The U.S. Census is forecasting that the U.S. will no longer be a “white” majority country by 2050. In fact, by 2010, the white majority will be a slight one. For advertisers, the implications of this are highlighted in Ad Age Magazine’s “New U.S. Census to Reveal Major Shift: No More Joe Consumer”. But wait: If there’s no more majority, does this mean no more mass market advertising? I think not. The size of the country means even minorities are large enough to target in large scale marketing efforts.
If you haven’t already read this, here are excerpts from the AdAge article:
“The 2010 Census is expected to find that 309 million people live in the United States. But one person will be missing: the average American.
“The concept of an ‘average American’ is gone, probably forever,” demographics expert Peter Francese writes in 2010 America, a new Ad Age white paper. “The average American has been replaced by a complex, multidimensional society that defies simplistic labeling.”
The story is covered from a communicators viewpoint at Edit30, :
With the absence of a one-size-fits-all archetypal stakeholder, communicators must be ever more mindful to consider the specific interests of their own unique constituencies based on their ethnicity, age, geographic distribution and family status, among other characteristics.
[The predicted] stakeholder shifts can influence a wide variety of communications in such interest areas as health and family care addressed in employee communications; tax and dividend messages focused on investors in different age groups and geographies; and even the phrasing and image selection considered in the process of collateral creation.
Today the iconic image of the American family — mom-dad-and-the-kids — virtually doesn’t exist; it constitutes only 22 percent of the US population, Francese wrote in 2010 America.
Their replacements are: A. a married couple with no kids, or; B. a single-person household.
– “No racial or ethnic category describes a majority of the population” in the nation’s 10 largest cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Dallas, San Diego and San Jose.
– Messaging for a largely white, non-Hispanic market as a kind of leveling one-size-fits-all approach clearly doesn’t get it any longer.
From my perspective, the message of multiculturalism and a fragmented market has already seeped into the consciousness of most marketers and PR professionals. It’s not unusual to see multicultural images in collateral materials and advertising, ethnic marketing in languages other than English, and outreach efforts to communities spanning the spectrum of cultures, religions and sexual orientation. Initially, this changing “color” of advertising was found only in hip and forward-looking companies. Now, even stodgy banks are seeing the light.
But, however mainstream the superficial “getting it” of some companies, it’s my humble opinion that they will still miscommunicate, disengage their markets and fail at brand building when their marketing and PR teams exclude people with mutliethnic backgrounds. The same old boys network might understand at a high level the new American demographics, but I guarantee they will miss out on opportunities and sometimes make embarrassing, costly mistakes. Just wait and see!