Monday, February 27, 2017

13572: Total Market, Total Failure…?

Campaign published a perspective and sales pitch from Jeffrey L. Bowman, who is still trying to peddle what was once dubbed Cross-Cultural Marketing and later renamed Total Market. Pepper Miller delivered detailed dissections of the direction, and White advertising agencies ultimately hijacked the notion to seize total control of marketing budgets. Meanwhile, Bowman is selling a report on Total Market that will likely be totally ignored by the total industry.

Close the gap: The state of the ‘total market’ industry

By Jeffrey L. Bowman

If we do not get the total market topic right, businesses could lose the next 50 years of market share, writes author and founder of Reframe: The Brand.

We should have gotten it right by now, but we haven’t. We’ve had the data, the tools, the observation skills and the creativity to recognize a bad plan, and yet little has changed in almost 60 years.

That bad plan could be called “Separate But Equal Marketing,” and it was introduced in the 1950s and 1960s. It was inappropriate at the time and has been ineffective since then—and with good reason. McKinsey introduced the topic of “Total Market” in the mid-1960s. At the time corporations were not paying attention to the upward and mobile black consumer. Companies started creating ethnic marketing departments to target blacks and diversity compliance initiatives for their employees in the 1960s. The marketing and communications industry created two different ways of buying services known as “general market” to focus on the “mass” consumer audience and “ethnic marketing,” which later became “multicultural marketing,” to focus on blacks, Hispanics and Asian consumers. Over the last 50 years, nothing changed.

In 2010, the topic of general market and multicultural marketing was revisited at great length and reinvented through the innovation of total market. However the topic was more relevant and it was defined as a new way of buying services from suppliers whose offerings reflected the new America. The innovation, definition and approach were met with resistance and pushback from general market, ethnic and some industry associations. Why? This required structural changes for buying services within the $350 billion marketing and communications industry. As a result, we’re still pursuing a direction that proves inefficient and ineffective. But there is a clear and better way forward.

After five years of weathering the total market topic storm, my team and I sought to uncover why there is resistance to innovation and provide clarity on the topic, while committing resources to providing educational leadership. To identify industry best practices, we conducted over 50 interviews and observations with leading brands, agencies and collected data at conferences and through many hours of desk research. With our inaugural “State of the Total Market Industry Vertical Report,” our goal was to help others truly understand and apply the principles needed for their best employee and consumer outcomes.

If we do not get the total market topic right, businesses could lose the next 50 years of buying consumption. Why? Statistics show that the entire human race is going to flip generationally, racially, ethnically, religiously and in terms of gender, creating a new marketplace and workplace. Therefore we should stop using dated service models, and companies should have new ways of creating value in the new workplace and marketplace.

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.

Based on our report findings, employees within major brands are two generations culturally removed from consumers. Most big companies culturally reflect a monocultural society or a homogeneity, whereas, culturally in America, there is the debate about moving away from multicultural society to either cross-cultural or poly-cultural society.

Because of the macro cultural and population shift, accept that this is just as much of an employee (workplace) outcome as a consumer (marketplace) outcome. In order for this to work, it has to start internally and then impact externally. You have to have the talent within the organization to fully comprehend and execute the total market approach for the new marketplace and the total market enterprise approach for the new workplace. This starts with education.

This is not a quick sales lift action. If you are attempting to use the total market approach for marketplace results, focus first on strategy, then execution. Many in advertising and marketing have tried using this approach without any strategic planning or outside help. There is now a graveyard of brands that rushed into this only to have discovered their organization was not mature enough. They’ve reverted back to the old and ineffective models. You don’t have too.

Expect some structural changes. For more than 60 years, brands and their service providers have allocated resources and funding under the model of “separate but equal,” meaning mass and multicultural audiences are equal. As multicultural audiences are increasingly the mass audience, this presents a fundamental opportunity about how to restructure budgets, partnerships and departments to accelerate growth within this new marketplace and workplace.

Be honest with yourself and your organization to drive structural change and transformation. Organizations first have to identify and accept where the gaps exist in understanding and acting within the new marketplace and workplace. This requires you to assess your organization.

We are committed to transforming the work and marketplace and are partnering with Campaign US to share our findings over the next several months. Our ambition is to make a difference for the future of the work and marketplace and redirect the industry towards a better way forward. Please join us and #CLOSETHEGAP.

—Jeffrey L. Bowman is an author, and president and CEO of Reframe: The [Brand] – A Business Acceleration Platform.

1 comment:

AllGood said...

This guy can talk about Total Market or Cross Cultural all he wants, but the end result (years after Pepper Miller correctly predicted it) is that there are fewer black and brown minorities, not more, in American advertising as a result.

The minority agencies that specialized in ethnic advertising made a little too much money for the holding companies' liking, and so they took those crumbs away from them.

They either bought the minority agencies and starved them so they coughed up the crumbs and gave them to the holding companies' favored "General Market" agencies, or the holding companies flat out lied and said they had deep multicultural/Total Market/Cross Cultural abilities and took all the crumbs in-house.

The few Black ad agencies left, starved, got kind of slimy in order to stay afloat, cutting corners and quality.

The Asian-American ad agencies had to start doing twice as much work, in twice as many languages, for much fewer crumbs than they used to in order to stay afloat.

The Latino agencies hired people from abroad for pennies, charged brands dollars, kept the difference to stay afloat and froze out American minorities completely. Plus opened up a can of corruption and payoff and scam ad worms, causing even more of their agencies and accounts to shutter because how you do business in Latin America/Brazil is much slimier than in America.

Somehow the white LGBT agencies are doing OK and more are opening, not less, because white clients and white brands are just fine with dealing with white "minorities." As long as they are white.

That's the actual state of the industry right now. There is no Total Market or Cross Cultural, there are just dying ethnic ad agencies gasping for breath because they've been starved to death. Fewer Black men are working in advertising than 5 years ago, and the only "diversity" making progress is diversity that benefits white women, white LGBT, and now white old people on the horizon because ageism (affecting white people) is so much more urgent than any of the issues listed above.

And who pays the price? Our brand clients, because they're getting fed constantly uninspired recycled hip hop ads and ads featuring rainbow colored multiethnic families (but no one too dark)