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April 9, 2007
Tapping into the Goldmine

The largest annual ski/riding summit in the country, and all the attendees are black? Who knew?

I just returned from a marketing field trip of sorts. It is our job to uncover great multicultural marketing opportunities to share with clients, and it is always a blast to uncover a great marketing opportunity in an unexpected place. For over 30 years, an annual summit of over 5,000 black skiers takes place for a week in one of the best ski resorts in the country. This year the Summit was in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Steamboat Springs has a 1 percent black population, or 20 people to be exact. Affluent and educated African Americans from every part of the country and every age group flock to the Summit to connect with similar blacks and share their common passion. They come on vacation to ski/ride hard and party even harder. As some of the most influential consumers and connectors, they are the early adopters and purchasers of nearly every type of product. The efficiency and effectiveness of building brand relationships with this core group is a marketer's dream.


When it comes to multicultural marketing, tapping into the passions of a diverse culture goes a long way in building brand relationships and increasing sales. The opportunity to build a brand relationship by going where the culture "lives," whether it is African American, Hispanic or Asian goes further than in the general market because these consumers are so used to being ignored as consumers. So often the same top marketers go to a handful of event marketing opportunities and end up getting lost in a sea of logos with no lingering marketing or return on investment value. Under-valued, high opportunity, People Experiences, as I call them, exist in every diverse culture. You just have to know where to look for them and how best to tie them in, so the experience is meaningful for the consumer as well as the marketer.

Marketers who step out and tap into People Experiences and event platforms that provide a lingering good feeling long after everyone returns home provide an opportunity for consumers to get closer to the brand and an experience that extends to an audience far beyond the attendees. Anyone who has taken multicultural marketing 101 knows about the impact of word-of-mouth as a way to gain trust and loyalty of a brand. The speed of email to someone's network of friends can have a lightning-like impact in getting the word out about a new product or brand extension. The bump in traffic from linking to the online network of friends and tie-ins to online promotional initiatives would surprise any marketer. With the right multimedia and integrated marketing tools, the opportunity to build a continuous relationship year-long by linking into the common passions of action-oriented consumers who are the most influential to your products/services will build sales continuously.


Multicultural marketing has become much more sophisticated, and tapping into your target's common passions to reach the most influential segment is crucial. I constantly see great opportunities to create fantastic brand experiences. Airline companies can connect with thrill-seeking, adventurous professionals throughout the year to build loyalty and frequency. Apparel companies can showcase new lines with this fashion-forward group. Consumer electronics companies can seed new products to these affluent and early adopters.


The marketing thrill is finding the gold to beat the competition and building a relationship with continuity. Consumers who want to be invited to the party are a goldmine to companies that want to be successful in marketing to this quickly growing and powerful audience.

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Carol Watson is President and Founder of CW & Partners, LLC, a privately held, media and marketing service specializing in multicultural youth and African American markets. Ms. Watson brings years of success creating strategic partnerships for a variety of Fortune 500 marketers by customizing multi-channel programs that build brands and promote products. Prior to creating CW & Partners, Carol was the Publisher of Vibe, the nation’s leading urban music and culture media brand.
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