Warc Blog

Walmart takes new approach

1 November 2012
NEW YORK: Walmart, the retail giant, is committing substantial extra resources to advertising targeted at multicultural consumers, demonstrating the key role this audience will play in driving future growth.

Speaking at an event run by the Association of National Advertisers, Tony Rogers, Walmart's senior vice president, brand marketing and advertising, argued this move reflected a vital in-store trend. (Warc subscribers can read a more detailed report regarding Rogers' presentation here.)

As reported by AdAge, he stated that "100% of the [sales] growth is going to come from multicultural customers ... Our spending against multicultural customers will grow by at least 100%."

More broadly, Walmart is attempting to ensure that its efforts to serve these consumers must feature in all its operations, as well as providing relevant staff training.

Elsewhere, the organisation is establishing precise metrics covering its activities in this area, and regularly monitoring and discussing the payback from all programmes. "There's an education process and a score-keeping process," said Rogers.

"You know every Monday morning you're going to have a conversation about multicultural. It's on your performance review objectives, and it's on mine ... People may have three or four objectives, and multicultural is one of those things."

Additional recent initiatives undertaken by Walmart incorporate setting up an advisory council that convenes each month, and which features in-house executives and those from its agencies.

The agencies represented include Lopez Negrete Communications, a Hispanic marketing specialist, GlobalHue, focusing on African-Americans, and IW Group, fulfilling the same role for Asian-Americans.

Attempts to change its existing approach were stimulated by an ad in last year's Latin Grammy Awards that failed to mention Walmart's "layaway" scheme, letting buyers spread the cost of payment, and the subject of a major push at the wider level.

"Layaway was the straw that broke the camel's back," said Rogers. "The layaway team was working hard on layaway. The multicultural team was working hard on the Latin Grammys and not going to the layaway meetings. That was a real eye opener for me."

Walmart is also seeking to increase the emphasis placed on diversity among its suppliers, from production crews working on ads to brand owners.

"We had a supplier who was convinced their audience was Caucasian women," Rogers said. "We were able to show them that 40% of their business came from multicultural consumers."

Data sourced from Walmart; additional content by Warc staff

 
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