September 2, 2015

Successfully Marketing Brands to African Americans

 Marketing Your Brand to African Americans

African Americans are the second largest minority group in the United States. Successfully marketing brands to African Americans requires that you understand this important segment of the population, their psychology and what motivates them.  In essence, any effective marketing plan should contain strategies and tactics to attract black Americans and keep their attention on your brand.

The truth is, African Americans are diverse and dynamic and have different motivating factors for supporting a product, let alone a brand. To be successful in getting your product or service in front of them and garnering their approval, you need the right type of information.

A report prepared in 2012 by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America Inc. helped to shed some light on African Americans and how to reach this market. The document borrowed statistics from the 2010 national census, which showed that the population of black Americans was approximately 42 million, comprising self-identified black Americans (38.9 million) and those who were described as black in combination with one or more races (3.1 million). This amount represents almost 13.7% of the U.S. population.  A number of factors, which determine their diversity, including where African Americans live, family structures, status and values, explain the extent to which this enormous group influences market trends both locally and globally.

Marketing to black american families

Know Where African Americans Live

According to a black population Census carried out in 2010, about 60 percent of black Americans are concentrated in ten states: New York, California, Georgia, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Marilyn, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina. These alone represent influential markets for many goods and services.

Research the Various Subgroups of African Americans

To begin with, the classification of African American has changed over the years due to factors that are rooted in pure biology. For instance, more people are identifying themselves as being both black and white since 2000. In fact, up to 2010, people who reported their race as both black and white more than doubled from 785,000 to 1.8 million. As it relates to class and status, there are several sub-segments of African Americans, which have different buying impulses and preferences. They include Urban Influencers, Buppies, Urban Paycheckers, Gatekeepers, “Sisters Doing it for Themselves”, Black Men Working (BMWs) and Traditionalists.

  • Urban influencers: Labeled as Gen Y or millennials, these are primarily teens and young adults ranging in age from 14 – 25 years. They are major influencers for many consumer goods, including gadgets, clothing and footwear. They are highly trendy and ‘hip’ due to their obsession with music, sports and fashion, along with a need to be seen and, as such, influence people at both home and abroad. They are highly impatient and constantly seeking the ‘new thing’ so you have to be engaging them at all times in order to successfully market your brand to them. The internet and social media are must-have channels in order to reach them.
  • Buppies: This is a slang term for Black Urban Professionals, which are African Americans of the middle or upper class affluent segment. Often highly educated, they can buy what they want and often go for luxury brands. Don’t be fooled by their spending power, however. They are usually still attuned to their black roots and seek to define themselves as such through their social and cultural interests. They are more likely to support your brand if it in some way helps them to develop their individual style and image as members of the black race. They are usually in the age range of 25 – 45 years.
  • Urban Paycheckers: Value is the key when trying to attract this African American sub-segment. In contrast to Buppies, they are usually in the lower to middle income category, working from paycheck-to-paycheck. They consist of working families usually living in densely populated areas and often have nuclear families of two parents and two or more children. These people want their dollar to stretch so if your product or service can show them a good deal, they are more likely to support it. Parents’ age group range from 25 – 35 years.
  • Gatekeepers: These are African American women, usually in the age group of 25 – 49 years and are highly influential from a family and community perspective. This group also consists of grandmothers and makes all purchasing decisions. Your brand must seem beneficial in some way to their families in order to be successful.
  • “Sisters Doing it for Themselves”: Single young women ranging in age from 18 – 38 years, who are upwardly mobile make up this sub-segment. They are highly brand conscious and want products that identify them as independent women. They are also educated and career-driven and, as such, have disposable income, which they will spend if what is being presented to them will help to boost their independent image.
  • Black Men Working (BMWs): These are most likely single, working class men who live alone with a mean age of 30 years old. They aspire to having wealth but usually have to watch what they spend due to reduced spending power based on their limited paychecks which are capped at around $30,000 – $40,000. Successfully marketing your brand to this group is a balancing act – not too expensive and not too cheap.
  • Traditionalists: The oldest sub-segment, this group is rooted in values and morals that are based on the civil rights struggle of blacks. They are usually highly religious and are also highly influential in the community. Respect is a big deal for them so if your brand can speak to their deep family and community values, as well as seem relevant to their cause, you are onto something.

