The excerpt below was published in a recent issue of Black Enterprise magazine and it speaks to the growing difficulty that black owned media companies have faced when presenting their offerings to mainstream advertisers.
“…the challenges of conveying to advertisers the monetary value of marketing to African Americans and spending advertising dollars in black-owned media outlets.
“Data always wins,” says Najoh Tita-Reid, former director of multicultural and African American marketing at Procter & Gamble. “The statistics are there and the data should rule our decisions, but many times it doesn’t,” she says about the $892 billion buying power of blacks.
For some companies, a seemingly lack of advertising dollars means smaller and niche demographics get overlooked, including African Americans.
Though some of the panelists, including Alfred C. Liggins, president and CEO of Radio One Inc., acknowledged that advertisers have at least taken a greater interest in African Americans as Obama heads to the White House, the reality remains stark for others…”
One of my personal observations on the topic is that we as black owned media companies often present our services in a way that allows us to get boxed into the “ethnic” slot. The difficulty in leading into your sales presentation with an ethnic slant is that perhaps the media buyer may want to buy from you but they don’t know how. This ambiguity is caused by the fact that the language that you may be using automatically triggers in them the impulse to put you into that ethinc box. Once they put you into this compartment they automatically follow the path that makes them ask themselves, “ do I have any ethnic creatives for any of my campaigns?” If the answer to that question is “no” then even if they wanted to do business with you there is a very large mental hurdle that they must cross to do business with you.
However, when you really consider this scenario…what is it that makes a campaign speak to a specialty audience-such as an African American audience? Is it really only the content of the ad or the personalities conveying the message or is it the venue that the ad itself appears on?
Studies have shown that if you take an ad that has content which is specifically targeted to a given ethnic group, but you put that ad on a mainstream medium that does not serve an ethnic market it will perform worse than an ad that has generic content but that is placed on a medium that does serve an ethnic audience.
What this boils down to is that you can still run successful ad campaigns on African American mediums even if the ad uses a mainstream message.