Don’t Slap Rainbows: Diversity Marketing Realness

A Rainbow of Fruity Flavor

Dear Marketer-folk: You’re missing serious demographic opportunities. The dual income gay & lesbian household, the force-of–nature purchasing power of latino consumers, teens, tweens & African Americans. You’ve probably read the NYT articles or some Adage infographics on these demographics, but if  these recent advertising efforts are any indication, the boat = still missed.

Paid Search Bullseye was the first time an SMX panel focused around staying relevant  & being true when targeting to users in gay, lesbian, youth & ethnic communities.  Understand that everyone is a consumer and that all marketers should strive to dial in the correct awareness, sensitivity and tact with our marketing messages and techniques to these emerging demographic segments.

* Panelist Introduction *

Graham Mudd – I run search and media practice for Comscore.  I work with search engines, agencies and marketers to help them refine their marketing programs and understand their audience better. I thought this was an interesting panel because this was directly in Comscore’s wheelhouse.

Bill Carter – I’m a partner at a youth culture marketing agency based in New York called Fuse. We were created in 1995 which sort of makes use dinosaur in this space. We work most closely with Mountain Dew and Pepsi. The reason I thought this panel was a great idea, was that I’m especially interested in the use of those offline traditional tactics and where they meet up in the digital space with SEO.

Thomas Roth – I founded community marketing in 1992, which makes me pre-dinosaur. We’ve been working with a variety of clients on gay and lesbian market research since that time. When we started, very few people had been focusing on the LGBT community. We’ve done work with New York life, Wells Fargo, Gallo wine,  and the US census. These are companies and entities interested in fine tuning their approach. The more fine tuned your approach can be, the better your ROI.

Bobby Jones – I’m the VP of Alloy Access. Alloy Access is primarily focused on urban multicultural consumer and better understanding theses multicultural and urban groups. We spend a great deal of time on qualitative research, leveraging for brands, and the last piece is digital. We’re excited to be in here helping you all in leveraging digital platforms in search to reach multicultural consumers.

Speaking first is Graham Mudd of Comscore.

The Economic Environment and It’s Impact on E-Commerce
We’ve seen dramatic growth rates for e-commerce in the past 10 years, except in 2009 we saw a first ever decline. Most of the weakness came from the travel sector, which of course, is discretionary budget. First quarter this year is looking fairly good however.

One of the biggest growth categories they’ve observed are jewelry and watches, this was formerly all offline in the past, so the growth is largely a function of moving transactions previously offline to online. Consumer electronics and computer software were up as well.

The big declines were in toys and hobbies, followed by flowers, greeting, & misc gifts as well as apparel.

How big are the demographic groups we’re talking about?
Youth internet users ages 2-11  make up 10% while youths ages 12-17 make up13% of users. So 23% of all users are under the age of 18. These users tend to be heavily engaged with mobile internet. Also there’s an obvious daypart issue, where usage spikes right after they got done with school.

Black & Hispanic internet users each represent around 11% of all internet users. Hispanic growth rates on marketing rapidly outpace any other internet group.

Inside the Hispanic population, you have to understand that not all users are the same in language preference. Over 1/2 of all these users prefer English language, less than a quarter would characterize as Spanish primary, another 30% consider themselves bi-lingual.

What types of content resonate with these audiences?
2-11 year olds consume 1000% more content on kids site than the average internet users. There’s also a serious propensity towards gaming information as well as entertainment. Teens think of the web largely as an entertainment medium, for the most part, they are thinking of the internet as primary and the television as secondary.

Hispanic internet users are focused on two categories – everything entertainment as well as travel, attributed to the fact that they seek to maintain ties to family members in other countries.

With Black internet users Comscore has seen a real propensity towards career development and training. Black internet users are 60% more likely than the average internet user to visit training and information sites as well . The African American internet population tends to skew a bit older overall.

Creative Strategies and Findings for Retailers
Comscore has found four principle techniques for successful creative and messaging.

Quantify the Benefits – Vague statements like ” lower prices” don’t resonate as well as a number, $19.99 etc.

Multiple executions make a big difference – Take advantage of frequency by showing  a number of message & ordering these in a meaningful way makes  a big different.

Emotional content catches attention – The degree that you use rich media makes a big difference.

Make the brand prominent – The brand is a powerful thing, don’t sell yourself short. If you’re brand is resonating, make it front and center.

Up next is Bill Carter of Fuse

Why does the Youth Culture Matter?
There are 82 million teens and young adults in this country, 90% are online, and 75% use social media regularly. They hold a purchasing power of over 200 billion a year with nearly 1/2 of them  making online purchases. 1 in every 3 dollars spent are influenced by someone under the age of 18.

Fuse started working for Gatorade almost 2 years ago, when they decided they needed to become less involved in stick and ball sports and more into action sports. They set out to have their offline tactics amplified online around specific events and promotions. Gatorade developed sponsorships with all of the Transworld (those super-thick skateboarding mags on the floor in your buddies basement) web properties and the social media component coupled with all of these added to their success.