marketing brands to african americans

Introduce Your Brand to African Americans

Having identified the differing sub-segments of the African American community, there are several ways you can get closer and introduce your brand to them. These include:

  1. Getting involved with black community organizations such as the NAACP, National Black Business Council and National Black Chamber of Commerce.
  2. Read local African American newspapers. They are in English, unlike many of the publications put out by other minority groups so this is a good way to find out what’s on their minds.
  3. Go to African American churches. Black Americans are highly religious, with 85% considering religion to be highly important. This is a good way to understand and communicate with them on a community level.
  4. Participate in events that have a grass-roots component. That way, you will be able to identify with African American history, their likes and dislikes, values and their essence.

There are other tactics and strategies to bear in mind but a good place to start is collecting appropriate marketing data to give you an idea of the spending trends of American Americans. Also, ensure you use the right visual images by using pictures of American Americans (of various hues) in advertisements and campaigns.

For more information about appealing to African American consumers, please contact Stacey Mathis Copywriting at (800) 862-0361 or

(VIDEO) Reaching African American Consumers – a Process Revealed

African American Copywriter

Reaching African American Consumers

Smart brands, marketers and creative directors are well aware of the robust Ca-Ching! factor when it comes to marketing to African Americans.  Unfortunately, many are unsure just how to reach African Americans . . . effectively, that is.  In this video, we are going to walk you through one approach we utilized to target one subgroup within the African American consumer market.   Click Here to Take a Listen.

Reaching African American Consumers

To learn more about how to attract and market to African American consumers, call us at (800) 862-0361.

Marketing Mishaps Your Company Needs to Avoid





Content Marketing Mishaps to Avoid

Guest Post by Brooke Chaplan

When it comes to marketing, businesses routinely make a lot of mistakes, and making serious marketing mistakes has gotten certain companies a lot of negative press over the years. Although marketing mishaps are all part of learning the ropes with product and company promotions, it is smart to avoid making mistakes that end up making your company look unprofessional. Here are six marketing mishaps your company should strive to avoid.

Watch Spelling

If there is any detail that will cause a customer to question your company’s level of professionalism, it is facing down one misspelled word after another in your ads. To avoid this mistake, make sure to let at least two or three different pairs of eyes read over any marketing material before it gets released for viewing by the general public. It may take extra time to do this, but the upside is customers will notice your attention to detail and appreciate the effort.

Inconsistent Blogging

If you intend to market through a blog on your website, it is crucial that you blog with amazing consistency. Companies who blog once in a great while and never stay current with their readers, which will undoubtedly create inconsistent followers. It is best to adopt a pattern of timely blog posts, reliably giving visitors to your blog new content to read on a precisely regular basis for optimal results. Think of this from the reader’s perspective. They want to be the first to know the latest news about your company and its products. If you keep changing the time you post your latest blog post, this throws everything off for your readers. The idea is to post at consistent times, because you are essentially training your regular readers to sit up and pay attention by being consistent.

The Overzealous Early Press Release

Publishing a press release about your latest product release too early and then not delivering because you are behind schedule will only serve to disappoint customers. It is a marketing mistake that you will certainly have to avoid making twice. Not only can this type of mistake get you a lot of negative press, but can also cause customers and clients to join the media in hurling negative comments and slurs at your company. If you alert the media that your product will be out on March 5th, then do not fail to meet that deadline.

Failing to Properly Leverage the Power of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate programs are a great way for companies to get tons of help marketing their products without having to pay an hourly wage to full-time marketers. As with supplements by the ASEA Reviews, allowing people the opportunity to market your products is a great way to develop a groundswell of interest. Even if you have to pay your affiliate marketers a commission, this is still cheaper than paying tons more to advertise; yet, too many companies abuse their affiliate marketers and take for granted how profitable it is to leverage the power of affiliate marketing the right way.

