The trend toward marketing to specific consumer bases in Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace continues to be phenomenally successful, even as the African-American consumer languishes as a reliably underserved segment of these marketing campaigns.
As Black consumerism and purchasing clout continue to grow, fortunately, large companies have finally done their research, gathered the facts and statistics and have started marketing specifically to their Black consumer base. And it is abundantly clear that companies must create ad campaigns that African-Americans can appreciate and identify with.
It is estimated that on-line growth among African-Americans during the next four years will climb to 56.4 percent. In order to reach this rapidly growing population of on-line shoppers, companies will have to engage them in a meaningful way.
Demographics will play a large role in these campaigns.
- A little over one half of the Black population is under 35 years of age.
- Approximately 30 percent of the population is under 18.
- "Boomers" round out the other 20 percent.
Younger people across the board are using social media as a way to connect with friends, research products, play games, download music, etc. They chat on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and they visit YouTube in large volumes. "Boomers" tend to use the internet as a resource tool, getting the news and corresponding via email. The older generation tend to make fewer purchases online, but younger generations are incorporating internet use and social media into their daily lives.
Giving Back To The Community
Companies who support or "give back" to African-American causes are gaining the market share, while doing good at the same time. This is a win-win situation for advertisers and communities alike, since consumers spend their dollars with companies with whatever they "identify" or feel are really interested in their causes.
HOME Depot has sponsored a $ 15,000.00 grant for repairs and improvements to be made on Black campuses.
Verizon has given away approximately $ 28 million dollars in grants to various causes and charities.
Wells Fargo Bank (formerly Wachovia) has been honoring African-American Entrepreneurs for the past four years in association with the National Black MBA Association.
Market with a message
American Airlines started the online travel site called BlackAtlas.com, realizing that there was a niche for black travelers, who wanted information on traveling from other black travelers and professionals.
In January 2010, Lexus announced its plans to launch a social media campaign specifically for African-American consumers, featuring Motown recording artist Ryan Leslie.
In August, 2010, Ford Motor Company launched a campaign featuring CBS Sports personality James Brown. Along with traditional media, a series of web videos have been produced showing the efforts and accomplishments of some of the African-American executives at the Ford Company. It should be noted that this ad campaign was presented by The Uniworld Group, an African-American advertising agency.
Social Media advertising is on the rise and it is a proven and effective way to market a specific group of consumers. Big companies are finally marketing to African-Americans in an engaging and meaningful way, and, despite still largely under-served by traditional and social media marketing, African-American consumers are quickly becoming the essential consumer base that they deserve to be.