Good Marketing is all about getting as specific as you can – with Mario Carrasco of ThinkNow (Live at SampleCon)
Mario Carrasco is a Co-Founder and Principal of ThinkNow, a technology-driven cultural insights agency that helps companies identify the cultural drivers that impact customer decisions. He dedicates his time to multicultural marketing research, one of the core topics in this episode.
Mario talks about the beginnings of ThinkNow, distinguishing its primary goals throughout its ten-year existence. He focuses on diversity and inclusion in the marketing sphere, adding that marketers should be culturally sensitive in order to do the right thing.
What will you hear?
You’ll learn more about the concept of diversity and inclusion in marketing approaches, especially when reaching multicultural customers. Mario also talks about specificity and authenticity, not only in marketing but also in mass media platforms, such as Netflix.
Patrick Comer meets Mario Carrasco in the newest episode of the Through Your Looking Glass podcast, where they talk about the essential topics of today – ResTech, diversity, and inclusion. Tune in to learn more about how these ideas are connected and what their role is in multicultural marketing approaches.
Name: Mario Carrasco
What she does: Mario is a Co-Founder and Principal of ThinkNow
Key Quote: “When we’re talking about ethnicity, the race is a construct. We know it’s not a real thing. What we’re
really talking about is culture. And the race is the best proxy that we have for culture. It is a proxy for culture and shared values.”
- Good marketing is about getting as specific as you can. Mario believes that specificity plays a vital role in marketing, as it helps marketers target the right customers. “I shouldn’t say marketing is becoming a niche. I should rephrase it. Good marketing is all about getting as specific as you can when you’re targeting your consumer. Specificity matters, and there’s something interesting that happens with specificity. […] That’s where marketing is going.”
- We have the opportunity to change the way marketing is seen. Mario claims that marketers can change the initial idea of marketing. However, their fear of change is what stops them from doing it. “I think, in our industry, we’re afraid of change. It’s human nature. At the end of the day, we’re businesses. If you can be more inclusive from a gender perspective, move away from binary content, you’ve just opened up the market. If you open up ethnicity, if you open up education, you’re growing the market. And we’re businesses. We want to grow.”
- Everybody can be a missionary from every perspective. Mario believes that ThinkNow’s mission is one of the reasons why companies changed their perspective, especially when it comes to conversations, whether with clients or co-workers. “One of the things I’m proud of is the tenure that we have; people stay with us. And I think a lot of it has to do with our mission. It resonates with people. And when I brought that up in the panel, I was a little worried about telling these businesses to be mission-oriented. However, our point makes it that everybody can be a missionary in every perspective
“I think the mass-market message has always been a myth. And I think we’re really seeing that.”
Who is Mario Carrasco, and What is His Mission in ThinkNow?
“I am Mario Carrasco, a Co-founder of ThinkNow. It’s going to be ten years [of ThinkNow] in February, and we’ve evolved throughout those ten years. When we first started, we did not want to build a panel like this. It wasn’t even a hundred percent to build a panel. We started as a consultancy focused on helping companies understand multicultural consumers. I have no background in market research like most of us. So I’m a marketer by trade. And I got into the sample industry by building what became one of the first nationally representative Hispanic panels.
People in the industry knew me as the go-to person for a Hispanic sample, but we built another panel. And that panel has evolved beyond the US/Hispanic. We’re now inclusive of African-Americans, Asians; we have several panels in Latin America. The panel makes up about 50% of ThinkNow’s revenue.
We recently launched the newest part of the business, which is ConneKt, an audience platform that’s taken all the data that we’ve done from a leadership perspective in the past ten years, put it into a big data environment, and made a cool UI. So we’re enabling marketers, specifically strategists that want to do multicultural research but that don’t have the budget and time. So we wanted to give them a tool that made their life easier.”
Open the door to Specificity and Authenticity in Marketing
“On the data side, it’s been a struggle to target ethnicity of any kind, much less just age and gender. And so, from an audience definition standpoint, a lot of brands are interested in this depth in your capabilities. All the events in 2020 have put an increased spotlight on ethnicity. But I think more broadly, marketing is now becoming a niche. In other words, good marketing is all about getting as specific as you can when you’re targeting your consumer.
When you think about Netflix, there are stories that maybe have nothing to do with our background. But they tell various specific stories that there’s something universal in specificity, and that’s where marketing is going. It’s an authentic story, and I think that’s where marketing is heading. It’s authenticity. I think the mass-market message has always been a myth. And I think we’re really seeing that. And I think the digital age, digital marketing programmatic, has enabled us to do personalization.
Our focus is ethnicity. But when we’re talking about ethnicity, the race is a construct. We know it’s not a real thing. What we’re really talking about is culture. And the race is the best proxy that we have for culture. It is a proxy for culture and shared values.”
“I believe diversity and inclusion and being culturally sensitive in marketing is the right thing to do from an ethical perspective.”
Diversity, Inclusion, and Being Culturally Sensitive in Marketing is the Right Thing to Do from an Ethical Perspective
“At the end of the day, we’re businesses. It’s great. If we can be more inclusive from a gender perspective, move away from binary content, we’ve just opened up the market. I believe diversity, inclusion, and being culturally sensitive in marketing is the right thing to do from an ethical perspective. But that’s not what we’re out there selling our clients. We’re selling, ‘Look, this is the future of your consumer. If you want to be relevant, 20/30, 20/40, 20/50, your brand is going to be more inclusive.'”
Every Company Can Be Mission-Oriented
“One of the things I’m proud of is the tenure that we have; people stay with us. And I think a lot of it has to do with our mission. It resonates with people. And when I brought that up in the panel, I was a little worried about telling these businesses to be mission-oriented. However, our point makes it that everybody can be a missionary in every perspective.
They hold a lot more power than they think in terms of telling the client, ‘Hey, you should ask this question this way.’ One of the things that I’m most proud of is reaching out to you, having these conversations, and putting out a standard because I think there’s fear out thereof, ‘I don’t know how I should ask this question.’ And one of the things that I wanted to do, and they said it was the first company we taught, was, ‘Let’s put out a standard, let’s put out a book.’ And more importantly than the actual question is how to have those sometimes difficult conversations with clients and the pushback that you’re going to receive. You can find that at insightsincolor.com. We have a whole website where you can download the guide that we worked on together.”