Small Business Marketing by Jillian Shaw Marketing, Advertising & Public Relations for the Small Business

The Census and Race – Have We Outgrown Old Targeting Techniques?

03.17.2010 · Posted in Advertising, Current Events, Targeting
marketing to black, white, hispanic, asian

Does Race Matter Any More?

The book Applebee’s America talks about a new type of targeting for the purpose of marketing.  This type of marketing focuses on the things that really matter to a person – your friends, family, interests, and your core values and beliefs.  Traditional targeting looks at arbitrary things like race, religion, income, and age.  Applebee’s America makes a good argument in favor of this new, more accurate method of targeting, and in essences stirs the melting pot a little more.

I got this message from a good friend via email today and thought it brought up a good point. I see the value of tracking race for the purpose of marketing to a particular group, but we’ve already proven that targeting based on interests and place in life is more effective than something as arbitrary as race. Read the message below and tell me what you think:

“There is a growing movement on the blogosphere to defy the wishes of Washington when it comes to filling out the Census. Now I believe that filing out the Census is important. Our constitution mandates that every ten years we count the number of people living in each community so that we can be sure that they are accurately represented.

However, one thing that is not asked for in the Constitution is that we define ourselves by skin color or “race.” One of those things that are always hammered into the brains of college students by liberal professors is that “race” should be put in quotation marks because it is socially constructed. Well you know what, I agree with that! So why is it that those same liberal professors say that we must take into account someone’s “race” when we think about political policy?

I say it’s bullshit. It doesn’t matter what your skin color is, what matters is your character and actions. That is what America is about. Letting everyone have the same opportunity no matter what their ethnic background.

When you get your Census form in the mail, Question 9 will say “What is Person 1′s Race?”. Basically, that will ask for how the head of the household defines the race of the family. Let’s send them a message that we won’t be defined as hyphenated-Americans. When you get to Question 9, mark “other” and write down “American” for the race.

The Census rules are that they must accurately reflect what people mark. By saying you are “American” you are stating that you don’t believe in ethnic categorization, but rather believe that we are all ONE nation. I will refer you to the wisdom of a fine blogger (for whatever that is worth) as an explanation:

If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. But I know that many people are getting their Census forms right now, and a lot of you are as ticked off at the government as I am that they still want to stick us in racial categories. Send them the message that we won’t let them define us! And pass on the Correct answer to Question 9 to all your friends.”

What do you think? Are you tired of being ‘Latin-American’, ‘African-American’, ‘Caucasian’ (where does that word even come from, right?) and ‘Asian-American’? Will you put “American” as your race? Isn’t that what we are, anyway?  Do you think marketing to people based on skin color still makes any sense?

Jillian's Currently Reading: Guerrilla Marketing, 4th edition: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business
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