Marketers Not Getting African-American Consumers
By George Anderson
Tom Joyner’s nationally syndicated radio show, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, reaches more than eight million primarily African-Americans consumers, in 115 markets so he knows a little something about connecting with this audience.
He also knows, he told USA Today, that many companies targeting African-Americans through mainstream advertising are making “a huge mistake.”
While acknowledging that mainstream media “works up to a point,” Mr. Joyner said, marketers should “specifically and unashamedly direct their efforts to an African-American audience.”
An example of this type of segment focus is clear, said Mr. Joyner, when you look at efforts made to attract Hispanic consumers.
“That’s very smart, and I understand. They (marketers) have to specifically reach out to the Hispanic market,” he said. “They don’t always understand the same is true for us. Look at all the black advertising agencies that have folded in the last couple of years because they are targeting us through mainstream agencies. I don’t see anything racial in it. They are just being stupid and making a huge mistake.”
Mr. Joyner also said it’s important to understand that what many perceive as advertising and other communications targeted to African-Americans are focused on a different audience altogether.
A case in point was Anheuser-Busch’s popular “Whassup” commercials. “The Whassup ad was not directed at the African American, but at the mainstream audience.” The spots, said Mr. Joyner were “going after that hip-hop generation, an attitude which crosses all ethnic lines. It’s not black people who are keeping hip-hop alive.”
Stereotypes about African-Americans’ media usage has real consequences that may result in marketers missing out on this nearly trillion dollar consumer market.
Many, according to Mr. Joyner, believe African-Americans are not using the Internet in great numbers. “Don’t let anyone fool you that black folks aren’t on the Internet. Oh, yes we are. … And it’s paying off.”
Moderator’s Comment: Is Tom Joyner correct in his view that marketers have yet to figure out the African-American consumer market and how to capture
it? What must retailers and other consumer marketers do to accomplish the goal of attracting and keeping African-Americans customers? –
George Anderson – Moderator