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Our society's changing ethnic composition has not been lost on most marketers and retailers. The demographic facts and figures mapped out in the 2000 census have received plenty of media play.
The bottom line: Our heterogeneous society is rapidly becoming even more ethnically diverse.
Hispanics will become the largest ethnic group in the nation, and one out of seven citizens will be African-American by 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau data reported by Kraft Foods at the Food Marketing Institute show this spring. By 2030, 19 percent of the population will be Hispanic, 13 percent will be African-American, and 7 percent will be Asian-American or Indian.
But realizing that the marketplace is changing and knowing how to effectively act on those changes are two different things. Often both retailers and candy manufacturers fail to take advantage of ethnic marketing opportunities because the task of zeroing in on ethnic segments seems too daunting.
Experts in the ethnic market point out that a good place to start is simply by asking for input from the consumer groups you're attempting to target. It might seem obvious, but it's often an overlooked step, they point out.
What it really boils down to is understanding the consumer, says Larry Woodard, president of New York City-based Vigilante Marketing, a company that specializes in targeting the ethnically diverse urban market. "Good ethnic advertising is consumer-centric," says Woodard, who also happens to be a former Mars Inc. (now Masterfoods USA) candy marketer.
So, for example, if you're planning a focus group to pick kids' brains about the candy market, make sure that it includes an ethnically diverse group of kids.
Too often, says Woodard, ethnic consumers are under-represented in focus groups simply because the sessions are held at locations that are not easily accessible to them. …