, such as diet, love, and career. The start of the year can also find business strategists searching for a unique “formula” they can launch in the New Year that will positively impact growth.

The start of the year finds businesses searching for improved “formulas” they can apply in the New Year to will positively impact their growth.  As evident in AHAA’s Total Market Benchmark Study published in November 2013, many brands are headed down a path suggesting this business 2014 resolution:

Step forward to the “new America”,
evolve the Multicultural Silo model
and adopt a Total Market Strategy.

While at first glance it may seem like a good resolution for business growth, unfortunately, there are still some challenges with Total Market and it might not apply to all brands equally. Without doubt, by the end of 2014, marketers would greatly benefit from further clarification before more brands apply Total Market strategies with blurred motives.

The first resolution is to find common ground as to what is and what Total Market Strategy isn’t. The lack of a standard definition — and the definitions that are created by the misunderstandings of what Total Market Strategy is — may be one of the biggest challenges facing marketers today.

Initially, Total Market Strategy was introduced as a new business model, responding to the rapidly shifting American demographic – which had created a “new General Market” propelled ahead by the booming Hispanic and multicultural segments.  This was an evolution to the long-held practice of “silo marketing” which tended to isolate multicultural segments efforts but as an after-thought to the corporate strategy. Historically, most often a separate team, focused on less acculturated Hispanics, was tasked to influence brands and the rest of the company without budgets to properly unearth insights, execute tactics or accurately measure impact.  Walmart and McDonalds, growth leaders, introduced Total Market Strategy as a way of integrating a focus on the growth segments across all business and functional lines– from product development and packaging, to insights and media planning, to training and in-store execution.

 A Total Market definition is still being developed by AHAA in conjunction with the ANA and industry leaders.

Total Market Strategy developed out of major industry leaders recognizing the power of the segments driving the majority of the growth and properly resetting their companies to apply greater focus on achieving strategic business growth from this integrated “new General Market,” through unified, cross-company efforts.  During initial trials, one of the predominant Total Market implementation strategies focused on identifying commonalities and nuances between Caucasian non-Hispanic, Hispanic, and other Multicultural consumers in order to achieve higher marketing effectiveness.

Unfortunately, certain industry professionals misunderstood this strategy to begin dismantling Hispanic and Multicultural marketing programs citing that under Total Market Strategies, Hispanic and other Multicultural marketing and communications can now be simply met by inclusion as part of the “General Market” campaign. , Cost-cutters focused primarily on “budget efficiencies” to dictate new TM programs. 

Effective Growth Leaders will always find ways to do more with less but their innovation is driven by breaking into new growth formulas. Moving away from topline growth and getting inspiration from the bottom line is a serious challenge for TMS which must be addressed. That’s not to say that efficiencies are not a desired byproduct.

The standards, definitions, and best practices strategies are still evolving from these initial TM strategy trials but Multicultural marketing professionals must be aware of the potential challenges that may come from misguided misunderstandings and misinterpretations of TM strategies and goals

While there may be as many different perspectives as there are practices, there is agreement from business growth leaders on two major TM foundations:

1.- The “new American Mainstream” has been here – it has been identified and its viability has been validated in business cases and trials. Effectively mining the new American Mainstream is a business imperative that calls for full strategic integration.

    • The familiar business practice of various silos for Multicultural marketing is transitioning into a unified growth marketing strategy to a single Multicultural nation, redefining a “new General Market.”
    • Numerous studies cite that the country is moving toward a “new America,” with Multicultural Millennials poised to be the most influential segment of the population today and into the future.
    • Since the economic recovery began, nearly all of new growth in the US job market has been generated by multicultural segments. See SSG November 2013 Job Market analysis: Top Opportunity for the Holiday Season: All Newly Employed “Santa’s” Are Multicultural.
    • The greying of the Non-Hispanic White segment, who are living longer, but having significantly fewer children1 and leaving the workforce in record proportions. In fact, for every White Non-Hispanic leaving the workforce, there have been 1.7 hustling Multicultural adults entering it. Read SSG’s 11/13 Job Market analysis: Top Opportunity for the Holiday Season: All Newly Employed “Santa’s” Are Multicultural.

(1Futures Company 2013 Demographic Study)

 2.- TM Grounding Rules – To effectively respond to the growth opportunities and challenges of the “New American Mainstream”, Directors to C-suite level marketers offered some grounding rules for TM implementation (see AHAA’s Total Market Benchmark Study):

    • Should be inclusive of Caucasian and all Multicultural consumers (including Hispanic, African American, Asian American and LGBT)
    • Should be reflective of America’s “new General Market,” our ”new American Mainstream,” and as such,  incorporate cultural insights, cultural know-how and diverse expert talent
    • Should draw on universal truths that can span across various segments – both ethnic and non-ethnic white
    • Should lead to increased marketing effectiveness and budget efficiencies

Just as New Year’s resolutions without action plans fall short of their goals, likewise, making a business resolution to Total Market Strategy implementation requires building a plan based on a sound understanding of the issues and challenges. While there are still many unknowns, business leaders currently involved in TMS are encouraging participation.  For those still debating the issues and waiting for more evidence, the question is often asked:  What will my ROI be on implementing a Total Market Strategy?  The simplest answer:  It certainly will be higher than your ROI on “Doing Nothing.”

Peter Drucker coined “the future that has already happened” in a remarkable book. Similarly, our new Multicultural nation has long been here. SSG has been trending the concentration of buying power, socio-political patterns, and consumer influence in the US.  What we have defined as the Top 10 Most Influential States represent over half of the US overall population in 2010, most of its growth, the vast majority of the nation’s GDP, over 60% of Fortune 500 leaders, 53% of the total U.S. Buying Power and where the country’s future social policies, such as marriage equality and driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, are in practice already. These most powerful 10 states are the future of the country today and they are not waiting until 2050 to become 50% multicultural. These 10 states have necessitated Total Market strategies a while ago. You might manage to the other 40 to maintain the past, but your business success today depends on winning in these 10.

How and when will evolve your multicultural model to win over the future that has happened?  Should we point out the obvious, now is a better time than in 2050!

More on SSG’s Top 10 Most Influential States our next newsletter.


Also Read:
Considering “Total Market” Strategies? Research & the Front-lines Offer Positive Outlook
Total Market Growth Approach Made Simple: From “Connectors” Insights and Core Alignment to Innovative Products and Retail Strategies
“Double Plays” Provide an Advantage in Baseball & Total Market Approach

About SSG
SSG is a growth consulting leader driven by management P&L experience, Big Data and predictive analytics. We develop fact-based business models, insights, customer experiences and roadmaps that profitably segment distinct customer groups and drive revenue. We help clients focus their limited resources where the highest ROI opportunities exist and customize strategies advancing efficient Total Market growth fueled by Millennial, Multicultural & Hispanics segments.





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