Marketers to Target Affluent African Americans

As marketers segment and target their potential audiences into smaller groups, they may tend to overlook lucrative demographic categories. One such category, affluent African Americans (AAA) has been consistently overlooked despite the fact that 340,000 of these households now boast annual incomes exceeding $150,000 across the U.S. In his review of the upcoming book Black Is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African Americans, Mark Dolliver summarizes important points made by authors Leonard Burnett Jr. and Andrea Hoffman.

According to Burnett and Hoffman, too many marketers attempt to reach the AAA audience  with youthful, hip-​hop style messages. In reality, this marketplace is filled with 28 to 44 year olds who are focusing on education and raising their families. The key to successfully selling luxury goods to this group will be to connect with contemporary experiences and emotions. For many in this group, the emotional ties to Martin Luther King and African-​American history month aren’t as strong as they have been for older generations.   But this group will respond to marketers that form partnerships with self-​made successful AAAs. This point was emphasized by highlighting HSBC Premier’s successful partnership and marketing events with chef Marcus Samuelsson and the resulting increased business the bank earned from the AAA demographic.

And while this group may not have deep ties to events such as Black History Month, these consumers use ethnic media and “notice when the luxury brands that fill the pages of Vogue and Vanity Fair are absent..”  The authors recommend that luxury marketers establish a presence in ethnic media publications.

The book’s authors also believe that marketers who tie environmentalism to campaigns that court AAAs will  find success. Further, they expect marketers in categories from food to cleaning supplies to begin exploiting this niche.

Finally, social media plays an important role for this demographic group. Online partnerships that connect with specific groups such as the  National Black MBA Association will increase the word-​of-​mouth effect for marketers. The authors cite the results of the Diversity Affluence research showing that over 80% of the AAA group engages in online networking.

The anemic economic recovery means fierce competition for every consumer dollar so look for luxury marketers to tweak their methods to establish brand loyalty among the AAA demographic.

[Source: Dolliver, Mark. How to Reach Affluent African Americans, Brandweek, 2.2.10]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.