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Marketing in Ethnic and Minority Media

If your marketing efforts don't already include ethnic and minority media, now is the time to start.

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This story appears in the April 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

A closer look at the buying power of ethnic and minority populations, including African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanics, is all it takes to persuade many advertisers to jump into ethnic media. By 2008, nearly 5 percent of the country's population will claim Asian ancestry, according to the Simon S. Selig Jr. Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, and Asian-American buying power will reach $526 billion. African-American buying power topped $688 billion in 2002 and is growing by a compound annual rate of more than 6 percent. Meanwhile, U.S. Census 2000 figures showed that more than 1 in 8 inhabitants of the United States is of Hispanic origin, and the Selig Center projects Hispanic buying power ($778 billion) will exceed even that of African Americans ($773 billion) by 2005.

The extent to which ethnic population segments are English-language proficient positively affects their preference for advertising that reaches them in their own language. But that's only part of the story. Among Hispanics, in particular, Spanish is a key marker of personal, social and political identity; and Spanish-language media are important even for those who are fluent English speakers and regularly use other media. Consequently, ethnic media often produce superior ad response rates thanks to loyal readers, viewers or listeners who appreciate receiving communication in their own languages.

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