Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Leading the Future of Electronics in the Multicultural Marketplace

Our Spring 2011 national online multicultural consumer data shows that Latinos and other emerging minorities are not only leading in online presence with blogs and websites, but also in their use of gadgets that reflect the future of communications.

To my surprise Hispanics who responded in English lead both in their current ownership of electronic book readers and electronic tablets. Those who responded in Spanish are the most aspirational indicating they plan to have one of each within next year. In general, all minority groups have a higher incidence of current ownership and of the aspiration to own these devices.

Why is this surprising? It is surprising because even though all these respondents are online, it has traditionally been assumed that Latinos and other minorities read less than non-Hispanic Whites, and that their lesser affluence prevents them from innovating. That does not seem to be true at all. When online, these minorities appear to favor new interfaces to be exposed to reading content. The same is true regarding tablets. Tables overlap with electronic book readers to some extent but open ample possibilities for the exploration of multiple types of content and interactivity.

Why is this important to marketers? I think that these findings are enormously symptomatic of the eagerness of Latinos and other emergent minorities to own new technologies. Thus they are more likely to lead and further consolidate their position as innovators in the digital era. Marketers should consider paying more attention to these groups since they are the ones more apt to serve as role models to others in the use of new technologies.

In the classic distribution of innovativeness roles, minorities appear to have a higher incidence of those who take risks and try new technologies first. These are the people who others will look up to and follow. Emerging minorities should now be considered the leading edge in technology adoption. Online and off-line media strategies should consider closely the messaging that is more likely to resonate with these culturally diverse groups.

These findings highlight where marketing emphasis should be placed. And that is not just for the technology itself but also for the content that needs to be made available via these devices.

The data for this study was collected during March 2011. This online sample was comprised of 500 respondents per segment, for a total of 2,500, based on quotas by gender, age, and geographic location. DMS Insights managed the sample and data collection and they graciously contributed their effort to the academic program of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at Florida State University. This study was conducted by the faculty and students of the graduate Multicultural Marketing Communication course offered by FSU.