Cheating and abusing affiliate marketers of promised commissions will often backfire on a company as well. Affiliate marketers have many ways of tracking sales that were made under their affiliate code about which unscrupulous companies misreport. When affiliates find out that this is going on, they often band together to promptly drive your business into the ground. It is best to avoid gaining a bad reputation from affiliate marketers who work hard for your company’s benefit.


Failures with Public Speaking

It is bad enough that so many business owners are afraid to speak in public, but it can get worse when they actually do get in front of an audience and stumble all over their words from one sentence to the next. The person speaking for your company should be clear, concise, and deliver a speech with confidence. When people hear someone who speaks poorly in public, it gives customers and clients the wrong vibe about your company. If need be, hire a professional speaker to be the company spokesman to avoid giving a poor public impression of your company.

Where Is Your Customer Service

You may not think of customer service as being part of your marketing strategy, but it very much is a marketing tool for a serious business. How a customer walks away feeling after dealing with your company’s personnel will in many cases determine if they ever want to do business with you again. Many companies drive more repeat sales away through horrific customer service than just about any other major marketing mistake they commit. For this reason, exceptional customer service will make the difference between a company people want to deal with, versus one they would prefer to avoid.

Marketing is an important aspect of developing a solid business model. Without a winning marketing strategy, your business will not reach its goals easily. Consistent profits and customer loyalty all depend on properly implementing a marketing strategy that genuinely works. Taking the time to avoid many of the marketing mishaps and pitfalls along the way will undoubtedly save your company from wasting a ton of money marketing incorrectly.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and graduate of the University of New Mexico. She loves to write, run and hike.

Nine Proven Brand Journalism Tips and Best Practices

Brand Journalism Tips

What is brand journalism?

As with many concepts, brand journalism may be called by a number of alternate names, including corporate journalism and corporate media. For the sake of simplicity, only the first will be used. The term brand journalism refers to the use of journalistic techniques, rather than the conventional public relations methods, by brands to get their messages across. It is essentially a composite process, combining skills from such fields as marketing, customer service, brand management and public relations, as well as traditional journalism. Almost any kind of organization, from McDonald’s to the Red Cross to Amnesty International, have used brand journalism for their purposes. The purpose of this article is to give you nine of the top tips to follow if you are a copywriter (brand journalism) or a content writer (brand journalism).

Tip #1: Have a plan in place.

Your brand journalism plan should include finding out about your audience. Who are they? What do they like? What do they want to know? What results are they aiming for? Only by having goals defined can you tell if you have actually reached them or not; operating without a plan is like trying to maneuver in the dark.

Tip #2: Effective and frequent blogging is necessary.

At one time, blogs would be stuffed with keywords for SEO purposes, but that is no longer considered to be sound blogging practice. Search engines such as Google have gone beyond the days when they would rank search results based mainly on their keywords, and have now moved on to adopt the practice of looking for content from sources that have been deemed authoritative, content that is relevant and at the same time “fresh.”

If your site does not have a blog at all, then you will want to get one started. You or a good hired content writer (experienced in brand journalism) should also blog at least three times a week when starting out. The blog is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal for brand journalism content marketing.

Tip #3: Make your brand journalism content marketing relevant to your customers.

Some marketers, it seems, need to be reminded to “silence the pitch” when they develop advertising content. This means that you should remain focused and not be tempted to “go off on a tangent” and discuss all sorts of extraneous items. Your entire content should be on those things that really matter to the customers. Obtain fresh new angles on existing subjects through research and analysis and then have a content writer (brand journalism) make a story from that angle that is exciting and compelling.

Tip #4: Think of brand journalism content marketing as part of your communications strategy.

To that end, you should hire present or former journalists for your brand journalism work. They bring the kind of wisdom and insight that can save you a great deal of time, money and trouble. For instance, they can think about editorial content and formulate strategies for remodeling your stories. Professional journalists also know how to ensure that content is distributed in a timely fashion.

