Marketing people are always looking at expanding the market. One of the best ways to do that is by targeting different groups in a society through their advertising, branding and marketing exercises. Yet, as this survey shows, it is surprising how they miss out on some of the biggest markets around them.
A survey conducted by Yahoo!, Mindshare and Added Value found that brands in the USA were not reaching out to ethnic minorities through digital advertising. Minority groups like African-American, Asian-American and Hispanics felt that digital advertising did not engage them. When asked to name three brands that did a good job in reaching out to them, they couldn’t name even one.
This is akin to brand blasphemy when one considers, as the report states, that ethnic minorities in the US represent $2.5 trillion in buying power.
The survey found out that “7 in 10 minorities say that ethnicity is a significant part of their identity.” As should be commonsense to all, each ethnic group has their own set of unique drivers that shape their ethnic identity. While the researchers found that music is the top driver for African Americans, political beliefs is what drove Hispanics while eating habits came first for Asians. Thus, the secret to reaching out to them, as the survey states, “understand what defines the ethnic group you want to connect with.”
The survey found that the top drivers of each ethnic identity are intertwined to their online content preference. It states, “Fifty-two percent of African-Americans look for music content online. Fifty-two percent of Hispanics turn to the Web for news, presumably related to their interest in politics. Fifty-five percent of Asians seek out restaurant content online.” Thus aligning multicultural messaging with content that the groups visit and creating branded content based on their known interests, would work wonder for brands wanting to reach out to them.
The research also found that targeting specific groups with categories that matter most to them works. E.g. the survey states that ethnic identity does not matter much when it comes to automotive, pharma or travel. Yet, in other categories it mattered quite a lot e.g. 62% African-Americans want health and beauty products targeted specifically for them while 53% Hispanics want targeting in entertainment and clothing products and Asians want the same in entertainment.
The survey gives some obvious tips for advertisers: in categories where ethnicity isn’t a big factor, diversity is the key to winning their confidence. For those where ethnicity is important it is important to make ads that speak directly to them while reflecting their ethnic values and avoiding stereotypes. As this article in Adage reflects, brands realize that multicultural marketing is a key to future growth.
This brings us to the question of marketing in the Middle East. ME is a much more diverse culture with different ethnic groups that the US is. And the marketing community her has mostly done a good job of finding out the lowest common denominator between the different groups and targeting them. However, what they need, as this survey suggests, is to go into specifics of different groups and target them directly. That will help them maximize profits in a slow economy.