#InClassThisWeek: Marketing to {insert diversity label here}

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#InClassThisWeek: Marketing to {insert diversity label here}

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What’s the difference between marketing to Digital Moms, Asians or Affluents? I mean, you just place your ads where the audience is (repeatedly), in a time when the audience is open to seeing them, and then let your brilliant creative do the work. If that doesn’t work, you just coupon them until they buy. Right?

It turns out there are distinct differences in these audiences online – the way they think, behave and use connected technology. In our never-ending quest to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, we need to actually understand the people behind the device (smartphone, tablet or computer).

In class this week, we are going to open some safe space and openly talk about marketing to 12 different special groups of American consumers.

Affluents: Millionaires shop at Target and Costco like the rest of us. Why? They were smart about earning their money and don’t want to look stupid spending it.

Moms: Mom uses the Internet as a digital breather or break from her sometimes very frustrating routine. She sees it as a lifeline to the real world, especially if she worked outside the home before she became a Mother.

Asians: The Asian-American consumer is an early adopter with huge buying power and outsized social influence ($1 trillion by 2018).  With a love for technology, digital entertainment and the freshest food, this group is brand loyal but demands value in exchange for their money. With a significantly higher life expectancy (52.3 vs. 36.7 for non-Hispanic whites) and lower median age, smart marketers view this audience as a very worthwhile long-term investment.

As early as 2006, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff were talking about the Social Technographics Profile in their book Groundswell.  The premise behind their work is that marketers must consider their audiences, not only in terms of their demographics and psychographics, they must also consider how the audiences use the Internet and connected technologies in their decision-making process when it comes to buying goods and services. It was good work a decade ago, but today Social Technographics is not enough.

Marketers can no longer label people as Creators or Joiners or Inactives and think that these labels tell the whole story. Participation on social networks is near ubiquitous. The use of the smartphone (in store and online) has become an integral part of the shopping process as has the art of pre-shopping or researching before purchase.

Fortunately, we have a lot more research about online consumer behavior than ever before. Fortunately, we also have smarter and more powerful technology. At the same time, people are beginning to celebrate their race, ethnicity and heritage as marks of positive distinction.

Best of all, we as marketers, can finally use technology to deliver unique value to our consumers at scale in a way that respects and celebrates the differences in people while still meeting our corporate objectives.

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