Multicultural Retail – 360 Roses And Thorns

Multicultural Retail – 360 Roses And Thorns

To attend Multicultural Retail 360 is always fun. Recently rebranded from “Hispanic Retail 360” to “Multicultural Retail 360,” the event this year positioned itself as a broader venue to learn more about the ins and outs of multicultural retail and not just Hispanic retail.

“Refreshing it was,” as master Yoda would say, to catch up with a large number of industry colleagues over Montejo Micheladas and listen to the pain points as well as the success stories. Although I do not consider myself a critic, I have opinions, so I thought I would write today about my likes (roses) and dislikes (thorns) of the conference (at my own peril perhaps). Since there were several tracks (African American, Hispanic, Asian) I was not able to eat every dish so my “review” if I may be so bold, will be more like a restaurant review based on what I ordered, not the full menu. Just like a menu item, I will also keep it brief…à la Letterman top 10.

As we are frequently faced with the age-old question: “I have bad news and good news, which do you want first?” most people usually go with the bad first so let’s keep that framework


1. Casually observing the exhibit hall, I felt manufacturer presence and support continued to be slim. I would hope to see more ethnic brands exhibiting their products. This is a great venue for retailers, agencies and manufacturers to come together yet the pickings were slim.

2. Yikes! It’s not 1995 when there was little information on the Hispanic market … we have Google now. So, ease up basic demographics content … maybe there should be one of those rules where you need to put $5 in a jar if you have more than one slide on Hispanic demographics.

3. Going strong, the word “journey” continues to surface too often, Although not necessarily a thorn of the conference, it’s still a pain point for the industry. Hispanic marketing, whether it’s shopper, advertising or promotions, more frequently than I would like it, seem to be at the “beginning of a never-ending journey.”

4. As the obsession with the use of the term “total market” continues, it feels more like a sign of insecurity. The definitions and re-definitions that a minute will revise are starting to feel defensive. Can we ban this term for a while? Can we instead use something like


1. Loved Nielsen’s session of a demand-based strategy framework. Wow, what a nice twist on multicultural strategy approach. “I’ll look at what you buy/use to figure out innovate product design and apply it to multicultural” – nicely done!

2. In second place, the NFL made a nice play explaining how a better organizational framework can infuse Hispanic marketing into the go-to-market framework. Strategic choices are also part of the playbook – well done. Marketing is about choosing what not to do.

3. Now, I learned something new! Geometry showed an interesting study leveraging Professor’s Geert Hofstede’s cultural global dimensions framework … very global, very Geometry, very nice.

4. Deftly executed, Univision/Acosta’s shopper study continued validating Hispanic shopper truths but also had some nice additions such as the social media and mobile usage statistics – good improvement.

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