Mobile is a global opportunity. But how can brands and marketers address a multicultural audience? A. Troy Brown draws from primary demographic research and years of implementing award-winning, integrated Digital/Social/Mobile (DSM) campaigns for big brands such as Pepsi, Hennessy, Apple, Allstate, Ford and Best Buy to provide key insights on emerging trends, purchasing decisions, and technology adoption among diverse audiences.
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There’s no shortage of data that indicates that multicultural mobile users generally over-index their use of SMS, mobile web, and mobile advertising, as well as smartphone adoption. Research will also tell you that Hispanic tablet adoption is occurring at a greater rate than any other market segment, including African-Americans, and significantly ahead of general market. It also reveals that 31 percent of African-American consumers click through mobile ads versus 21 percent of the general market, and that Hispanics are cutting the cord and getting rid of their landlines faster than any other segment.
These are helpful data points; but it’s not research that allows brands, marketers and media companies plan their strategies because it describes the market as it is now, not how it will be. To help companies understand how multicultural mobile targeting will likely change in the fast-evolving world of digital communications we have conducted our own qualitative and quantitative research.
As a result, we have identified three market dynamics that will impact multicultural mobile targeting in the next 18-24 months: 1) the proliferation of 4G services and devices; 2) location-based services (LBS); and 3) the need for brands to “blend” all digital, social and mobile campaign elements to drive a personalized experience.
Granted, one could say that these dynamics will impact all mobile users everywhere on the planet. However, in a multicultural context, these drivers will be undeniable game-changers.
Growth of 4G
4G networks promise greater upload and download speeds, aimed to enhance the customer experience. These higher speeds will drive usage among multicultural demographics in one primary area: video sharing and streaming.
According to industry research firm Nielsen, in the US, Hispanics on average spend 20 percent more time on streaming video over mobile than the rest of the population (four hours and 20 minutes per month versus three hours and 37 minutes).
What’s more, research from Google indicates that African-Americans over-index versus other segments in accessing video-sharing websites via their smartphones (49 percent versus 43 percent).
Anecdotally, we at one50one see a much higher percentage of African-American and Hispanic audiences watching live performances via their mobile device. For example, leading up to the Allstate BCS National Championship football game on January 8, 2012, the pre-game festivities included a concert headlined by Cee Lo Green that was broadcast on Facebook and featured on Twitter using the Allstate and Cee Lo feeds.
Tens of thousands of followers watched the live streaming Facebook broadcast, and ultimately the Allstate Facebook page counted more than 13,000,000 impressions during the campaign, largely driven by views of the video.
Read between the lines, and the outcome is clear. As mobile devices become more sophisticated and feature rich, and 4G networks enable faster download speeds, video sharing and streaming usage rates is poised to skyrocket among diverse populations.
Regardless of the content or frequency of location-based mobile targeting, both of which can be touchy subjects with consumers when marketers abuse the medium, industry figures reflect the potential receptivity of multicultural audiences.
The use of SMS is much higher among diverse mobile users. In fact, according to Nielsen, African-American consumers average about 780 text messages per month, more than Hispanic and dramatically more than Asian/Pacific Islander or White consumers. This level of receptivity toward SMS bodes well for marketers pushing location-based offers and promotions via text notifications.
Based on usage trends, multicultural mobile users are more receptive to location-based offers and more likely to respond to them. As location becomes more precise with sub-one-meter accuracy, the opportunity for marketers should be huge.
The concept of integrated marketing is well known, and the same practice can be applied to “blend” all digital, social, and mobile campaign elements to drive a personalized experience for consumers.
Despite the generality that diverse audiences over-index in the use of their mobile devices, each individual accesses the Internet in his or her own personalized way. Thus, brands and marketers need to cover all the bases across digital, social, and mobile domains.
During a recent campaign with global cognac brand Hennessy, a multi-channel DSM strategy was deployed to engage both the brand’s followers as well as those of its campaign partner, world-renowned contemporary artist, Kaws, who designed a limited-edition label for the Hennessy V.S. bottle. The digital strategy involved a series of video shorts to engage consumers in the story of how the label was created and produced. Visiting Hennessy’s headquarters in Cognac, France, Kaws narrated the videos, discussing how the Hennessy craftsmanship inspired the label artwork. Filming also occurred at Kaws’ New York City studio. To keep consumers engaged over time, the campaign released the videos at intervals and through various digital channels.
The mobile strategy included a custom-branded QR code using Kaws-inspired colors and an image of the actual bottle. The QR code was printed on each limited-edition bottle and on all press materials. A Kaws‑branded mobile website provided a destination for the QR code. The website – a simple, easy‑to‑navigate page – prompted visitors to watch the videos. In addition, users could download the label as wallpaper for their mobile phones, access cocktail recipes, and locate stores that carried the limited-edition bottle on an interactive map.
The social strategy spread awareness about the campaign primarily through Facebook. Calls-to-action to “Like” Hennessy on Facebook were featured as a prominent item on the mobile website, directing consumers to share it with friends.
By engaging across digital, social, and mobile platforms, Hennessy reached its followers through various delivery channels that personalized each individual’s interaction with the brand. As a result:
- The videos obtained more than 7,000 views across multiple channels
- The wallpaper was downloaded more than 101,000 times in the first three months of the campaign
- The custom-branded QR code obtained 1.3 million scans over the course of six months – a mobile industry record
- The campaign was named Mobile Campaign of the Year by a leading mobile marketing publication
The bottom line:
While multicultural mobile targeting can present challenges, detailed research and experience can help isolate trends in adoption and mobile usage among diverse populations. New 4G and LBS technologies will change the landscape for marketing to multicultural audiences. However, by effectively blending digital, social, and mobile strategies, brands and marketers can ensure they cover those areas where diverse audiences over-index and leverage those areas to perform high-impact, high-return mobile campaigns.
A. Troy Brown is the chief architect and president of one50one, a leading provider of DSM (digital/social/mobile) strategies in the digital entertainment and mobile marketing industries. With more than two decades of executive experience in digital platforms and product delivery, Troy has fostered digital and mobile content and marketing deals with Sony Pictures, Sony Music Group, Universal Music Group, Starbucks Entertainment and the first ever mobile branded content deal with Lucas Films. He also has secured direct international content deals with Tier 1 mobile carriers worldwide and premium online storefronts including Heineken, Amazon, Ford, iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, Apple, Best Buy, Belvedere, Hennessy and Magic Johnson Enterprises and Walmart.com, among others. Troy sits on the board of several technology companies, including Express Mobile and IFK. Troy earned degrees in business administration and mathematics from St. Michaels College and has an Executive Certification in Leadership from The Wharton School of Business. In addition, he holds Digital Alpha IV Certification from Bellcore Laboratories. Follow Troy on Twitter (@mrone50one).