Groceries, kids' clothes, housewares. Sure, these are the items we expect women to purchase, but women are responsible for so much more than that. Women are purchasing or influencing the purchases of more cars, houses and consumer electronics. Within the female market, the strategy of marketing to minority women is often overlooked.
But not marketing to minority women is a missed opportunity. According to a 2016 Nielsen report, 42 percent of today's millennials identify as African-American, Asian-American or Hispanic. And considering that the purchasing power of minorities is on the rise, this is an important market.
Are you in tune with the diverse array of women out there? A lot of businesses simply lack insight into their market—not realizing whom they're overlooking. But it's important for marketers to begin to recognize that minority women are a dynamic and multidimensional market that can help with their business' growth.
Here are a few ideas to help you make sure you're marketing to minority women effectively.
1. Do your homework.
Market research is essential to understanding your buyer, of course, but it's also how you learn if you're leaving out potential audiences.
Have you ever considered the wide range of people who could find value in your product? In my experience working with brands, this is very common.
And it's understandable how it happens. A lack of diversity on leadership ad marketing teams can mean missed opportunities because it's hard to remember the audience you don't see.
Marketing to minority women often requires being intentional about exploring women of color and other groups in market research, as well as having them at the table throughout the product life cycle.
2. Create detailed buyer personas.
Most businesses recognize that women buy things. But when we look at companies' buyer personas, it's not uncommon to see only one woman in the bunch. Or maybe there are two—one white, the other black, and often with stereotypical names and descriptions.
This sort of monolithic thinking about women can get brands in trouble. And in some cases, it already has.
When marketing to minority women and creating your persona, one of the most important things to remember is that all women are not the same. All Black women are not the same. All Latina women are not the same. All Asian women are not the same. Women are multidimensional.
Your buyer personas should push past the typical demographics—age, income and gender can tell you only so much.
And don't be afraid to approach your personas in a different way than you ever have before. Instead of starting with a white woman's perspective and tweaking it, start from scratch and really consider the various perspectives of your diverse personas. Ask tough questions, and be thoughtful and thorough with your persona development.
3. Update your messaging.
Once you have your personas locked, you can focus on figuring out what women value and then speak to them with your messages.
It's important to verify you're not relying on stereotypes. Have you done the research? Have you gone beyond the surface level? Are you seeing your personas as whole women?
Marketing to minority women means looking at things from their lens, understanding their journey and appreciating their individuality.
4. Remember to use an intersectional lens.
Minority women identify with various groups, that is, their identities may straddle many lines, and they experience discrimination in different ways.
When you market to minority women, it helps to be mindful of this experience as you find authentic ways to connect with them.
5. Hire an expert who understands marketing to minority women.
As I started working with more and more brands on creating and marketing products, services and experiences for women, it occurred to me that my clients and other businesses were viewing all women through one (very narrow) lens.
Maybe they saw mothers and singles. Maybe they saw high-income, powerful career women and those who were struggling. But over and over, businesses weren't seeing how much a woman's intersectional identities played a role in her perspective and her buying decisions.
Black mothers have different needs than white mothers. First-generation Asian-American women have different viewpoints than first-generation Hispanic-American women. There's diversity layered on top of diversity, and women deserve to be seen before we market to them.
When it was time to rebrand my consulting firm, I saw an opportunity to help remedy this. There aren't a lot of firms that focus on marketing to minority women, but they are out there. And I strongly recommend hiring a consultant to help ensure you're covering all of your bases.
If you don't have the budget to hire a consultant, take steps to test your messaging and products by holding focus groups or administering online surveys.
Women of color have always had purchasing power, and if you want your business to grow, acknowledge this dynamic group. Successfully marketing to minority women begins with seeing them and listening to them—understanding the values they share and appreciating their layered diversity.
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