Promoting to Blacks

The lack of fuller understanding of black consumer behavior has probably perplexed marketers most in the area of promotion. For instance, marketer have wondered whether they should promote in a specialized way through specialized media to reach the black market or whether they should expect to reach it through their general appeal to the broad market of consumers. In addition, concern exists regarding whether advertisements should be all black in content, or mixed, or all white. These questions are addressed in this section.

Media Patterns:

The issue of specialized versus general advertising programs cannot be resolved easily, but one can obtain a better understanding of the problem by looking at the alternatives. The main avenues that may be taken in a specialized appeal to blacks include television, radio, magazines, and newspapers aimed specifically at the black market. The big advantage of black media is that blacks know the advertisement is meant for them, while in other media they may not always be sure.

Black media have developed mainly since World War II and they included dozens of magazines, several hundred newspapers and radio stations and some TV channels. Only a very small amount of all advertising however, is placed in those media. Only about half of the nation’s top 100 advertisers use black media on a regular basis, and only $ 736 million was spent in 1990 on ads targeting this group.

The major black oriented medium is radio, since research shows the blacks send more time listening to radio tan do other minorities or whites. Moreover approximately on half of all listening done by blacks is to black radio stations and their preference is urban contemporary. Black magazines are read widely by both black men and women and have substantially higher readership than general market magazines. Blacks have a strong attachment to such media because they emphasize black achievements in government, business sports and the arts. For example Ebony and Jet are the two most widely read magazines among both black men and women.

Black television programming is becoming more widespread, including black oriented networks and black oriented shows on major networked. However, reliance on black oriented prime time network series programming to deliver massive tune in by blacks may not be justified. An Arbitron television study provides data indicating that in some markets, more blacks would be reached with commercials on some white oriented programs than on the top black oriented shows. Blacks are the most enthusiastic YV / cable viewers watching 48 percent more than other viewers according to Nielsen Media Research.

Outdoor advertising is also a vehicle by which blacks can be reached, because of their geographic concentration. Alka-Seltzer for example has used two versions of the same billboard ad. The words are the same on both, but black models are used in black areas and white models in other areas. Liquor beer soft drink and cigarette manufacturers are other frequent users of outdoor ethnic advertising. In fact, there is a growing concern that big corporations targeted minority communities for vice products. For example, a survey in Baltimore found that 20 percent of billboard advertising in white communities was devoted to smoking and drinking whereas in black neighborhoods 76 percent of the billboards promoted these products.

Blacks exhibit a lower usage of coupons than do whites. This is partially the result of the fact that manufacturers’ coupons are ordinarily inserted in the Sunday newspaper – which fewer blacks read – than in the weekday papers. However, slightly over half of black consumers read ad circulars, suggesting that coupons may not be offered on products that blacks need or want.