GrowthFronts 2024: Multicultural Marketing Recap & Insights

Published on April 22, 2024

In February, Q.Digital participated in the Alliance for Inclusion and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) GrowthFronts conference in New York. GrowthFronts has quickly become the beacon of multicultural marketing, guiding brands and entrepreneurs toward diversity-driven success, transforming into the quintessential event for a burgeoning community of diverse television ventures in just two years.

What is AIMM?

Established in 2016, Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) is a coalition of entities from the entire marketing ecosystem, representing the Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and LGBTQ+ markets. AIMM members are focused on re-prioritizing multicultural and inclusive marketing to help companies maximize their growth potential. AIMM has been the catalyst for unprecedented industry research examining multicultural marketing opportunities and the obstacles that stand in the way of optimal growth. 

This year’s conference witnessed a remarkable surge in participation, signifying the event’s escalating prominence and relevance. From insightful presentations to thought-provoking panel discussions, GrowthFronts 2024 proved to be a transformative experience for all involved.

Noteworthy Highlights

Q.Digital Founder and CEO Scott Gatz’s panel– “Moving beyond 2023 to the business of growing brands with LGBTQ+-owned media” offered insightful takeaways for brands looking to grow with LGBTQ+-owned media in 2024 and beyond. Despite the challenges faced by some brands in 2023, it was highlighted as the best year historically at Q.Digital, with zero campaign cancellations. This success was attributed to the power of diverse-owned media and segments in driving business, with hundreds of brands standing firm in their Pride campaigns despite occasional criticism.

Several brand success stories from 2023 were shared, notably General Motors’ effective engagement with the LGBTQ+ market through brands like Chevy, OnStar, and Cadillac. The emphasis was on delivering LGBTQ+-specific creative that authentically resonated with the diverse audience, highlighting the importance of understanding the intersectionality within the community.

A critical theme throughout the discussion was the need for genuine engagement with the LGBTQ+ community. Mere token representation was discouraged, with an emphasis placed on fostering meaningful conversations and understanding the community’s values. Gatz emphasized that long-term brand loyalty within the LGBTQ+ community surpasses 70%, highlighting the significant return on investment for brands that authentically engage.

Challenges with programmatic advertising were also addressed, with Gatz likening it to the “wild west” and stressing the importance of user safety and genuine dialogue with the community. Q.Digital offered solutions through custom content creation and collaboration with brands to ensure messaging resonated authentically. Ultimately, the panel underscored the importance of staying true to corporate values, even if not immediately recognized, as the LGBTQ+ community overwhelmingly supports brands that support them authentically.

Far left: Carlos Santiago, AIMM co-founder and president of Santiago Solutions Group

Another standout moment of GrowthFronts 2024 was the compelling address by Carlos Santiago, AIMM co-founder and president of Santiago Solutions Group. Santiago underscored the critical need for investment in cultivating a dedicated and enduring customer base. “We need to escalate our efforts and intensify our commitment,” insisted Santiago, highlighting the imperative for action. He also announced AIMM and its parent organization, the Association of National Advertisers, will closely monitor activity in ad revenues among multicultural/LGBTQ+ community-owned media ventures, with regular updates slated for release.

GrowthFronts showcased engaging discussions with influential figures like Rosie Perez, who emphasized the importance of strong partnerships with diverse content creators. Other speakers, such as Eric Austin from Procter & Gamble and David Kenny from The Nielsen Company, echoed this message, highlighting the vital role of a diverse media ecosystem. Austin, P&G’s Global Media Vice President, revealed that 50 percent of their revenue growth last year was driven by multicultural consumers. He remarked, “We have some brand success stories, and there is still ample opportunity ahead of us.”

The redesigned format of this year’s event, with panels in the mornings and exclusive meetings in the afternoons, was exceptionally successful. This streamlined schedule led to a significant increase in interactions, with the number of meetings soaring from 500 in 2023 to an impressive 1,200-1,500 this year. This ensured that all attendees had abundant opportunities for valuable engagement.

Key Takeaways

Source: AIMM’s Second Annual Upfront Event is Closing the Gap Between Intention and Action by Increasing Access to and Equity for Diverse Media

The second annual AIMM GrowthFronts event showcased a pivotal shift in the industry’s approach to diverse-owned media, highlighting the urgent need for increased support. Despite a significant 9% growth in ad investments in diverse-owned media in 2023, these ventures still receive less than 2% of ad buys. This presents a compelling opportunity for expansion and increased equity in the media landscape.

Attendance at the event saw a substantial increase, with 75 diverse media entities participating compared to 40 in the previous year. This surge in interest underscores the event’s growing prominence and the industry’s eagerness to engage and forge partnerships in the multicultural marketing space. AIMM’s commitment to sustaining this positive trend is evident in its efforts to actively track and share data on advertising sales within multicultural and LGBTQ community-owned media outlets on a quarterly basis.

The impact of previous GrowthFronts was profound, with the 2023 event resulting in a 34% surge in ad spend for diverse media companies that participated. This equates to a collective incremental increase of $115 million for the 40 media entities alone, indicating that 72% of the industry media spend realized from 2022 to 2023 was generated from diverse media that participated in the event. AIMM’s ambitious goals for the industry, including increasing investment in diverse-owned media to 6.5% and in diverse-owned and targeted media to 4.6% of all ad spend by 2025, demonstrate a concerted effort to drive meaningful change and equity in the media landscape.

Partner with Q.Digital for Pride Season and the Olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO – MAY 4, 2016: A gay pride rainbow flag hangs in front of Olympic Rings standing under bright blue sky. Source: Shutterstock

As we reflect on the illuminating insights garnered from AIMM GrowthFronts 2024, we at Q.Digital are excited to extend an invitation to advertisers looking to amplify their reach and impact during Pride Season and the Olympics. With our unwavering commitment to championing LGBTQ+ voices and our extensive network spanning diverse communities, partnering with Q.Digital promises unparalleled visibility and engagement opportunities. Join us in celebrating diversity, inclusion, and the spirit of unity as we embark on this transformative journey together.