Speaking next was Thomas Roth

LGBT Research Methodology
They developed a  survey panel of over 50,000 LGBT consumers from around the world. This represents “out”  LGBT media consumers who regularly use the internet.

Get beyond the concept of the gay market
There’s not a  “gay and lesbian market,” there are so many diverse markets inside of this. Lesbians in Portland Oregon are more likely to own a Prius than any any other gay & lesbian group in the country, as one example.

Some General Gay & Lesbian Internet Stats

  • Gay men on average use  the internet for non-work leisure time for 14/hrs a week, while Lesbians are on 11/hours a week
  • 66% of gay men & lesbians log into Facebook once a month.
  • 39% of gay men responded to ads on LGBT blogs.
  • 51% visit mainstream internet daily, and about 91% are checking their emails all day long.

Key Industries and Leaders for GLBT
Tourism travel and hotels are leading the charge, starting all the way back in 1992 with American Airlines. Consumer electronics and appliances follow after. Banking and financial recognize these demographics as extremely important because many in the LGBT community are identified as DINCs (Double Income, No Children). This may be shifting with increased adoptions & US legislation.

Search and internet marketing for LGBT should be part of a comprehensive plan. Approaching the LGBT community from a wide variety of angles will lead to the best results. Their are display ad opportunities in LGBT media.

Inreach before Outreach
Inreach is surprisingly not in the dictionary. It would be defined as: to lay a good foundation within your company and your own best practices before you do  an outreach. If your company is just slapping a rainbow on an ad when they don’t  have good hiring practices, and they discriminate against LGBT person in their own company, have the potential to fail/have a PR disaster.

Case Study: Sweden Tourism
Sweden created a  special landing page that is gay and lesbian oriented. In Travelocity – there is that mirrors the overall website but focuses on dedicated LGBT content. All of your marketing approaches should point people to your LGBT landing page. This is one of the first things you do to maximize your results.

Visit Sweden also developed a gay and lesbian facebook page, they also are on twitter and organize special events; this is prime example of a holistic, authentic and comprehensive approach.

They didn’t just slap a rainbow on it their previous tourism message, Sweden actually has gay marriage and progressive policy, things that make their organization congruent with their marketing message.

Speaking next was Bobby Jones from Alloy Access

Case study on Hennessy Artistry
This is a global music property from the Hennessy brand. Alloy was tasked with working with the property to make it more relevant with their demographic – 25-34 African American and Hispanic males

Mobile Program Strategy
Alloy started to engage the Hennessy audience on their mobile phone at the point of inspiration.  Leverage this to drive awareness and buzz around the property;  a two way dialog around the brand and consumer that provides value for the consumer.  Next, they set out to build a community around this engagement.

They always like to go back to the consumer to know what they can build around. This is what they knew about their audience beforehand.

1. Very connected to their technology and eachother, always want to be in the know and connected to things and people important to them

2. Insatiable need for new content, they always want to have access with whatever is available at the time.

3. Very much values social currency, what they know versus what other social networks know.

4. Convergence – they want to do all of these things wherever and whenever they want.

Know Where the Consumer Are, Know Where They Are Going and Meet Them There
You want to be leveraging existing outlets, communities & other hangouts where users go to interact. One outlet was a number of urban radio stations. From this they developed an interactive mobile music widget that encompassed all of this. They also leveraged point of sale – whenever users went to buy a bottle of Hennessy in store, they made sure that their widget logo was prominently displayed for reinforcement.

The end result was an integrated approach where this widget provided features  like direct to mobile download & access to all of the contests. Users were also able to post/embed this widget to other online properties.

The programming was hugely successful in the short period of 8 weeks with over 1.1. million combined engagements, opt-ins, widget embeds downloads and click throughs.

* Question & Answer Session *

Misty Locke – I found it interesting that each of you spoke about the segmentation and how to market to each of your consumer demographics, when I start thinking, it doesn’t seem that hard. But then why is is that so little budget is siphoned off to each these targeted demographic areas.  Everyone talks about wanting to segment, what is the hold up? Is it volume , is it a fear of doing something wrong?

Bobby – I think it’s two things. One is that there seems to be this constant desire to create efficiency among media marketing dollars and that quest for efficiency creates inefficiency. You end up talking to everyone on a topical level instead of a meaningful one. As brand starts to understand the cultural and lifestyle nuances that influence purchases, they’ll be better equipped to communicate. The second thing is you need to truly understand your consumer, and the  subtle distinction between them. There’s always going to options for dealing with inefficiencies.

