Like it or not, marketing to minority groups is essential. It’s a touchy subject because it involves acknowledging that we aren’t all the same and we don’t all have the same interests. But that’s true of any group, even the various demographics of white consumers. Perhaps it’s just easier not to go there and risk offending someone, but according to a recent Ad Age report, marketers are increasingly shunning the 40 million-strong African-American market and missing out on more than $900 billion in potential revenue.
Marketers argue that targeting African-Americans doesn’t add value or that they speak English, but those are both poor arguments. If President Barack Obama’s historic presidential campaign and election wasn’t enough to convince marketers that African-Americans will respond en masse to messages that are designed to resonate with them, I don’t know what will. McDonald’s is one company that hasn’t ignored Black consumers. According to Carol Sagers, marketing director for McDonald’s USA:
“Do you believe one size fits all? Intuitively, you don’t. African-Americans have nuances in lifestyle and nuances in language and culture that should be used to leverage communication.”
But like white consumers, there are dozens of unique demographics within the African-American market. It will be interesting to see which companies are able to capitalize on the buying potential of Black consumers by effectively identifying and communicating with those niche groups. (Hint: It takes more than a photo featuring Black faces and a reference to rap music or Martin Luther King.)