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How to Market to People Not Like You: "Know It or Blow It" Rules for Reaching Diverse Customers by KELLY McDONALD

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Chapter 12. African-Americans: A Large and Lucrative Customer Base

Although people of color live all over the world, this chapter is focused on how to market to people of color in the United States. Why? Because the United States tends to have more of a racial divide than European countries, Canada, and other places in the world. Although race relations continue to improve in the United States, there still exists a "difference" in the U.S. African-American consumer market compared to what is commonly called the "general market" (non-African-American).

African-American marketing really began gaining momentum in the 1990s, when the consumer purchasing power of Blacks became documented through research. Studies were published that showed that not only were Blacks a large and lucrative market segment, but a loyal one as well. Brands that reached out to African-Americans through targeted marketing efforts received strong sales results and grew their market share. Today, there are marketing firms that are highly specialized and dedicated almost exclusively to African-American marketing, and more companies and brands devote a significant portion of their marketing budgets to African-American efforts. Why? Quite simply, it works. It makes money. Here are some statistics about the African-American market in the United States worth noting:

  • The African-American population numbered 42 million in 2010, accounting for 14 percent of the U.S. population.

  • Nearly half of African-Americans have at least ...

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