So . . . you’ve landed that assignment in Multicultural Marketing (or Hispanic, LGBTQ or any other segment marketing discipline), and now you’re wondering how to make your mark. And how to be successful in what we recently deemed Most Dangerous Job in Corporate America.
We’re here to help. These are a few of the best practices we’ve seen or deployed personally across the years in the industry.
1/ Eat your humble pie
We are big fans of Malcolm Gladwell’s advice to approach any new assignment with a healthy dose of humility. In Multicultural Marketing, an extra serving is in order. The complexity of the subsegments, the nuances, and the intensity to deliver authentic marketing messages can only be delivered if you have a deep sense of humility about your role in the process. Don’t profess to know everything but commit to becoming the trusted expert over time.
2/ Check your assumptions at the door
What you know or think you know about the segment could be a distorted based on your own life experiences. Particularly if you’re a member of the segment yourself, be careful with assumptions that are based on your gut. While gut is important, use primary research to create a body of “known” knowledge that you share with your internal team. Being fact-based also makes the challenge of eventually selling your ideas up in the organization much easier.
3/ Don’t go it alone
One of the biggest pitfalls of the segment marketer is working in isolation. You need to dedicate yourself to tearing down functional and department walls and go in business development mode to build relationships and recruit internal team members. If you don’t have resources to build a team, create a virtual team. Staff it with cross-functional experts from research, media, advertising and sales who can join and support you on your journey.
4/ Be inclusive
As you build your team, look to recruit team members beyond those who themselves are members of the segment. If your charge is Hispanic marketing for example, recruit a mix of Latinos and non-Latinos to your team. Enroll them in the challenge of understanding the segment and make them feel like they are part of your mission. In the end, your are solving business issues for a particular segment so find good business minds as allies. Some of our best Hispanic champions are motivated non-Latinos with a passion for the segment.
5/ Make your business about the business
Make sure Multicultural Marketing is about growth of the business. While there is a temptation to tie multicultural marketing efforts to Community Relations or charitable efforts, be careful not to cast your strategies solely in the light of corporate social responsibility. Show how your efforts tie directly to business growth or you may not be long for the road.
In your new role, you’ve become a key player in the success of the business. But always remember that you are a player in a larger organization, not an island unto yourself. Like any position, your success revolves around your ability to influence others in pursuing the right strategies for the segment. When you start a new role, time is of the essence and you want to make your mark as quickly as possible.
While you focus on building the connections and linkages to enable your success, sometimes outside expertise can help you save valuable time by building the business case with information from your industry and external benchmarks. Sometimes an external voice carries more weight and can say things that might cost you political capital if you offer them on your own.
We’d love to help you be successful and not just survive but thrive.