The shift in American attitudes toward social justice and inclusivity following George Floyd’s death and subsequent protests has prompted some companies to consider creating targeted messaging for multicultural consumers. Consumers are paying more attention than ever to how companies navigate social and racial justice issues and reward brands that align with their values. Getting it right, though, can be a daunting task, even for experienced brand managers. The fear of offending consumers is often enough to prevent marketers from even attempting to create multicultural messaging. If done correctly, however, the benefits of targeted multicultural messaging outweigh the risks.
A couple of years ago, I had a conversation with an SBA Business Opportunity Specialist who was lamenting the absence of SBA 8(a) program applicants. At the time, she was seeing three to five businesses graduate the Small Business Set-Aside program for every new one applying. I did the math and realized most of the graduating 8(a)s enrolled during the Great Recession. By 2018 things were going well enough in the economy that perhaps small businesses felt that pursuing government work was not worth their time and energy. Due to COVID-19, however, the economy is once again unsteady.
As someone who has worked in market research for the past 20 years, it’s disheartening to see entrepreneurs and brand managers struggle with marketing campaigns due to knowledge gaps that could have been avoided with a simple market research study. Properly conducted custom market research is the common denominator in successful marketing campaigns. But, to some, conducting research is intimidating. To others, it’s too expensive, too complicated, or takes too long. Truth be told, market research today is none of those things. Coding and data tabulations done by hand are a thing of the past. Improvements in cost, timing, and ease-of-use have made primary research accessible to everyone.
Nothing helps bolster an argument more than citing a research study that proves your point with statistics. A quick Google search can pull up numerous results of supporting data to prove just about anything. Even flat earthers can “prove” their theories with “research” they find online. The explosion of DIY survey tools has made it possible for anyone with a keyboard to create a “poll” and disseminate the results. The challenge is data integrity, which is often sorely lacking here. To help cut through the clutter of bad research and avoid destroying your credibility by citing it, here are some guidelines to follow when making your assessments.
Marketing managers have difficult jobs. They are expected to be psychologists, storytellers, salespeople, and fortune tellers. Engineers and product developers don’t understand why their fantastic products aren’t selling and blame marketing for not communicating how terrific they are. Unfortunately, having the best product or solution is often not enough because consumers typically don’t make purchase decisions rationally. They do so emotionally.
ThinkNow recently conducted a nationally representative survey of 200 Black men and 100 police officers. We asked them for their assessment of the current policing crisis and suggestions for possible solutions. It was important for us to limit our focus to only Black men and police officers because Black men are most affected by racial bias in policing and police officers are in a position to shed light on contributing factors. The full report is enlightening and can be used by politicians, activists, and law enforcement to enact change. The most compelling findings, however, are the responses given by Black men to a simple question: “What do you wish people in America understood about being a Black man?”
Hispanic voter turnout has historically been lower than that of non-Hispanic Whites and African Americans. The reasons for this vary from the relative youth of U.S. Hispanics and inconsistent outreach by political parties to a belief among many Latinos that their votes don’t matter. The COVID-19 crisis, however, may be the catalyst that drives change. Hispanics are being affected by COVID-19 disproportionally, both in terms of infections and loss of income. Upheavals of this magnitude are often followed by increased political activism. The Tea Party movement, for example, was launched by the Great Recession while FDR’s New Deal was born from the Great Depression.
During times of crisis, Federal contracts must be awarded as quickly and efficiently as possible. Federal contracting, however, is deliberately slow to ensure public funds are spent responsibly. There are, of course, contract vehicles that allow for quick awards during emergencies. But, these vehicles are generally limited to specific areas deemed critical when a disaster is declared. The pool of vendors who bid on these projects isn’t necessarily pre-screened, which would help determine their ability to meet the needs of the award.
Most people are surprised to learn that nearly 30% of U.S. Hispanics voted for Trump in 2016. Hispanics, it turns out, are not a homogeneous group. Over 50% are U.S. born with roots in 20 countries of origin, each with its own rich cultural and political heritage. The world, however, has changed considerably since 2016. Voters have a clearer idea of the president’s policy priorities and leadership style.
Education is often touted as the great equalizer that enables minorities from lower-income backgrounds to compete for a piece of the American Dream. Anecdotal accounts of Black or Hispanic children, from marginalized communities, “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps” and achieving great success find their way into impassioned speeches from teachers to preachers, politicians to business leaders. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, tell a very different story.