The Minority Report

Marketing to minorities:

Pandering, or pragmatic?

How 'bout we just call it pragmatic pandering and be done with it........ since that's basically what it is.

"Pandering" is not just a description of the activities of giant bears in China. No...... however, it does kind of have some negative connotations in certain contexts, this being one of them. But it's not necessarily negative, per se. In fact, when I stated it was indeed pandering, I intended it as "pandering" in the general form marketing takes, no different from aiming efforts at the youth, financially well-off, or female demographics (among others).

Companies have simply noted a market segment they believe can be targeted. Business as usual really.

I don't see anything wrong with it in general, and I often find it kind of ignorant when people assume these efforts are something akin to "politically correct" movements for entities to ingratiate themselves with the diversity crowd.

The fact is, though, these minority target audiences are really no different than targeting other audiences; if segmenting Asians is wrong, then so is doing the same for men aged 25-39. There are reasons these things are done, and it's really all about the bottom line. That's really the primary consideration.

If companies were really interested in merely looking good and appearances in general, instead of targeting the larger market segments they believe they can effectively reach and win over, there would be a lot more categories of groups you would be seeing as well. But typically, most sites, if they even had any special sections for minorities, mainly had either Hispanic sections (and that's for language considerations basically), or ones for blacks. I didn't happen to notice any for Asians.

If anyone is still laboring under the idea that companies just do this kind of thing for appearances and good pr, instead of what's central to their business interests, I challenge you to go find me a national company's web site with a special section for American Indians.

The only one I could think of, let alone find (marginally anyway), is from the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company's Natural American Spirit Tobacco.

And really, that's regarding what they do to give back to native people and organizations. Why do they do it? Well...... aside from (mis)appropriating tobacco from native people and profiting from it in the first place, they also go heavy on the native imagery, to profit from that as well. I would imagine that doing a little good work behind the scenes for the affected population might go a long way in deflecting any criticisms.

Just something to think about.

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