We spoke with Mario Carrasco, co-founder and principal of ThinkNow, a technology driven cultural insights agency, about the intersection of zero-party data with the rise of the multicultural consumer.
ThinkNow enables companies and government agencies to discover the cultural drivers that influence consumer decisions. They provide insight solutions to help organizations thrive in a changing demographic environment. During his twelve-year tenure at ThinkNow, Carrasco’s expert knowledge of multicultural consumers and his passion for unveiling the story behind the numbers is evident in his editorial contributions to Forbes, eMarketer, Quirk’s Magazine, Online MR Magazine, and MediaPost.
We discussed the industry shifts that are happening as cookies are phased out along with the rise in multicultural populations in the United States. Mario offers some ideas for navigating a cookieless world, and shares tips for brands looking to connect with multicultural consumers.
Mario kicks off the conversation by sharing the most important thing he’s going to talk about: “the intersection of technology, AI, data privacy, all coming in convergence with the rise of multicultural consumers in the U.S.” He continues by saying, “as concerns around data privacy have started to grow among consumers, you see companies start to react to those concerns by rolling out more and more strict data policies.” This is a significant shift in the industry, especially for digital advertising. For an analogy to the market research industry, Mario shares that it’s like “if we did away with being able to collect demographic information from panelists.”
“Marketing at its core is about connecting with people’s culture and values,” shares Mario. Regarding demographic changes in the U.S., Mario says, “a lot of the cultural cues and values that we’ve relied on historically are shifting…For marketing that means really shifting how we think about consumers, what they value, cultural background.” The youngest consumer generation, Gen Z, is “the most multicultural generation in US history, and we’ve never experienced a demographic shift like that in any generation.” There are big implications from a marketing standpoint and a market research standpoint.
“I see these two trends happening simultaneously,” says Mario, about the intersection of zero-party data and the rise of the multicultural consumer. He continues by saying “marketers have to grapple with these two paradigm shifts at once. A lot of marketers might see it as a scary thing, but I actually think it is an opportunity for us to think in a fresh, innovative way of how to address both of these changes, in a new way.” Mario says, “there’s no such thing as ‘one message for all.’”
When examining how survey data could address a cookieless world, Mario shared that his company realized “if we utilize survey data, our multicultural panel, and regularly research people, then we can give media buyers not only accurate data, but data that is GDPR and CCPA compliant. At the same time, help them reach multicultural consumers that are very difficult to reach right now.”
“For companies to future-proof themselves and grow, they need to understand the new diverse, multicultural consumers,” shares Mario. “I think it’s never too late to start investing in multicultural consumers, and bolstering your brand among this generation.” Mario’s biggest advice to brands is: “It’s so much more important to get started in your multicultural research journey than to never do it. Because down the line, you’re going to have to do it, and you’re going to be regretting that you didn’t start when you initially thought about it.”