Multicultural Intelligence

Multicultural Intelligence:
Eight Make-or-Break Rules for Marketing to Race, Ethnicity, and Sexual Orientation
is available at:

Barnes & Noble
Paramount Books, as well as
NOOK and
Kindle e-reader.

ISBN-13: 978-0980174564
ISBN-10: 0980174562

1ST EDITION – © 2009 David R. Morse
2ND EDITION – © 2017 David R. Morse

Critics of this new book might argue the election of President Obama is proof that racial, ethnic, gender and sexual orientation barriers have been torn down, and marketing to these attributes isn’t all that important anymore. This book takes the position that instead of getting pushed to the background, multicultural segmentation needs to become more sophisticated, and take its rightful place–front and center.


With decades of experience in multicultural marketing, author David Morse reviews the history of marketing to black, Hispanic, Asian, and LGBT (mostly lesbian and gay) consumers. He explains how including appropriate cultural cues in advertising can build brand loyalty that will pay huge dividends. He also cautions that missing the mark with advertising that excludes or is culturally offensive can be a costly mistake.

Replete with scores of examples of campaigns that have been extremely effective, as well as those that have sparked outrage and boycotts, this book provides EIGHT basic rules that should guide you through the process of marketing as diversity becomes mainstream.

Recommended, for all levels of management and any student of marketing or advertising. Penn State, George Mason University and Florida State University utilize Multicultural Intelligence as a textbook in marketing courses. In addition, Rutgers University cites it as recommended reading in marketing syllabi.

Watch the video summary of the book here:

The first version of “Multicultural Intelligence” came out in 2009. It was a heady time. We had just elected, Barack Hussein Obama, our nation’s first black president. Immigration from Latin America was booming, as marketers scrambled to make sense of how to sell products and services to an increasingly diverse America. Six years before the Supreme Court came to recognize the wedlock of LGBTs, companies wrestled with how to approach this consumer group, if at all, given that repercussions from the Far Right might easily soon follow. America was in the midst of a democratic and social revolution, a world where the rules of marketing seemed dated, if not completely anachronistic.

Multiculturally speaking, America has come a long way since 2009. In many ways, thanks to the ubiquity of the cell phone and a rise in black activism, most prominently by Black Lives Matter, we have been exposed to seemingly one incident after another in which African Americans have been the victims of murder, often at the hands of police officers. As a result of the Great Recession, and more recently, the candidacy and presidency of Donald J. Trump, more Mexicans are leaving the United States than arriving, meaning that almost unequivocally, growth in the Hispanic market will come from those born in the United States. Beginning around 2013, the number of Americans approving of gay marriage reached a majority level, and advertising to the LGBTQ community has become commonplace, at least much more so than when the book was first launched. Additionally, with TV shows such as Fresh Off the Boat and Quantico, the representation of Asian Americans on TV has reached the highest levels ever, though we still have a long way to go.

We’ve also come a long way in terms of multicultural marketing. While the language wars as to which language – English, Spanish, or Spanglish – appear to be over, with Spanish being the clear loser, we’ve seen the rise of the Total Market strategy, which in my opinion, has led to more confusion than clarity. On television, Telemundo has emerged as a formidable competitor to Univision, while the future of television, as we know it, appears to be in jeopardy, with the rise of digital marketing and the ability for viewers to stream content according to their own whims and fancies. With the amount of data available on consumers increasing exponentially each year, marketers are finding new ways of understanding and targeting multicultural consumers as well as the white mainstream.

While the need to update the book to account for these cataclysmic changes was clear to me, it wasn’t until my friend Jeff Kulick, a professor at George Mason University, made that same suggestion that set me in movement. Jeff uses the book in his class on multicultural marketing. While the fundamental insights of the first edition remain relevant, he told me, so many of the references and examples, not to mention the absence of content on digital, make it seem outdated, particularly to his Millennial students. It is for Jeff and his students that I offer up this new edition.

Part I — Meet the New Americans
One: Melting Pots, Multiculturalism and Marketing to the New America
Two: Hispanic Americans
Three: African Americans
Four: Asian Americans
Five: LGBT Americans
Six: Post-ethnic America and People of Mixed Race

Part II — The Rules of Multicultural Marketing
Rule 1: Boost your MQ
Rule 2: Divide and conquer
Rule 3: Don’t trust the experts
Rule 4: Don’t let the joke be on you
Rule 5: Don’t get lost in translation
Rule 6: Push their buttons
Rule 7: Market on a wink and a prayer
Rule 8: Make up, don’t cover up

A refreshing balance between storytelling and strategic wisdom. Morse takes us on a journey into the hearts and minds of multicultural America. At the same time, he includes highly practical “how-tos” for marketers large and small to make sense of multicultural America from a business standpoint. A must read for anyone who is ready to embrace the reality of consumers today and well into tomorrow.”
–Rochelle Newman-Carrasco, President/CEO, Enlace Communications

David Morse speaks truth to power in this smartly written, comprehensive cultural marketing book. Morse’s no-nonsense layering of keen insights with history and facts unleashes new perspectives about America’s changing population. Get ready to take notes for that big presentation, because what you need is here!
–Pepper Miller, The Hunter-Miller Group, Inc. and author of What’s Black About It?

David delivers an easy to read and thorough understanding of the multicultural consumer. He provides prescriptive guidance by illustrating some who have succeeded and others who have made serious mistakes. An important read–I highly recommend it.”
–Jonathan Weiner, Vice President Consumer and Customer Strategy and Insights, Del Monte Foods

Click here for Multicultural Intelligence

An American Legacy: Racism, Nativism and White Supremacy

Click here for An American Legacy

Click here for Henry Kissinger and the Yom Kipper War