Tip #5: Learn about how journalism works.

Two percent engagement may have been enough once, but not anymore. Today, one hundred percent is the only acceptable standard.

Tip #6: Measure your efforts.

You want to be able to measure your content, so choose the topics about which you write carefully. Thus, avoid writing about one product when readers key in on another. Ways of measuring include the number of page views and the amount of time spent on a given site.

Tip #7: Do not push; pull.

Try to draw customers to a product rather than “shove it in their faces.”

Tip #8: Listen and learn.

Use search engines and social media to find out how you can craft a story that engages the customer.

Tip #9: Start out small.

It requires a long-term commitment to work with brand journalism. Three blog posts a week, as given above, should help you hone your storytelling skills.
These are our nine brand journalism tips for you, but feel free to contact Stacey Mathis Copywriting to find out about how this technique can help you attract ideal clients.

Understanding African Americans – Summary of Values & Ways [Marketing Infographic]

African American Family for Infographic

Trying to Appeal to African American Consumers?


Because of the diversity within the African American culture, marketing to this community can be challenging. Many companies that would like to include this audience among their target demographics are reluctant to do so, because, rightfully so, they don’t want to come across as not demonstrating cultural knowledge, awareness, sensitivity and competence. Notwithstanding the many generational and socio-economic differences, like most other ethnic groups, certain commonalities still exist (for the most part) within the African American ethnic group.  Check out a few of them in the infographic below.

Infographic - Understanding African Americans


Thank you to: Culture Whispers/Salem Health and NJ Preparedness Training Consortium








Direct Marketing to Millennial Moms: 17 Things You Need to Know

direct marketing to millennial moms

Direct marketing to millennial moms. A cool generation. A tough segment to peg.

Each generation thinks it is, and will forever be, the coolest generation going. My mom and her Motown generation did. I and my Brady Bunch generation did. And now my son and his organic-eating, tech-driven millennial cohorts do too. But, I must admit, there is something special about this latest generation, particularly when it comes to the moms.  Unlike past generations, it’s a lot more difficult to peg them, especially for marketers. They branch into so many sub-categories that it’s a challenge to keep tabs on their trends and purchase triggers.

For you marketers planning to target this dynamic group, you may be interested in checking out the latest research findings:

Stuff you need to know when direct marketing to millennial moms:

  1. In one study, 42% of millennial moms surveyed said they feel that marketing is not geared toward women like them.
  2. Millennial moms are 11 percent more interested in do-it-yourself concepts as compared to millennial women who do not have children.
  3. Millennial mothers are 25% more likely than average to agree that they are always one of the first to try new products or services.
  4. Millennial moms are more likely to be interested in comfort foods that reflect their regional marketing to millennial moms
  5. At a purchase-level, millennials are more interested in investing in lifestyles. They enjoy products that promote socially-conscious living, convenience and overall health when they enter motherhood.
  6. Millennial moms are highly connected – each having an average of 3.4 social network accounts.
  7. Millennial moms spend 17.4 hours per week on their social media sites – almost four hours more than the average mom.
  8. Millennial moms are sharers.
  9. 74% of millennial moms surveyed said people in their networks regularly seek their opinions on purchasing decisions.
  10. 40 percent of millennial moms (ages 18 to 34) created a social media account for their child before the child’s first birthday.
  11. Millennial moms tend to ‘like’ products on social media at least 10.4 times per month.
  12. Millennial moms are 18% more likely than the average mother to identify as a “spender” rather than a “saver.”
  13. Millennial mothers are 18% more likely to agree that brand name is the best indication of quality.
  14. Working Millennial mothers have large purchase marketing to millennial moms (credit cards)
  15. Millennial moms have large spending potential in the beauty, fitness and health sectors.
  16. Millennial moms are 9.1 times more likely to research eye makeup.
  17. Corporate-working moms are more interested in fitness compared to stay-at-home Millennial Moms.

