African Americans

Courting the 13 percent of the population that African Americans represent can help position candy products for sweet success.
Candy marketers seeking to pitch their products to younger, trend-setting consumers will want to consider targeting African Americans. Many trends originate in the African American community, thanks to the leading roles African Americans play in the fashion, music and sports arenas.
If younger African Americans embrace a product, it definitely bolsters its “cool factor,” points out Tiffany Morrison, president of Lane Marketing LLC, a Los Angeles-based strategic marketing firm.  
The African American population skews younger than the mainstream population. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2002, 33 percent of all Blacks were under the age of 18 compared with 23 of non-Hispanic Whites.
Morrison suggests that marketers consider reaching out to African American thought leaders at prominent African American academic institutions including Morehouse College, Spellman College and Howard University.
Many record labels have launched on-campus marketing campaigns at black-oriented colleges and universities, but for the most part, this market remains untapped by packaged goods marketers, says Morrison. She cites opportunities to create grass-roots marketing initiatives in support of new product launches and also recommends tying marketing efforts into special events on campus.
“Fraternities and sororities are huge  [at black academic institutions],” Morrison continues  “and people continue to participate for the rest of their lives. It’s not uncommon to see a 60-year-old [African American] woman with her sorority letters on her charm bracelet.”
With both young and older African Americans, marketers can score points via community involvement. “African Americans tend to want to feel that a company is supporting their community,” says Morrison.
“The African American community is not a monolithic community,” Morrison continues. “You can’t just cast a broad net” and expect immediate success. That said, however, she points out that, “the community is very easy to target.”
“Ninety-seven percent of African Americans live in 13 states,” continues Robert Smith, president of Rockford, Ill.-based Robert Smith & Associates, a marketing company.
He suggests advertising products in the Black Pages—directories that list African American businesses—within a specific city. This is a highly targeted advertising vehicle, says Smith.
And cable television channels like Black Entertainment Television and the recently launched TV One, which competes with it, are also good media choices when targeting African Americans. In addition, UPN has a block of programming oriented to African Americans, that airs one night a week, and that’s another good opportunity for advertising targeted to the Black community. n
Measuring the Market
Population Size: 36 million
Percent of the Population: 13%
Percent Growth Forecast by 2010: 12.9%
Market Facts
Buying Power
$638 Billion (2003)
Top Five Black Cities
  - New York
  - Chicago
  - Detroit
  - Philadelphia
 - Houston
Top Five Black Metros
  - New York-New Jersey
  - Washington-Baltimore
  - Chicago-Gary
  - Los Angeles
 - Philadelphia
Stats provided by; (815) 963-1497. Robert Smith is president of Robert Smith & Associates, Rockford, Ill., a marketing firm that helps companies reach African American, Hispanic, and Asian Americans consumers.