A New Survey Shows Distinct Ways To Reach Minorities

A new study shows that understanding the differences among America's diverse population is critical to developing effective marketing campaigns. This week Forrester Research released "Marketing to America's Ethnic Minorities," a Consumer Technographics report that identifies key differences in technology adoption, media consumption, and receptiveness to marketing among Asians, blacks, English-speaking Hispanics, and whites. The survey of 54,817 U.S. households found that income does not necessarily determine what technology someone invests in and what influences them to purchase it. "One of the most striking things is that there are a lot of difference across the group that go beyond income," says Jed Kolko, principle analyst with Forrester Research and author of the report. "It's too easy to assume that because Asians are the wealthiest group, followed by whites, that they are the target audiences for high-tech devices. That is not true. We see a higher adoption and usage from Hispanics and African-Americans." Other key findings in the report state that while owning devices is correlated to income level, there are other factors, including having children and how motivated people are by entertainment that influences decisions. Whites were at the bottom of the heap when it comes to those likely to buy a desktop computer in the next 12 months. Fifteen percent of blacks are likely to buy a desktop computer in the next year, compared with 7 percent of whites, 11 percent of Asians, and 11 percent of Hispanics. In addition, Hispanics are more likely to purchase entertainment-based devices like MP3 players, video game consoles, and digital video camcorders, even though they earn $16,100 less than whites, the report states. The study also focused on which groups are online, and concluded that Internet access remains unbalanced because of income and education differences among races. Forty-two percent of blacks and 57 percent of Hispanics are online, compared with 67 percent of whites and 79 percent of Asians. Email is still a driver to get people online, but each group also goes online for different reasons. Multimedia activities like downloading music, software, and video are more prevalent among Asians, while Hispanics engage in communications like photo sharing and instant messaging. When it comes to marketing, Asians, blacks, and Hispanics are more likely to rate personalization and ad relevance as important features of online content sites. "It's not that they want to see themselves represented in ads, they are looking for clues or suggestions that the company values them and understands products they are looking for," Kolko says. "It's like advertisements that show same sex couples. Whether it's a subtle or ambiguous representation, its an important clue to that community. Advertisers call it gay vague. These groups want to know they are valued, but they are also highly sensitive to pandering." Blacks and Hispanics find advertising more entertaining and trustworthy than others do and are more likely to watch TV commercials. Just 32 percent of whites say they watch TV advertisements, while 54 percent of blacks and 42 percent of Hispanics pay attention to TV ads. And blacks are twice as likely as Hispanics and whites to purchase a product because the company sponsors family or educational programming.
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