Familiar Territory

Lynn Russo Whylly

As the multicultural market grows, both in size and disposable income, so does the need for help in reaching these consumers and converting them into valuable long-term customers. Marketers are learning that they can appeal to a multicultural audience by understanding the nuances, customs, and behaviors that define the various ethnic groups. To help them capitalize on the opportunity, many marketers are partnering with agencies that specialize in multicultural marketing.

How do you determine if a specialist agency is appropriate for you? What type should you look for, and how do you customize your search for a partner specializing in the narrowly focused expertise of multicultural marketing? Finally, how do you go about hiring a multicultural agency - or agencies - that matches your needs and objectives?

It may feel like unfamiliar territory to some, but conducting a multicultural agency search need not be a daunting task. “We engage in our multicultural agency search the same way we do in a general agency search,” says Marimé Riancho, the senior brand director, Hispanic markets, Heineken Equity at Heineken USA, Inc., based in White Plains, N.Y. “We use a pitch process with an RFP sent to a long list of agencies we are interested in.”