The Markets.

This post is the second in a series of 3. Read Navigating the Pay Gap for Multicultural Influencers: Part 1, for background on the gender, influencer and color pay gap, first.

Now that we have some insights into what the pay gap might look like as it relates to multicultural influencers, we need to understand how and why that gap exists. In order to make sense of it, let’s look at how racial demographics are treated in marketing verticals and in campaign strategy.

The Gap In Practice: Understanding Markets

The following graphic is a representation of how traditional marketing strategy views minority racial demographics in relation to the mainstream or “general market” (i.e. White consumers/influencers).

In a typical marketing model, the General Market demographic is the focus, with the “other” demographics taking a backseat and being highly segmented. This means that a traditional marketing campaign would flow as follows:

Typical Campaign Approach:

  • The team would research and analyze General Market insights
  • Devise a General Market strategy based on those insights
  • Develop a General Market brief
  • Conceive a media plan for General Market
  • Implement a distribution strategy for the General Market

Generally, after the General Market brief has been set, if the product or promotion is deemed important enough for diverse audiences, the multicultural marketing (aka MCM) strategy and briefs are created, incorporating cultural nuances and insights to make them more “relevant” for these audiences.

The Gap In Practice: Understanding Agency Structure (and Vocab!)

Here’s the other piece of this complex puzzle: the way that the agencies are segmented. As a general matter, for any large brand client, there is an Agency of Record (aka AOR) that serves as their primary marketing and/or advertising agent. That AOR may have a Multicultural or Diverse Segments Division that handles campaigns directed at diverse audiences. If the AOR does not have a Diverse Segments Division, or sometimes even if they do, they or the brand may retain a Sub-Agency (aka Sub). That Sub may focus specifically on African-American and/or Latinx and/or Asian markets.

This may seem all fine and, in fact, better. After all, this segmented approach allows for tailored messaging and culturally nuanced marketing, right? Yes, this is true. However the damage arises, not only because it causes multicultural markets to be secondary, but also because these Diverse Segments Divisions and Sub-Agencies have budgets that are a fraction of those awarded to Agencies of Record. Which results in communities and consumers of color getting the short-end of the marketing stick.

“What’s wrong with the way things are now? Today, a business chooses to buy marketing and communications services based on a segregated model in which general market is separate from multicultural. If you are talent or a business owner within the marketing and communications industry, your ideas and services are likely chosen or purchased based on this model and often multicultural service providers get the short end of the stick even though the multicultural consumers have the highest growth demographically.”

Excerpt: Close the gap: The state of the total market industry by Jeffrey L. Bowman

Are segmented agencies effective in your experience? Why or why not?

This post was adapted from a presentation given by Stacey Ferguson, CEO of Blogalicious, at The ME Experience :: Quebec City in partnership with Women In Travel Summit.

Up Next: Navigating the Pay Gap for Multicultural Influencers: Part 3

Stacey Ferguson

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