Mark Suarez spent a decade doing marketing work for companies like McDonald’s, AAA. Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill and the Arizona Office of Tourism. While the 35-year-old worked on both general campaigns and campaigns targeted at the Hispanic market, he saw the need for a company that specialized in multicultural marketing and advertising.
“I think folks have tried to create a multicultural division or had a token person who oversees that segment of the marketplace,” Suarez said, “but the fact is that you need to build it out and have capabilities that are culturally relevant.”
To fill that void, Suarez teamed up with Bill Lavidge of The Lavidge Company to create Mosaic Multicultural, a full-service multicultural marketing agency based in Phoenix that provides multicultural advertising, interactive, public relations and marketing services.
“I looked at this as an opportunity to grow my own business in a multicultural market that makes a lot of sense,” Suarez said. “One of the keys that differentiates us is that most folks think of multicultural as a Spanish-language agency. We are more than that. The reality is that we are a multicultural market and multicultural society and we help our customers position their businesses for the long term.”
As a third-generation Puerto Rican who grew up in a diverse neighborhood in Michigan Suarez knows the multicultural market inside and out.
“My friends and I called ourselves the United Nations,” Suarez said. “There were African-Americans, Arabic, Puerto Ricans, Caucasians. If you look around at the Phoenix market today, we all really do live in a multicultural society.”
Suarez said the face of the market is only going to change.
“When you look at the next 10 years, almost 60 percent of the growth in Phoenix is going to come from the Hispanic market,” he said “However your business is doing today, you’re not going to be doing as well 10 years from now if you don’t embrace the new marketplace and learn who tomorrow’s consumers will be.”
Suarez said companies like McDonald’s and AAA and the telecommunications and automotive industries have improved their bottom lines by embracing the multicultural approach. Other industries, he said, need to catch up.
“Industries like healthcare are still trying to find their footprint,” Suarez said. “They are embracing it, but embracing it and acting on it are two different things. They have recognized the need is there, but it’s the ‘how?’ that gives them trouble. That’s where Mosaic fits it.”