CHICAGO -- In-store promotions aimed at ethnic consumers by Gillette Co. have consistently generated a lot more volume, at lower cost, than general-market promotions.
Those results suggest some selective approaches to working with retailers, said Shawne Howell, director of Gillette's ethnic marketing department in Boston.
"Our return on investment [for ethnic in-store promotions] has been 2.5 times what the return has been for general market programs because ethnic [consumers are] easier to reach," she said. "The promotions don't take as much money. The ethnic consumers really respond when you target to them."
Howell was recruited by Gillette in July 1993 to create a department to develop and implement marketing programs targeted to the African-American, Hispanic and Asian populations.
She made her remarks at a conference here titled, "Targeting Ethnic Markets at Retail," hosted by The Marketing Institute, a division of the Institute for International Research, New York.
"By the year 2050, the country will be about 50% white and 50% nonwhite. We have to start planning for that now," she said.
While various ethnic groups reveal "psychographic differences," she said, the same principles apply to ethnic as to general marketing. "But we often don't have the data on the ethnic side that you have in general marketing," she added.
Howell said store movement data, syndicated tracking or both must be utilized for ethnic promotions so that measurement is accurate, she said.
"This is probably the most difficult area. Some accounts won't give you store movement data," she said, urging fellow marketers to "target those accounts that will release the data."
She added, "First go for store-level data. Use syndicated data as a backup. At Gillette, 50% of our volume is from grocery and the other 50% is from warehouse stores, mass merchandisers and drug stores. Often, syndicated data is available for the drug stores and grocery stores, but they cannot measure the other classes of trade, so we are only looking at 50% of the picture with syndicated data."
Howell urged manufacturers to press syndicated data collection services such as Nielsen and IRI to get more involved with ethnic research.
"We find it difficult to get ethnic information. It costs us up to $25,000 to do a panel after an event. You should put that into the contract so when you do an event that is critical in a market, you won't have to budget extra funds," Howell told the audience.