If targeting the purchasing power of African Americans is still a questionable debate for marketers, the buying power of African Americans should make answering this concern very clear. According to Packaged Facts, The African-American Market in the U.S. forecasts that the buying power of 39 million African Americans will hit $1.1 trillion by 2012.

When it comes to marketing to African Americans many marketers are missing the mark by not relating how to connect. One of the best resources for understanding planning of how to target the African American market is “What’s Black About It?” by Pepper Miller and Herb Kemp.

Miller stresses that, “The most effective communications to the African American market are campaigns that highlight families and community strength.”

I strongly agree with Miller’s suggestions and feel this is why the rise of mega-churches became successful within black communities because of their ability to appeal to family audiences.

The Yankelovich MONITOR Multicultural Marketing Study in 2005 broke down the African American market into six sociobehavioral segments. To target the African American market there must be an understanding of how the six sociobehavioral segments reflect variations in age, economics, socialization, education, and culture.

Sociobehavioral Segments:

Emulators (11%) are generally students with a median age of 17 who identify with young urban black trendsetters. They themselves are trendsetters but also have a need for the social and emotional reassurance of brands that most reflect status or achievement.

Seekers (19%) are older and less idealistic. They work part time or are temporarily unemployed. They seek popular image and status brands. Their median age is 40 with a median income of $18,000.

Reachers (24%) are slowly working toward the American dream. Often single parents who may also care for an elderly parent, this group wants products and services that give them the greatest value. They have a median age of 40 and a median income of $28,000.

Attainers (27%) have a more defined sense of self and a solid plan for the future. They want ideas and information that will increase their quality of life. They have a median income of $55,000 and a median age of 40.

Elites (5%) are upwardly mobile African Americans who live and work in a more mainstream environment but retain their cultural identity and allegiances. Marketers must appeal to this group through a broader range of campaigns. They have a median age of 46 and a median income of $113,000.

Conservers (14%) are an older segment with a median age of 67 and a median income of $38,000. They are set in their ways and are slow to adapt to the dynamism of popular African American culture. Mostly retired, their beliefs and values are deeply grounded in experience and wisdom, and it shapes their lives.

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