Thursday, November 14, 2013

11576: Is Total Market Total Bullshit?

The Big Tent featured columns by Chiqui Cartagena and Rochelle Newman-Carrasco on the latest Total Market mumbo-jumbo spewed at the annual ANA Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference. Um, given that Total Market has been fuzzily defined by cross-cultural cheerleaders as being distinct from multicultural marketing—with strong implications that Total Market is better than multicultural marketing—it seems a little silly for Total Market to be a major topic at the ANA Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference.

Based on the comments left at Cartagena’s column, not all minority marketers embrace the Total Market concept—or even understand it, for that matter. Multicultural marketing enthusiasts have already pooh-poohed cross-cultural marketing. The civil wars erupting among non-White adpeople appear to be growing daily.

Cartagena claimed that a majority of marketers are adopting Total Market strategies. According to Santiago Solutions Group CEO Carlos Santiago, about 54% of advertisers are executing Total Market theories on some level, with roughly 66% of the 54% insisting Total Market efforts were already showing positive market share results and return on investment. With all due respect, Cartagena and Santiago are probably wrong. In 2008-2009, ANA surveys showed the majority of advertisers were not engaged with minority marketing firms and multicultural marketing initiatives were underfunded, under-supported and unappreciated. Sorry, but adland has not dramatically evolved in the last five years—or the past 50 years.

Until Total Market translates to total slices of the marketing pie versus random crumbs, it’s just a new smokescreen designed to divert attention from the continued separate-yet-unequal conditions that minority professionals face and minority audiences receive. In short, it’s Total Bullshit.

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