What is “Total Market”?

March 6, 2014

By Bill Duggan

There’s been a lot of buzz in the marketing/advertising industry about “total market.” But what does that mean? At a recent ANA meeting with a group of multicultural marketing thought leaders, here’s what we heard from client-side attendees:

  • “Integration of marketing strategies that effectively target multiple segments (different cultures, generations, etc.).”
  • “Addressing the view of the market being communicated to, as one market, comprised of all the different ethnic groups that make up that universe.”
  • “Marketing to all consumers while including authentic cultural insights.”
  • “When companies develop an integrated marketing plan thinking and keeping in mind the total U.S. population from the very beginning – Anglos, Hispanics, African Americans, Asians. They develop a strategy that speaks to all audiences.”
  • “Leveraging a universal insight to inform strategy/campaigns.”
  • “Undefined universe.”
  • “Consumer population inclusive of all segments and linked by human insights.”
  • “As of today, total market would be every market within a specific region.”
  • “Plan and strategize by starting with consumer needs and allocating resources by segment significance and opportunity. Media plans would be defined by best performing outlets, regardless of if they are Hispanic, Asian, or African American.”
  • “Ethnic segments and multiculturally inclined non-Hispanic whites.”
  • “Finding a ‘universal truth’ to serve as the message for your communication across segments.”
  • “Active inclusion of multicultural consumers throughout the entire strategic process from insights to execution.”
  • “Total Market = Cross Cultural; Creative that stems from a universal truth and insight that transcends various cultures with appropriate executions, deeply resonating with its ethnic and general market audiences.”
  • “An active, holistic and integrated organizational practice that develops the entire strategy, incorporating diverse consumer insights and markets (as well as operates) with cultural and language relevance.”

The above perspectives came from an exercise at the start of a meeting where we asked attendees to write down their definition of “total market.”  Thanks to AHAA and the Cross-Cultural Marketing & Communications Association for helping to spark discussion at this meeting. ANA looks forward to working with the broader industry to help provide some guideposts on “total market” marketing and to also share relevant examples. We’d be very interested If there are examples out there that anyone would like to share.

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