Bill – I agree with all of that, one thing I’ve observed is that  Fortune 500 companies have an unbelievable fear of alienating anyone. With Harley Davidson, the average Harley consumer is 55 years old, that goes up by a year every year. In ten years they’re not going ot have that base. When they came to us they said “we want to reach men in their early twenties,  we have this product we want to put out there.” When we went for them with messaging that would be really relevant to men in their early 20’s, they said” No no no, men in their 50’s aren’t going to like that.” Well, of course. The fear of alienating a core customer is the number one reason that appropriated budget fails.

Graham – Just to add to that, what’s been discussed is exactly right. Larger brands operate at scale “How can I find the most efficient way to reach the most users and have the most impact. It used to be the case that you didn’t have much choice, but everyone watched and consumed in the same way, that’s not true anymore. Marketers really need to think about that way they talk to consumers in much the same way.

Thomas – One size fits all doesn’t really fit under the umbrella of LGBT anymore. We’ve found that LGBT Latinos want to be spoken to differently. Talk about fear, LGBT certainly has faced those issues. With American Airlines and Wells Fargo, they have not had this issue, they’ve embraced the communities. Wells Fargo has gotten tremendous ROI on their LGBT approach. You can’t just be all things to all people. Same thing with gay and lesbian market – it may be small changes you make, but you need to get it right.

Misty– As this session has gone on, I started getting overwhelmed with, “Am I going to have to always segment hispanics & teens & LGBT & african americans?” Are we going to get segmented to where it’s not efficiency,  are we missing the point?

Thomas – You really do need to segment, are younger lesbians your market, are southeast US lesbians your market?

Misty – If  I’m marketing to a teens or youths, should I consider it breaking it down even further with different users, segmenting with keywords we purchase?

Bobby – It starts with the research, the younger African American consumer girls are less about ethnic identify, but I see myself as a teen, as a skater, as a boarder.  Even within that, it’s about understanding what those interests and passions play in making those purchases. Is it worth it to get to that level of detail? When you also understand that a particular segment plays, you should be able to already have the insights to dial it up for that particular group, or consider that they also may be influential to other groups. (Matt note -Awesome idea to ponder)

Question-  Most of your examples apply to national campaigns, with our large but non-national company, when we geotarget, we carry so few impressions. How can we geotarget to these segments effectively?

Bill – One of portion of the Gatorade strategy is to have a host of brand ambassadors, we have 150. They may be a manager at  a local skatepark, these are mostly at a local level. We ask them to do a number of things online that are at their disposal, with their own social media. They’ve been very successful because they keep it very localized. The brand ambassador that’s a skatepark manager in San Jose is successful because he stays local and the kids there do follow him on twitter and friend him on facebook. Even for a brand like Gatorade – if you add up all the brand ambassador activity, the localized approaches do have a lot of impact

Bobby – If you look at the hispanic community, they overindex in terms of household purchases. Hispanics from a search standpoint look for information at every phase of the process, what’s the best, what’s the best deals, what do other people think about it. You have a consumer group that is looking for information that’s relevant in their community to make decisions at a very local level. You can have a very powerful effort that’s targeted to regional and local communities that can add a lot of impact when aggregated across locations.

Question – Do you have any suggestions on search specific strategies when targeting communities?

Bill– I’ll take a quick stab at this with Gatorade, think about how long skateboarding has been around, how many brands are involved, then you have Gatorade coming in late to the game, already a crowded field. You hava a few choices to make. You can develop a strategy using a lot of money, fighting it out over time. Look, even if you win the numbers game, you’re not going to win the authenticity game, the kids are going to see you bought your way in. Take a more subtle approach to develop relationships with pro skaters and pro snowboarder, search on specific snowboard sponsors names – you’re going to start see the brand come to life.

Graham – Authenticity matters & content is really key. To say that it’s going to be as easy as my broad landing page coupled with all of my audience keywords will drive volume, not the case. You need to develop content that resonates well with moms or hispanics. Also understand that a brand may not fit with a demographic. If there’s really no way that a LGBT consumer thinks differently about laundry detergent, you maybe shouldn’t target them differently.

Thomas – But marketshare is everything.  If you can be the first to market laundry detergent to LGBT, buy that marketshare. AmericanAairlines was the first do this and they’re unshakeable with that market.

Question– What % of internet users are LGBT

Graham – This is not something we ask when panelists join Comscore , but it’s something between 4-10% of the internet population in general, but because of their affluency, they tend to overindex.

Question – How does economic and educational activity affect the way people connect?

Graham – I can take a first swing at it at least,  internet usage correlates fairly well with fluency, it does take discretionary spending to subscribe to an ISP. Youth internet users are definitely users of mobile and shared computers, so IP targeting is not as effective.

Bobby– The digital divide is closing between consumers of different affluency. Multiculturalausers will go wherever they need to go to get online and check their social networks, in terms of available tools, whether it be schools, libraries or mobile phones.  Lower income communities have less convient resources, but their resourcesfullness closes that gap.

photo credit: *Micky

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