Sr. Marketing Manager

The Black Consumer Market

The February episode of The Why Behind The Buy, a podcast for marketers focused on finding and targeting their ideal customers at scale, went live on February 19th. You can find the episode, here. During the recording, I had the chance to talk to one of our in-house multicultural experts, Ron Cohen, along with Tiyana Robinson, founder of Makeup Mogul University – the world’s first online business school for makeup artists – about the African-American consumer market in the U.S. We covered topics from how much collective buying power they have (hint: a LOT) to tips on the best ways to reach them with responsible marketing (another hint: invite them to the table!), plus we threw in a history lesson that helps explain why certain shopping categories index higher with Black consumers than others. That last part was an eye opener that will probably surprise a lot of you reading this blog right now. But, while you’ll hear all about those topics – and more – when you listen to the episode, 25 minutes just wasn’t enough to discuss everything. Because of this, we took some of the conversation offline and put it in this blog, so you can get the full story on The Black Consumer Market: Social Media and Cultural Heritage Reign Supreme.

The Power of Influencer Marketing

Tiyana was asked to be on this episode of The Why Behind The Buy, not only because she’s a successful young, Black female entrepreneur, but because she knows a thing or two about influencer marketing – she earns a portion of her living doing this! According to Forbes, brands using influencer collaborations bring in 2x the dollar amount of celebrity collaborations in the first month post launch, and in the last three years, the number of Google searches for “influencer marketing” has increased by 1500%*. While that number is not unique to just Black consumers, it is helping to usher in a new way to market your goods and services. How can you fit that into your current digital program? One basic example would be to align your brand with an influencer who represents the type of consumer you’re looking for. It’s even more authentic if it’s an influencer who already uses your product or service and is a fan. You wouldn’t reach out to a Black makeup influencer to market your new line of foundation if the range of your line doesn’t extend to their shade, but, if you’re increasing your shade range and need experts in the field to help on the R&D side, like Tiyana was called in for the brand Black Opal, then by all means, reach out! Once you’ve found the influencer(s) that “fit” your brand, agree on a campaign. Perhaps they mention your product/service in a YouTube video, or they post a video using your product or promoting your service with a discount code unique to them. Claritas can then help you with retargeting campaigns on the backend where viewers of their YouTube video are captured and fed through our Identity Graph so they can be retargeted through mobile ads, website ads or even text ads when entering a geofenced location, like a brick and mortar. Or, if you’re going the route of them posting a video mentioning a discount code on their social media, you can not only track their success in promoting your brand, but we can help you continue to retarget those who clicked but didn’t purchase through other channels like email. Keep in mind this fun fact though: videos get 135%* more organic reach than images, status, and link posts!

Let History Be Your Guide

The data in our 2020 African-American Market Report shows that through sheer numbers, the top items bought by Black consumers on the internet were clothing or accessories. Black households also spend more than the average U.S. household on cosmetics and other personal care, but did you know there could be historical context behind these purchase behaviors? Tiyana mentioned that beauty for Black consumers is often more than aesthetics in that it provides a way for them to build a community with one another, but it also historically provided a way for them to show others that they were non-threatening. Plus, a polished appearance had the potential to keep them safe in a time where they generally were not in this country. Sometimes knowing a little bit of history behind your consumer demographics can help you be a smarter marketer. When creating your next marketing campaign, consider there may be more to the story than your data can provide. History, psychographics, and a bit of original research may have answers that pure consumer spend numbers don’t always show. Our analytics team at Claritas can help you uncover the “why behind the buy” of your best customers, but we also have self-service tools to provide behavioral insights to help you know more about what matters to consumers before they choose to purchase an item.

Where Does the Opportunity Lie?

Black-focused media spend is increasingly shrinking, despite overall U.S. ad expenditure steadily rising. Why is that? Some of the top apps Black consumers use include streaming services and some of the top sites they visit are social media platforms, so does that mean marketers are actually being smarter with their spend by not allocating more dollars to Black-focused media, or are they missing out on revenue opportunity? We would argue the latter is the case in this instance. It doesn’t take much searching to see that when consumers feel they’re positively represented, they respond in kind. Take for example the movie Black Panther. We mentioned this on a previous podcast where Black Panther – a blockbuster movie with a predominantly Black cast – shattered all expectations and records. The same happened with makeup brand Fenty Beauty by singer Rihanna. She launched her brand that included an inclusive line of foundation and nearly “broke the internet.” When inclusivity and diversity aren’t an afterthought, but rather top of mind for a brand, they often find themselves handsomely rewarded both monetarily and with loyal customers.

Listening is another key factor to getting it right with Black consumers. Tiyana hit the nail on the head with the statement, “if brands want to continue to be a part of our conversation, we need to be a part of yours.” It’s important for brands to be open to feedback from the consumers they seek to service, but not only that, they should strive to have a diverse group of voices at the table making marketing decisions.

We hope February’s episode of The Why Behind The Buy gave you the facts and figures you need to help guide successful marketing campaigns geared towards multicultural consumers like African-Americans, and also helped you to think outside of the box for how to reach them responsibly.

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