Jose Villa

Jose Villa

When most marketers think about Millennials, they often miss the fact that almost half (43 percent) of all Millennials living in the U.S. today are multicultural Millennials — Hispanic, Asian, African-American, or mixed-race Millennials. Some put a heavy emphasis on Hispanic Millennials. Those same marketers forget that 23 percent of the Millennial population are African-American, Asian and mixed race. That is a large swath of the lucrative Millennial segment.

O'Dwyer's June '16 Int'l & Multicultural PR MagazineThis article is featured in O'Dwyer's June '16 Int'l & Multicultural PR Magazine

The next major mistake most brands make is to focus on paid media driven interruptive advertising in their efforts to reach multicultural Millennials. Marketers tend to focus on “tried and true” methods. When it comes to multicultural marketing, that conventional approach is to focus on in-language creative running on in-language media (think 30-second Spanish spots running on Univision). Rarely do they give a tactic like content marketing consideration as a highly effective lead tactic to engaging multicultural Millennials.

Content marketing defined

While there are numerous definitions out there, content marketing is best defined as the creation and distribution of useful and valuable content that consumers choose that leads to demand for a product or service

This definition presupposes that content developed by marketers must be so useful and/or valuable that consumers would seek it out on their own volition. They are not forced or deceived into consuming it. They genuinely want to consume the content — whether it’s listening to an audio clip, watching a video, answering a poll, taking a quiz or reading the latest list.

The content must also directly and measurably lead those who consume it to consider purchasing a product or service. The content must positively impact consumer demand. For example, after reading an infographic, a user will be more likely to purchase the product mentioned in the infographic.

Why content marketing is critical

Content marketing is the foundation and catalyst of effective multicultural millennial marketing. The first reason is the media consumption behavior of multicultural Millennials. According to the latest wave of research from the Hispanic Millennial Project, multicultural Millennials are consuming content on ad-free platforms like Netflix as much or more than they are via broadcast/cable TV. They are increasingly time-shifting their content consumption via DVRs and on-demand platforms, skipping unwanted ads. Furthermore, a recent eMarketer report showed that nearly two in three Millennials block ads — showing that a solid majority of Internet users ages 18-34 block ads when they view digital content.

These changes in Millennial media behavior underscore the increasing difficulty in “interrupting” them with paid advertising.

Moreover, multicultural Millennials are shifting their media consumption from traditional channels to digital and social platforms. As an example, one third of Hispanic Millennials are consuming news through YouTube.

Language is also playing less of a role in the media Asian and Hispanic Millennials consume. According to the Hispanic Millennial Project, only 42 percent of Asian Millennials indicated they streamed any non-English programming in the last 30 days. Only 46 percent of Hispanic Millennials indicated any Spanish language streaming activity. Culture is instead the real driver of multicultural Millennial media consumption, who indicate overwhelmingly it is a major factor in the music, movies and TV shows they consume.

Social media provides a critical catalyst for content marketing, allowing content to be easily shared and distributed. The social media behavior of Hispanic, Asian, and African-American Millennials provides the connective tissue critical to effective content marketing.

A blueprint for content marketing

So what does effective multicultural content marketing look like? First, it requires a shift in mindset from an advertiser to a publisher. Brands need to embrace a digital studio model of creating high-volume, cost-efficient, digital multicultural content. This means establishing the capability to create content in more compressed cycles (think days versus months) at a fraction of the cost of broadcast quality video content (e.g. 30-second TV spots). In the past, creating and distributing your own multicultural content was cost prohibitive and risky. Digital technology and tools like HD video and content distribution services have changed the game. Equally important, there is now a digital ecosystem in place to support multicultural content marketing.

As you consider beginning a multicultural millennial content marketing program, keep in mind some of the nuances of each of the three multicultural Millennial segments as it relates to the kind of content they consume, where they consume it and how.

Regardless of whether you target Asian, African-American, or Hispanic Millennials individually or collectively, multicultural millennial content marketing can be the engine of broader marketing programs. It can provide a steady stream of content that can be repurposed and leveraged across paid advertising, experiential marketing or other earned media initiatives.

José Villa is President of Los Angeles-based marketing agency Sensis.