Multi-cultural research, strategy, and understanding is what Sima and Mario X. Carrasco, Co-Founder and Principal of ThinkNow Research, chat about on today’s podcast.
Mario worked in the early days of digital marketing, building online communities for MSN Latino, and didn’t know what a research panel was until researching it for a job interview for a closer-to-home job. He got his start in market research building what became the first national representative panels at Garcia Research.
As research numbers started pointing to the US becoming a minority-majority country in the near future, Mario realized there was a need for a market research company to be focused on multi-cultural consumers, and this is how his ThinkNow Research came about.
Mario is also the newest Board Member to join the SampleCon team!
Hispanic Market Research, Then and Now
In the early days of market research, particularly Hispanic research, companies were hesitant to use emerging technologies. Back then it was online, and now it’s mobile.
Mario has since learned that multi-cultural consumers, especially Hispanic consumers, are super tech-savvy, and applying all these innovative technologies to multi-cultural consumers has been his company’s ethos.
At the basic level of a potentially contentious conversation, it is consumers who are not non-Hispanic white, and traditionally that segmented into Hispanic, African American, and Asian, which are the largest cohorts of multi-cultural consumers in the US. These 3 groups comprise 40% of the US population and are expected to grow.
As a nation, non-Hispanic white birth numbers are down, and what drives the increase in multi-cultural population growth is US Hispanic births and Asian immigration.
“If I take an acculturation algorithm, it’s gonna say that I’m extremely acculturated.”
As the country is changing demographically, ThinkNow Research is dedicated to helping other companies interpret these fundamental changes from a marketing and purchasing standpoint.
Misconception of Acculturation
It’s interesting to see which cultural values that 1st and 2nd gen Latinos and Asians pick and choose.
There’s a misconception in acculturation in the marketing industry that the longer you’re in the US, the more “American” you become as if it’s a linear model.
“You never really think about acculturation until you have to form a human being and guide them through the process.”
Yes, you are integrating some aspects of the culture, but there are some things about your home culture (or your parent’s or grandparent’s culture) that are retained over time. It’s more like a bi-dimensionality that is happening.
Bi-Dimensionality Identity Measure
Mario’s company has done some work for The Journal for Cultural Marketing, where they developed a Bi-dimensional Identity Measure.
It essentially combines two scales, the American Identity Measure and the Ethnic Identity Measure. There are 15 total questions, and what they have discovered is that depending on your ethnicity, you’re going to be scoring differently across these different measures, as opposed to acculturation which assumes a linear progression the longer you’re in the US.
“I think one of the things that rips right through culture is social media.”
We should really be looking at what aspects of culture we’re retaining, in terms of home culture and what aspects we’re integrating from American culture.
The Do’s and Don’t of Multi-Cultural Marketing
“I think for me, personally, what I’ve realized about social media and the internet, in general, is that I’m actually able to connect with my culture in a way that I didn’t, pre-internet.”
Do your research beforehand, figure out who your consumer is and delve even deeper by defining that consumer within a subset.
Quick links to connect with Mario X. Carrasco:
Think Now LinkedIn
Think Now Facebook