Millennial moms expect their concerns to be taken seriously. And it can be something that seems so mundane in the eyes of marketer.  Beware.  For example, some millennial moms have trouble identifying with images of conventional, two-parent families.  Some millennials have issues with being addressed by the term “mom” if the speaker is not their child. Moreover, they will transfer their allegiance to another brand if they can’t relate to or are offended by your message.

So, what does all this mean?  Millennial moms are frequently misjudged by marketers and entrepreneurs.  It’s worth the energy to explore this demographic to gain a more thorough understanding of them so that your marketing efforts are not in vain, and, most importantly, don’t backfire.

Child-Related Direct Marketing Collateral: How to Turn Moms into Customers

Child-Related Direct Marketing

Child-Related Direct Marketing to Moms

Direct marketing to moms is a key if you want to be successful in just about any industry. Women make most of the purchasing decisions in the home. Many of these women are moms. Direct marketers and business owners who understand this demographic and appeal to mom will usually be more successful and have a higher response rate. Knowing how to appeal to moms means understanding what she needs and wants. It means understanding her concerns, priorities and her mindset. This presentation will shed light on the dos and don’ts when crafting child-related direct marketing collateral that turns moms into customers.


Social Media Marketing Strategy: Craft the Perfect Posts for the “Big 3″ Social Networks

social media strategy
Our friends at Hubspot show you how to Craft the Perfect Posts for the “Big 3″ Social Networks.


Why and How to Use Video to Boost Your Business

use video to boost your business

Use video to boost your business

Video is not “the next big thing.”  It IS the big thing now!  Consumers love video — and so should you. They also tend to stay longer on sites with videos, and even better, they’re more likely to return.

The possibilities for business owners are endless –  increase profits, productivity and awareness in the world market.   Learn the  “the why” –  all the reasons your business should incorporate video into your marketing strategy . . . as a primary tool, not an afterthought.

If  you’re on the fence with this whole video thing OR if you’re serious about engaging massive, global audiences and deepening relationships with customers, check out this slide presentation.


Documented Strategy Helps Brands Track Content Marketing ROI

Documented Strategy Helps Track Content Marketing ROI

Use Documented Strategy to Track Content Marketing ROI (REPORT)

We’d all like our content marketing efforts put in some understandable context so we’ll know all our hard work has not been in vain.  Everybody keeps telling us ya gotta track content marketing ROI.  Here, I thought I was one of a few marketers having an issue with it.  ‘ turns out I’m not, and that  tracking content marketing ROI is a challenge most brands still have.

But, there’s hope for all of us. According to a study on 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends for North America from MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute, a well-documented strategy can offer new insights.

Some of the key points to take away  from this comprehensive report specifically relating to documented strategy  include:

  • 60% of those who have a documented strategy rate themselves highly in terms of content marketing effectiveness, compared with 32% of those who have a verbal strategy.
  • The 35% who have documented their strategy are more effective in all aspects of content marketing than those who have not.
  • You need a documented strategy (not just a verbal one!) if you want to be an effective content marketer.
  • Those who have a documented content marketing strategy (23%), are the most likely to say they publish new content daily.
  • 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than a year ago.
  • Just 21% of content marketers report that they’re successful at tracking ROI.
  • The most effective marketers, as well as those who have a documented strategy, use all of the following paid methods a bit more frequently than the overall sample, except for print/other offline promotion, which they use a bit less frequently:

B2B Paid Advertising Usage

Other key points to take away:

  • With regard to marketing tactics, Infographics have had the largest growth in usage – from 51% to 62%.
  • The most popular and most effective social media channel for B2B marketers is LinkedIn.
  • The most effective tactics for B2B marketers are live events.
  • Over 50% of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets during 2015.

[slideshare id=39729380&doc=2015b2bresearchfinal-140930203555-phpapp01]

Not sure about you, but having learned (from the best) that using a documented content marketing strategy helps increase effectiveness in all areas of content, I plan to implement one pronto!  And I hope you will too.

                                                                                                                                                                            Happy Marketing