Special Report on Multicultural Marketing:
Direct mail also has been growing considerably over the past few years, according to Lamont Stanley, CEO of direct mail marketing firm KLS Media Group in Lithonia, Ga., who has developed campaigns for clients including Ebony and Essence magazines. “I think the reason why [direct marketers] are using direct mail is they can enhance their electronic media, measure response and it’s more cost effective,” says Stanley. “Direct mail is not as sexy as radio and television—it’s not as glamorous. But the bottom line is it works and can definitely save advertisers a lot of money. And the way the economy is right now, people are trying to pinch dollars and make sure their dollars are well-invested,” explains Stanley.
Guidelines for Reaching the Market
As with any audience, basic marketing rules and principles apply to reaching the African American market. But there are a number of unique considerations that can help marketers deliver focused messaging to which the audience likely will respond.
1. Get to Know Your Market. Taking the time to understand your market—who they are and what they want and need—seems fundamental, but is key in connecting with African Americans. Consider their lifestyle and values, and be culturally relevant in your messaging by recognizing holidays and cultural observances.
“You really have to understand the consumer—understand their aspirations, understand how they live their lives, understand their value systems,” says Buford. “[Your brand] can play a very different role in the life of African Americans than it does in the life of the general market.”
2. Be Authentic. Be authentic in your messaging in order to build credibility with your market. Use appropriate language, references and imagery; avoid the use of stereotypes or generalizations. “You want it to look like someone from within the African American mindset and experience created it,” says Buford. “Authenticity is especially important.”