On Thursday, February 21, 2013, I had the opportunity to visit the NAACP Financial Freedom Center in Washington DC to attend a panel discussion called “Mobilizing the Emerging Majority“. Before I go into details about how amazingly informative this panel was, let me give you a bit of background on the Emerging Majority and why it’s so relevant to every small business.
There are two parallel discussions that come up if you look for information about the Emerging Majority. One is political in nature – it talks mostly about “ the strengthening alliance between minorities, working and single women, the college educated, and skilled professionals”, or the Emerging Democratic Majority.
The second version drops the Democratic label and refers specifically to the population that will be the Emerging Majority. Which makes this the more relevant discussion to small business, that is, the fact that “People of color – African Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Hispanics – are individually minorities in America, but together are expected to make up the majority of the country’s population by the year 2020.”
How is this relevant to small business? The most blunt way to put it is that the demographics of the consumer market, and possibly the business to business market, is changing under our feet. We business owners need to continue to understand the populations we would like to sell into – our businesses will depend on successfully marketing to them.
This brings the web into even greater play – most specifically, the mobile web. This is where the majority of web users are shifting their access to, and we need to be there, right now. The wealthier are shifting to tablet use, and those with limited computer access are equipped with cell phones and smart phones.
The panel I attended looked at how the NAACP used a combination of Big Data and a mobile-centric marketing plan to gain access to a population that is traditionally harder to track and reach. Like most small businesses, they didn’t have the budget to reach them through a television ad campaign during a major event such as the Super Bowl.
Their blueprint for how they not only reached this population, but built a database with mobile information, then overcame the challenge of marrying the cell information they had with other data they collected on a limited budget, without alienating end users by appearing to violate their privacy was truly a fascinating discussion.
Every small business is going to face – or is already facing – how to get the attention of people who are being bombarded with information and shifting interests. Several of the lessons they learned when compounded with the challenge of going beyond the web into mobile to solve this problem have direct applications to business owners.
Below are some video clips, photos and key takeaways I was able to gather from the online discussion of the event. There’s nothing like being there, of course, but hopefully these high points can inspire you to prioritize mobile marketing, and reveal some stand-out clues as to why you need to make the shift Now.
The picture above is the #emergemobile Panel, from left to right:
Larry Brown, Jr., NAACPConnect Project Manager
Jamaa Bickley-King, NAACP Data consultant
Tiana Epps-Johnson, New Organizing Institute, Election Administrative Director
Alison Scharman, Revolution Messaging
Jamiah Adams, NAACP Director of Digital Media
I’m a huge Bethenny Frankel fan. My sister got me watching the Real Housewives of New York – it was our only bonding time with two sets of twins running us ragged. So there’s more than one reason I was happy to see this about an hour ago.
Screencap of the Skinny Girl Cocktail Ad
When my sister moved to Africa, so did my interested in all of the Real Housewives series, but I admit still catching the Bethenny spin-offs from time to time. What I loved about it most was following her success with the Skinnygirl Cocktail, which she made up to $100 million dollars from in 2011.
Couldn’t care less what she made from it – I just loved following an entrepreneurial story featuring a woman who didn’t necessarily launch from a cushy position, background notwithstanding.
As I watched the brand grow from afar, their marketing impressed me from time to time – they seem to “get it”. And the above screencap of the Skinny Girl Cocktail Ad from the top of my Facebook stream is an example of why I don’t mind seeing the right type of sponsored posts.
Tomorrow at one of my other sites, Free Traffic Tips, I’ll be discussing how to find your people on Facebook – today we talked about how to find your people on Twitter, and how to tell if they’re even on Twitter to begin with.
That’s of course only one piece of the puzzle – when you get the privilege of being in front of the right people, what do you say to them instead of talking about your product ceaselessly?
Often I’ve used the analogy of dating, because from a marketing perspective, it’s a similar situation. If you make it past the first date, and your goal is to continue to see this person, the worst thing you can do is talk constantly about
Your agenda – whether it’s getting into their pants, or life together with kids, or
Yourself and how great you are.
It’s exactly the same with your company, products and services. Yes, if you’re dating someone, you want to make it clear at some point what you’re hoping to get out of the situation. Timing is everything though.
You don’t meet someone and immediately say “Would you like to get married to me in a year or two?” or “I’m hoping to have sex with you as soon as possible.”
It’s creepy. And unnecessary – it’s pretty much a given that if you’re dating you have some kind of ulterior motive. There will come a moment to reveal the exact details of that intent.
What do we do in the mean time? We get to know each other and talk about things we’re both interested in.
Yet somehow, so many of us don’t see it as strange to constantly say “hey, look at my products again. I know I just told you to look at it, but look at it again. Because I’m too insecure to realize that the fact that you liked my business page or came back to visit my site again means that you’re aware that I’m selling something.”
What we should be doing, once we attain a lead, is keeping them interested, while still presenting a clear path to buying our products or services.
To keep someone interested, you have to know a bit about them, and then talk with them, not at them, about things they’re interested in.
Skinny Girl has correctly assessed that I’m interested in a- shoes and b- my workplace wardrobe, because it knows who it has targeted with its marketing research.
Yes, there’s a million other things I would rather be targeted for, including my intellectual pursuits, but both genders want to look appropriate at work. So I don’t see this as one of those cases of when I’m being treated like an airhead that only likes lipstick, pink frilly things and sparkly jewelry.
How does this apply to your business?
Well, if you know your market, you should know what they want. If you know what they want, you should know what to talk about. That’s not to say you should never present the link to your book or hide the reservation form for them to book a room at your bed and breakfast.
It means that isn’t ALL you should talk about. Think about all this content you’re generating as a decentralized publication where your business is the only ad buyer.