P&G’s Marc Pritchard sees a $1 billion growth opportunity

There's a ten-figure reason the CPG co. is investing in multicultural marketing, writes Ethnicity Matters' Howard Lichtman.


By Howard Lichtman

Procter & Gamble is not, and has never been, a client of mine. I am, however, a fan of their U.S. CMO, Marc Pritchard. He’s a major advocate of multicultural marketing, because he believes that reaching out to ethnic consumers is an engine of growth for his company.

I heard him speak at the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) 2019 Multicultural Marketing Conference in San Diego in November. He illuminated three key principles worth noting:

1. If you’re not doing multicultural marketing, you’re not doing marketing
2. Multicultural casting isn’t multicultural marketing
3. Don’t bolt it on – make it part of your DNA

Were his comments about the need for multicultural marketing simply platitudes or does he truly believe it, and if so, why?

In his presentation, Pritchard noted a recent study showing cultural marketing enhances brand perception by 2X, increases ad effectiveness 2 to 3X, and life-purchase intent by 2.7X. But because it’s a fact- and data-driven organization at the core, P&G wanted to confirm the findings, so it conducted a thorough internal investigation to see whether it was really worth the investment. The methodology was simple:

a) Measure the market share penetration with ethnic consumers currently by brand
b) Determine the performance gap by benchmarking their market share and consumption versus the national average among the general population
c) Look at user growth and sales growth among multicultural consumers
d) Calculate the gap to understand the size of the prize

P&G has invested in multicultural marketing in the United States for a number of years. As such, it’s not surprising that 17 of its top brands ranked first or second in those specific categories. The surprising part came from examining what the opportunity would be if it got multicultural consumers to match the spending of the general market: the size of the prize was close to $1 billion.

How many corporations have considered the lost sales opportunities within the multicultural arena?

One might argue that the imperative to do so is even stronger in Canada. One in five Canadians is foreign-born, a segment equivalent to the population of Quebec. Most corporations have a Quebec strategy and budget, but most do not have a multicultural strategy and budget. Most marketers understand that reaching out to the Quebec audience requires having sensitivities for the different cultural nuances. Why would it be any different for multicultural consumers?

The above analysis is based only on a current “snapshot in time.” Corporations are constantly striving for growth. So is our country. Canadians are facing a greying population as well as birth rates that are far lower than required to support the economy. By 2040, 25% of the population will be at least 65-years-old, representing an increase of 17% from today, according to the Conference Board of Canada. Baby Boomers, who make up the majority of seniors, have begun to retire, and their numbers continue to increase.

Over the next two decades, 13.4 million people are projected to leave the workforce, and only 11.8 million will finish school and join it. Currently there are just under four people working for every senior, but according to the C.D. Howe Institute, under a medium growth scenario, there would be just under three people working for every senior within two decades. That’s why immigration is a growth strategy for the government and the country.

And if immigration is a growth strategy for Canada, it has to be a growth strategy for corporations. The numbers speak for themselves. This year the government is expecting to receive 350,000 newcomers, plus an additional 570,000 international students, who have likely never heard of your brand. If that’s not a growth opportunity, I’m not sure where else you’re going to find one.

In your next 2020 planning session around driving growth, place a safe bet and start looking at the multicultural opportunity. Like P&G, you might find a billion-dollar opportunity.

Howard-LitchmanHoward Lichtman is a cofounder and partner in Ethnicity Matters, a multicultural marketing and communications agency.