MarTech Interview with Derek Chew, CEO of Fullmoon Digital

Find strategies for marketing agencies to deepen connections with multicultural consumers by understanding culture beyond race and ethnicity.

Derek, please tell us how can marketing agencies enhance their understanding of culture beyond race and ethnicity to connect with consumers on a deeper level and tap into the surging purchasing power of multicultural consumers.

Understanding culture goes beyond race and ethnicity; it’s about immersing oneself in the experiences, beliefs, values, and lifestyles of the consumer mosaic. To connect with multicultural consumers, agencies should engage in continuous learning, seek diverse voices, and be present in their spaces. It’s crucial to approach this journey with a humble, open mindset, unlearning preconceived notions and biases.

Marketers need to be like a blank slate, absorbing new outlooks authentically to foster a deeper connection with varied audiences. This involves shedding biases and opening to the knowledge and experiences that multicultural communities offer. Only then can campaigns truly resonate, bridging gaps and building lasting relationships based on genuine understanding and respect.

It’s about understanding the nuances, the history, and the evolving dynamics of different cultural identities and reflecting that understanding in every campaign.

In what ways do you believe the lack of cultural representation in online advertising hinders consumer trust, and what strategic measures can be taken to rebuild trust and foster inclusivity in marketing?

The absence of cultural representation in online advertising erodes consumer trust, creating a disconnect between brands and sundry audiences. To rebuild this trust, brands must shift from superficial inclusivity to meaningful representation. This crucial transition involves steering clear of tokenism, which merely checks diversity boxes without meaningful engagement. Authentic representation is not just about showcasing diverse faces; it’s about weaving in the true stories and experiences of varied societies.

Building consumer trust requires sustained efforts in understanding and representing diverse cultures, reflecting genuine respect and commitment to inclusivity in every aspect of advertising. This deep, thoughtful approach ensures that diversity is not just visible but integral and respected in the brand’s narrative.

Could you share some innovative strategies that marketers can employ to disrupt the current trend of underrepresentation in online advertising and better reflect the diverse U.S. population?

To challenge the status quo of underrepresentation, marketers must embrace a proactive and innovative approach that includes utilizing data to understand assorted audience segments, fostering collaborations with creators from underrepresented communities, and ensuring varied representation in the creative process.

Innovative strategies also involve using technology to identify and address biases in advertising and crafting campaigns that celebrate and reflect the true diversity of the U.S. populace.

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What specific steps do you recommend for brands to authentically incorporate diversity and inclusion in their online advertising, moving beyond surface-level representation?

Firstly, we must release the notion that because we think something is a good idea, hilarious to all, or relatable to anyone, then it must be so. Ego takes a big hit here because when advertisers fail their audiences or promote an insensitive campaign, it’s easy to get defensive. However, true growth in advertising comes from embracing these moments as opportunities for learning and reflection. By acknowledging where our understanding may be limited, listening to the feedback, and being willing to learn, we engage in essential steps. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, but the path to successful advertising is built on humility and a willingness to adapt.

From there, legitimate integration of diversity and inclusion in advertising demands introspection and commitment. Brands must align their core values with the narratives they portray. This means not only forming diverse creative teams but also engaging in genuine dialogue with a plethora of communities. It requires ensuring that inclusivity, along with true expertise and insight, are present in all stages of the campaign development.

Through this approach, we acknowledge our limitations and open ourselves up to angles that can transform our campaigns. This is the only way to create content that resonates deeply with all audience segments, reflecting a genuine understanding and respect for the richness that is all of the human experience.

How does Fullmoon Digital measure the effectiveness of its diversity and inclusion initiatives in online advertising, and what adjustments are made based on the outcomes?

At Fullmoon Digital, we measure the effectiveness of our diversity and inclusion efforts through both quantitative and qualitative methods. We analyze engagement metrics, customer feedback, and changes in brand perception.

Internally, we assess the diversity of our team and their input in creative decisions. Based on these insights, we continuously refine our strategies to ensure our campaigns are not only inclusive but also resonate effectively with mixed audiences.

Considering the evolving consumer landscape, how crucial is it for marketing agencies to go beyond cultural and racial segments and connect with customers based on transcendent fears, motivations, and desires?

