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Musings from Geoscape’s “Multicultural Goes Mainstream” Summit in Miami

By Michael J. Weiss, Vice President of Marketing, Environics Analytics

This week, more than 150 people are participating in the 8th Annual New American Mainstream Business Summit in Miami, Florida.  The summit’s theme “Multicultural Goes Mainstream” reflects the booming ethnic populations in the U.S. By 2017, the population of the three largest ethnic groups—Hispanics, Asians and African Americans—will be nearly 121 million, or 34 percent of the population. Already, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the U.S., which explains why this year, the most popular name for newborns is José.  By 2040, ethnic groups will be the majority of all U.S. citizens and the country will be a “majority minority.”

The current geographic dispersion of Hispanics is bucking past trends. In 1990, most Hispanic immigrants settled in gateway states like California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. By 2012, however, majority concentrations will be found in 356 counties in states as far north as Minnesota, Montana and Washington. This booming population is driving greater consumption of a range of products favoured by Hispanic consumers: mobile phones, energy drinks, gum, low-sugar foods, casual dining restaurants and car and life insurance. But it’s also raising challenges for marketers trying to determine which language, message and offers to use to connect with Hispanics across the acculturation spectrum: from recent immigrants to the children of second-generation Hispanics who are more immersed in American culture than their grandparents. “We’re still at the beginning of multicultural marketing,” one speaker after another noted at the summit. “Analytics must take center stage to provide answers to these questions.”

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The Vice President of Marketing, Michael J. Weiss is responsible for increasing the awareness of Environics Analytics through media and marketing initiatives. An internationally known expert in geodemographics, he directed the naming and imaging of the PRIZM C2 and PRIZM CE clusters, and he has written three books, numerous articles, ads and data descriptions for EA products and services.

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