should be dialogue around inclusion of the associate base and engagement of the customer,” advises
Rosaleena Marcellus, vice president of client services
for Global Lead, a Cincinnati-based management-consulting firm.
Know Thy Diverse Consumer
To effectively market to diverse consumers, it’s not
enough to feature them respectfully in advertising.
Retailers need to get to know each group’s priorities.
“The more you understand your customer, the better
Percent change from 2000-2006
White B lac k Ameri can Asia n L atin o
I ndia n Ameri can
White Buying Power Grows at Slowest Rate
Source: Selig Center for Economic Growth, June 2006
6 3. 1
3 5. 4
you are going to serve and retain them,” insists Gary
A. Smith, a senior partner with Ivy Planning Group, a
management consultancy in Rockville, Md.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, for instance, pays close attention to employment
policies: 89 percent of gay men and 92 percent of
lesbians say that how a company treats its gay employees impacts their purchasing decisions, according to
the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Moreover, 75 percent of both groups have reportedly
switched product allegiance based on a company’s
“We want policies in place. We want a friendly
environment in the store. And we want an advertising
campaign that’s respectful,” says Justin Nelson, president of the Washington, D.C.–based organization.
Retailers also need to understand the culture of different groups. When a leading coffee company wanted
to increase its share of the Latino market, it sought
the help of Felipe Korzenny, Ph.D., now director of
the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at
Florida State University. The first thing he did was hold
focus groups of Latinos. After participants were asked
how they felt about the morning, “we discovered that
DIVERSITY SERVES WAL-MART’S
CUSTOMERS AND ASSOCIATES
Diversity is a way of life at Wal-Mart. The bonuses of senior officers are linked
That’s one reason why Wal-Mart Stores to meeting diversity goals to attract, hire
is No. 41 on The 2007 DiversityInc Top and retain qualified associates.
50 Companies for Diversity® list. With more than 826,000 women and
“Our commitment 447,000 people of color among its as-to diversity is para- sociates, Wal-Mart places a priority on
mount to our success the development of a multicultural work
as a business and as a force at all levels. Women and people of
neighbor of choice,” color make up more than half of Wal-says Esther Silver- Mart’s officials and managers.
Parker, senior vice Wal-Mart also serves the local needs
president of diversity relations. “Because of diverse communities where its stores
of this, we can better serve our more are located. Through its “Store of the
than 127 million customers that visit Community” concept, the retailer pro-Wal-Mart stores in the U.S. every week vides a multicultural merchandise mix
and provide a positive work environment specially tailored for black, Asian-Ameri-for our 1. 3 million U.S. associates.” can, Latino and Native American custom-
with Wal-Mart’s partners, including
work-force development initiatives with
The National Urban League and grants to
the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to
finance scholarships for deserving black
and Latino students.
In 2005, Wal-Mart managers and associates actively participated in the Wheelchair Foundation’s Wheels Across America
program, donating 1,000 wheelchairs to
disadvantaged individuals with disabilities
across the nation. Wal-Mart is also a supporter of Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Most importantly, Wal-Mart recognizes that diversity is a continual process.
“We are seeing improvements in all areas
of the company,” says Silver-Parker. “But
we must always challenge ourselves to do
better and to stay out in front.”
Wal-Mart’s commitment begins at the ers, depending on the neighborhood.
top, where women, blacks and Latinos Support for diverse communities is
account for half of the 14-member board. also illustrated by outreach programs