There’s no getting around it; in today’s dynamic consumer landscape, marketing agencies must transcend traditional demographic segments and connect with consumers on a deeper, more personal level. In practice, this looks like recognizing and addressing universal human emotions and experiences, while not discounting the unique cultural nuances of different audiences. Such a holistic approach fosters a deeper, more meaningful connection with consumers.

With consumers feeling inadequately culturally represented in online advertising, how can marketing strategies be adapted to address the gap and resonate more authentically with diverse audiences?

To bridge the gap in cultural representation, marketing strategies must evolve to include active listening and genuine engagement. This involves creating content that is not only culturally sensitive but also resonant with unique experiences and values. By authentically representing various sociopsychological narratives, marketers can create campaigns that truly resonate with all.

In your opinion, how does a diverse team contribute to the proficiency of decision-making in marketing agencies, and what role does diversity play in capturing new markets?

Diverse teams enrich decision-making with a range of mental frameworks, leading to more innovative and inclusive marketing strategies.

At Fullmoon Digital, we value diversity as a key to understanding and capturing new markets. A diverse team brings nuanced insights into different cultures and experiences, which is crucial for crafting campaigns that resonate and foster connection.

To embrace the new reality of a more multicultural and diverse society, what specific changes or adaptations do you believe organizations should make in their marketing strategies to connect with people of all backgrounds?

There is no singular answer. To effectively connect with a multicultural society, organizations must adapt their marketing strategies to be more inclusive and representative of diverse cultures. This includes understanding and respecting the unique cultural nuances of different audience segments and ensuring that these nuances are reflected in marketing campaigns. Embracing cultural diversity in marketing is not just a moral imperative but also a business necessity.

A basic fix that organizations should actively seek is partnering with cultural consultants and influencers from various lifestyles. These collaborations can offer invaluable insights and lend authenticity to marketing efforts. Additionally, incorporating multilingual content and culturally relevant symbols aids campaigns in speaking directly to diverse audiences in the language and manner they relate to.

Diversifying creative teams is crucial to evaluating campaigns through multiple perspectives, reducing the risk of cultural insensitivity or myopia. Training existing staff in cultural competence can also be instrumental. Consider creating segmented marketing strategies for different cultural groups, acknowledging uniqueness while aligning with brand values.

Lastly, it is important to establish feedback mechanisms to gauge the effectiveness and reception of multicultural marketing campaigns. This could involve social listening tools, customer surveys, and focus groups. Regularly reviewing and adapting strategies based on this feedback ensures continuous improvement and relevance in a rapidly evolving multicultural landscape.

Diversity within a team pushes everyone to consider different viewpoints. Could you provide examples or insights into how diverse perspectives contribute to the success of marketing campaigns?

Various perspectives bring a richness of ideas and insights, challenging conventional thinking and fostering innovation. For instance, at Fullmoon Digital, diverse team input has led to more empathetic and culturally nuanced campaigns, resulting in deeper engagement with our audience. Embracing diversity in our team has been key to our success in creating campaigns that resonate with a wide array of consumers.

We encourage our team to speak up when something doesn’t feel right — we practically beg for it. If concerns aren’t brought into the light, they can fester like unseen infections. Diversity and inclusion issues grow beneath the surface, quietly eroding the integrity of our campaigns and team dynamics. It’s in these moments that trust, psychological safety, and true leadership come together in our vibrant work environment.

By encouraging open dialogue and addressing concerns head-on, we prevent these issues from undermining our efforts and ensure that our commitment to diversity and inclusion remains strong and effective. This proactive approach is crucial in maintaining a workplace culture that is not only inclusive but also vigilant and responsive.

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Derek Chew, Founder and CEO of Fullmoon Digital

Derek Chew is the Founder and CEO of Fullmoon Digital. A former early Yahoo! employee where he cut his teeth in digital marketing. Fullmoon Digital is one of the few 100% independent digital marketing agencies in the United States. The firm is cross-functional with deep experience in SEO, digital strategy, programmatic, analytics, performance marketing, paid media, social advertising, and creative. They push the envelope of what is possible in terms of marketing and technology, all the while providing best-in-class digital marketing service to their “pack” of clients. LinkedIn.
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