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Marketing to African-American consumers: A sometimes-ignored gold mine
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By Marsha Calloway Campbell

The African-American population is a fastgrowing, relatively untapped wealth of marketing opportunities. African Americans in all professions are moving up the ladder to the top tier of financial success. Many companies are missing this quiet yet powerful occurrence. This success presents numerous opportunities for companies to make their products and services available to this segment. According to MarketResearch.com, it's MarketLooks: The US. African-American Market: The Affluent Segment report states the mean income of African-American households grew 25.8 percent between 1990 and 2000 - more than four times as fast as that of non-Hispanic white households. As a result, 3.7 million African-American households have an annual income of $50,000 or more. Moreover, there arel.4 million upper-income African-American households with an annual income of $75,000 or more.

"Segmented" marketing to the African-American community, as a whole, makes good business sense. More specifically, targeting high- net-worth African Americans and strategically creating avenues for them to spend their dollars makes good business sense. The company that addresses this segment in the most compelling way will profit the most.

Further, African-American professional women are advancing their education and enjoying power positions in business, law, journalism, medicine, and many other professions. The increase in the number of minority-women-owned businesses indicates that African-American professional women are motivated to be financially independent, with wealth

A certain dynamic is taking place with African-American professional women. This dynamic can be described as "The Wealth Building Legacy of African-American Women:' the title of an article by Allegra Bennett, in Kelvin Boston's Moneywise magazine, Fall998. As this article mentions, "Businesswomen are noticing that with each generation, AfricanAmerican women are becoming more daring, making the job traditions and the economic playing field more dynamic"

As stated by Black Enterprise in August 1998, AfricanAmerican women are making inroads in the world of business, making more strides and gains than ever before. As indicated in a BE-sponsored survey, minority-women-owned businesses compose one of the fastest- growing segments in the US. economy.

Ebony magazine, which names the "Women at the Top in Corporate America," states, "The face of leadership in corporate America is changing. African-American women are making their way up the ladder of power to the top tier of the most successful companies in the United States. They are occupying prestigious upper-management positions at some of the highest-revenue corporations in the country.

African-American women are passionate about their success both professionally and financially and are willing to take matters into their own hands to make that success possible. This passion is the driving force behind their actions. Their positive attitude, personal resilience, and determined spirit enhance their ability to be successful. They will not allow themselves to be deterred, because they know that what they are seeking will be passed on to later generations.

A study released by Catalyst, a leading organization working to advance women in business, identified certain tools used by women of color to further their careers. According to the study, personal resilience, seeking out mentors within an organization, and having a knack for creating opportunities were the primary tools used by these women. Catalyst also identified the traits of these professional women as a strong work ethic, hard-working, innovative, flexible, leaders, a strong sense of self, intolerance of self- limitations, and a fearless, agressive personality.

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