February 15, 2004

With the buying power of minority and ethnic groups expected to catapult into the hundreds of billions by 2007, successfully reaching these diverse audiences is more important than ever. Addressing this timely and complex issue, a panel of marketing experts spoke on "Harnessing the Potential of Global Marketing: The Power and the Pitfalls of Reaching Asian, African-American, Hispanic and Other Ethnic Markets" during the first day of the Yellow Pages Integrated Media Association's 2004 Destination IMAgination annual conference and exhibition.

"Multicultural marketing is one of the most challenging and important issues to the Yellow Pages industry," said Neg Norton, president, Yellow Pages I.M.A.(R) "Like all advertisers, we must address the complexities of generational differences within cultures, in-language sensitivities, and varied media preferences."

Each member of the panel brought his or her individual expertise regarding relevant issues surrounding ethnic marketing.

Jose Lema Abreu, regional vice president, sales, Verizon Information Services

Jose Lema Abreu said he believes the two biggest challenges in marketing to ethnic groups are fragmentation and rapid changes in needs. "The process of acculturation is dispersing ethnic groups more than ever. Second and third generations have different needs and interests from members of the first generation, which makes researching purchasing behavior more complex and challenging," said Lema Abreu.

Frank Bolanos, BellSouth The Real Yellow Pages

Frank Bolanos says that in-language messages are increasing but are still under-represented. Approximately 3 percent of spending is allocated to in-language media, versus the recommended 13 percent. "Roslow Research, Market Segment Strategy and others have documented the effectiveness of in-language advertising when presented in a culturally-relevant fashion," said Bolanos. "Hispanics' ability to understand an advertising message and their propensity to act upon it increase when the message is in Spanish."

Sandra Wills Hannon, founder, The Hannon Group, LLC

Driving home the point that reaching an ethnic market does not mean reaching a homogeneous group, Sandra Wills Hannon stressed the importance of developing campaigns that are targeted to a specific group within an ethnic market. "As an example, an airline company trying to reach the African-American business traveler should target magazines such as Black Enterprise and Upscale, or a travel Web site geared toward African Americans such as SoulofAmerica.com, rather than taking a broad sweep at the general African-American newspapers," said Hannon.

Maggie Le Beau, senior vice president, marketing, Dex Media, Inc.

Maggie Le Beau explained that "transcreation"--going beyond direct translations to maintain cultural relevance--and using "broadcast" Spanish to address the regional language differences within the Hispanic population is important in marketing to this ethnic market segment. She also emphasized the importance of culturally relevant in-language messaging. "Bilingual members of the Hispanic population frequently read advertisements in both English and Spanish, but they tend to ultimately make a selection from the Spanish advertisements, according to a survey by Strategy Research Corporation," said Le Beau.

Bill Imada, chairman and CEO, IW Group, Inc. (panel moderator)

Bill Imada pointed out that reaching individual segments within an ethnic group in a culturally sensitive and relevant manner can be quite challenging. For instance, there are more than 30 different ethnic groups represented in the U.S., speaking dozens of languages and dialects. He says that television, where available, is one of the post powerful media among all ethnic groups.

For more information at http://www.yellowpagesima.org

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