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BizReport : Advertising archives : October 09, 2009

Is targeting consumers by ethnicity racist?

Do you consider a potential customer's ethnicity when developing your marketing campaigns and promotional material? If not, new survey findings from Practical eCommerce may compel you to reconsider.

by Helen Leggatt

When targeting a specific audience, developing marketing communications that are as relevant as possible is the key. But just how far down into a person's identity are marketers willing to drill? For instance, is it okay to target customers based on their ethnicity?

According to the results of September 2009 Practical eCommerce survey, marketers believe ethnicity is as much of a consideration as gender, geographic location or age. Most felt it is a vital component of a customer's makeup. In fact, almost 90% of respondents felt that ethnicity was either a form of personalization, had a clear business use or catered for different consumer needs.

Not one respondent answered "No, that would be racist" on the survey, however 3.4% chose "No, people are people" while 6.9% thought there was no business case for segmenting audiences by ethnicity.

According to Practical eCommerce, "In an age in which business markets are becoming increasingly fragmented, respondents felt that personalization of their messages was important. Personalization cannot occur, however, without knowing who your customer is. Ethnicity is one component of a person's identity and can ultimately affect the merchant's bottom line."

Tags: audience, consumer segmentation, ethnicity, marketing strategy, personalization, targeting

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