NEW YORK: Although ethnic marketing budgets are on the rise, many corporations are still missing the boat when it comes to reaching minority consumers.
NEW YORK: Although ethnic marketing budgets are on the rise, many
corporations are still missing the boat when it comes to reaching
That was the main finding of a study conducted by New York-based
Multicultural Marketing Resources (MMR) and Woodland Hills, CA-based
Erlich Transcultural Consultants (ETC), which polled 43 opinion leaders
on the current state of the multicultural marketing industry.
More than three-quarters of respondents predicted that consumer
marketing firms will increase marketing to ethnic consumers over the
next five years.
While nearly half said that marketers will boost ethnic budgets 25% or
more over the next five years, only four respondents (9%) saw budgets
flat or decreasing.
The findings are not surprising as the sheer size of the ethnic market
makes it impossible to ignore. The US Hispanic population has grown 38%
to 31 million since 1990, while its buying power has increased 67% to
dollars 356 billion during the same span. There are about 11 million
Asians in the US, while the disposable income of blacks has increased
54% since 1990.
Despite these numbers, many respondents expressed difficulty in getting
a commitment to ethnic marketing from top management. In addition,
impediments that impact the PR industry as a whole - measuring
return-on-investment, tight budgets, recruitment and retention - have
also hindered the growth of ethnic marketing.
Moreover, some corporations touting their ethnic campaigns have made
only token efforts in the area. While MMR president Lisa Skriloff
believes a token effort is better than no effort at all, ETC president
Dr. Andrew Erlich doesn’t agree. ’It’s one thing to talk about it, but
it’s another thing to have an internal champion (within the company),’
he said. ’It isn’t a question of niche marketing. It’s a question of
survival in the future, and the future is now.’
Added Skriloff, ’The job of overseeing ethnic marketing is often given
to someone not qualified, and the campaign is not given its own budget,
so you have to fight other departments to get anything done.’
Michelle Flowers, president and CEO of Chicago-based Flowers
Communications, said corporations are aware of the growing ethnic
market, but that things won’t improve until purse strings are
’Even as the (ethnic) consumer base grows, the dollars to reach that
base don’t grow,’ she said. ’I have to do more and more with the same
dollars. I think that they’re making legitimate efforts, but they don’t
appropriate the right dollars to it.’
Next year’s US census should provide the final kick for those
corporations still dragging their feet, the authors said. In the end,
most agreed that a rising tide will lift all boats. ’You’re going to see
more people coming to the party,’ Erlich said.