Marketing Engineering – Uniting the Power of Cultural Insights and Data Analytics

As our nation’s demographics evolve, diverse populations fuel growth in virtually every industry. These consumers expect diversity across race, ethnicity, and culture to be reflected in advertising and consciously spend with the brands that execute it well.

Core to these successful campaigns is comprehensive, culturally nuanced data that takes these audiences’ habits, views, perspectives, and patterns into account. Unfortunately, there is an ongoing lack of both across minority populations.

As brands and agencies look to delve into specific demographics, the depth of the insights available to them tends to diminish significantly.

Any campaign must resonate with the lived experience and shared values of the communities it is attempting to reach. Proceeding without this essential knowledge runs the risk of being seen as inauthentic, or worse, offending and invalidating the cultural experience of thousands of people. Critical marketing blunders like these have been seen time and time again, across nearly every industry.

Marketers must (and can) do better — it is time to unite the creativity our industry is known for with an engineering mindset to create authentic and nuanced campaigns. The first step is not only understanding which insights you are searching for, but how specifically to go about uncovering them.

Numbers Tell the Story

Often, brands and agencies know which multicultural group they would like to approach with their messaging, but do not know where to begin otherwise. Collecting quantifiable data on these audiences is often one of the most impactful ways to begin to authentically build a narrative that your consumers can connect with.

In a recent graduate class, one of the professors said something that resonates deeply with the feedback I receive from clients during data discussions. The professor referenced the timeless wisdom of Edwards Deming, stating, “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”

Yet, in today’s world, where marketers are inundated with data, the statement takes on a new form: “Without an opinion, you’re just another person with data.” This shift underscores the importance not just of data collection, but of its interpretation. It’s the nuanced understanding and application of these insights that are pivotal to the success of any marketing campaign.

Doing this impactfully requires a sophisticated overlay of data from multiple sources. Consider which customers you are actually trying to target. This goes beyond a specific racial or ethnic group — consider factors such as where these consumers are located and their purchase history within your product or service sector. These factors can help determine their existing brand perception, and inform your strategic approach, to suit the goals of your campaign.

Alongside these logistical factors, a deep understanding of cultural context is necessary. Your research must encompass your audiences’ specific shared values within their local communities which a range of lived experiences, shared history and other socioeconomic factors can influence.

Seek out and listen to various unique perspectives and utilize your awareness of the present moment to deliver an informed and conscientious message that resonates with the individuals you aim to reach.

Embracing Emergent Technology

No discussion of modern marketing strategy would be complete without mentioning artificial intelligence. This emergent technology has its place across both campaign planning and execution. For example, utilizing a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis, AI technology can both refine and accelerate the research process, delving into large datasets and uncovering patterns for marketers to extrapolate into actionable insights. However, beyond data processing, this emergent solution has a range of practical applications that marketers should explore.

In considering multicultural campaigns, AI technology can take on another essential task: assisting in accurate translations. For example, this innovative technology is capable of streamlining the initial translation process via inputting more sophisticated prompts. This goes beyond ensuring accuracy and extends to adding in other essential elements such as audience cultural nuances, location, and other valuable external contexts.

Innovative methodologies like these, complemented by a deep understanding of technology’s potential and limitations can creatively utilize analytics and ultimately lead to better campaigns. However, these approaches should never be undertaken without defined and robust oversight. Tasks such as ensuring correct linguistics and deriving insight from patterns are distinctly human in nature and ensure that the correct nuances and subtleties are accurate and culturally attuned.

With a robust view of consumer data, informed human oversight and the assistance of emergent technology, authentic and relevant cultural campaigns are not only possible but should become the norm. As the diversity of the national population grows, marketers must embrace an ongoing educational mindset, alongside a holistic evolution of the entire campaign planning and execution model, to better serve diverse consumers and communities.