Professional Jeweler Archive: A Rainbow of Ideas

April 2005

Cover Focus | Ethnic Markets: Target Marketing

A Rainbow of Ideas

Minority populations respond well to special offers tailored to them

By Jim Ackerman and Wink Jones

Ignoring ethnic populations as sources of quality clients is just silly, especially when you consider that reaching black, Hispanic and other groups in the community can often be done less expensively than chasing an undefined market. Here are some suggestions.

Joint Ventures

Work with non-competing businesses in your community – from restaurants to mortgage brokers – that cater to a specific ethnic audience. Offer the business owner a piece of each sale of your product to his customers. Make a special offer to these customers to entice them.

Write a letter on your joint-venture partner’s letterhead and over the president’s signature, introducing the offer as a value-added service to his or her customers. Have a tracking system in place so your partner is credited for sales to its customers, and pay the partner on a timely and regular basis.

Affinity Groups

Go to ethnic-oriented affinity organizations such as the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, a Hispanic credit union, even the local chapter of the NAACP or similar group to make a special offer to their membership.

Most of these groups have newsletters or correspond with their constituents on a regular basis. Most also will allow you to send your offer with their mailing if you print the piece. They may or may not ask you to pick up part of the postage. Such an offer makes the organization look good, and by being included in their mailing, you get the advantage of at least an implied third-party endorsement.


Negotiate with the owners or human resource managers of area businesses employing ethnic workers. Make a special offer to their employees as an “employee benefit.” The company gets to offer its employees something extra at no cost, and you provide your promotional piece to the company to slip into each employee’s paycheck envelope.

Tailor Your Media

Whether you use the under-the-radar marketing suggested or targeted ethnic media, make sure your materials and ads reflect the audience. To appeal to a black audience, your ads should depict blacks. If you’re seeking an Hispanic audience, your marketing should reflect that, visually and in the words you use over the airwaves.

Your Staff

As you test-market to these ethnic groups and find them profitable, you may want to mirror the ethnic make-up of your client base in your staff. This is a simple acknowledgement of the marketing principle that people like to buy from people they like and are like.

There’s a whole world of black and Hispanic media to explore across all economic strata. Upscale is published in Marietta, GA, and can be reached at (770) 988-0015.

Jim Ackerman is president of Ascend Marketing Inc.; (800) 584-7585, Wink Jones is owner of Winfield’s, a store in Boise, ID. Together they have produced a six-CD audio program on marketing for jewelers.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications