News and Views by and about Black Latinos                         
Miriam Muléy

Book Excerpt: “ The 85% Niche: The Power of Women of all Colors—Latina, Black and Asian”
Posted on
www.VidaAfroLatina.com on February 1, 2009


 Miriam Muléy is the CEO of an independent marketing consultancy, The 85% Niche. Muléy, an Afro-Puerto Rican, earned an MBA from Columbia University and has 25 years of brand management and advertising experience at major corporations. The following is an excerpt from her first book, “The 85% Niche: The Power of Women of All Colors—Latina, Black, and Asian” (Paramount Market Publishing, $39.95), which hits store shelves this month.



Introduction

 

This is a book about a big, virtually uncontested, trillion-dollar consumer market—a market with a population as large as Spain, Italy, or the United Kingdom. It seeks to raise the awareness of corporate America to the business opportunity represented by ethnically and culturally diverse women. It challenges paradigms and dispels myths about women as one, single monolithic group. It is designed to rally the consciousness of Latina, Black, and Asian women to the strategic role they play and will continue to play in fueling the economic engine of American industry—as consumers, as employees, and as entrepreneurs. It celebrates the many “voices” of women—the young, the immigrant, the housekeeper, the affluent, the college student, the business executive, the emerging and successful entrepreneur, the single head-of-household mother, the widow, the aging parent, and more. Fundamentally, this is a book that seeks to communicate—with respect to all—that marketing to women does not mean marketing to White women alone. It seeks to broaden the thinking of its readers to the impact that culture and ethnicity have in marketing strategy for women consumers. It offers a window into the world of diversity and gender.

 

The passion driving this book

 

I am deeply passionate about the topic of women and women of color, about celebrating the strength and power of these women, and about helping marketers bridge gaps in brand communication, product development, promotional programs, media considerations, and sales strategies to reach this dynamic and continuously evolving audience. According to the U.S. Census, women of color are growing in population three times faster than all other women they have reached critical mass with a U.S. population of 54 million; they generate $1 trillion dollars as consumers and an additional $230 billion dollars as entrepreneurs; and they’ve exceeded their male counterparts in educational attainment at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. And, with the unprecedented move of a Black woman serving as the First Lady in the White House in 2009, women of color are clearly breaking unprecedented new ground!

 

They are incredibly complex. Latinas are represented by foreign born, U.S. born, acculturated, retro-acculturated, unacculturated, Spanish dominant, English dominant, bi-lingual, Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Central Americans, Latin Americans, and to a lesser extent, women from Spain. African-American women are largely identified as U.S.-born women of African ancestry. However, there is a growing and culturally distinct group of African-descended women emigrating from the continent of Africa to the U.S. This group comes to America with the highest level of academic achievement of any immigrant group—European or otherwise. There are Afro-Latina women (my peer group and an audience that can be included among Hispanics or among women of African descent) and Afro-Caribbean women (from Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, Tobago, the Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua, and other islands in the Caribbean). Each is unique and not to be confused with the values and aspirations of African-American women.

 

Like Hispanic women, Asian-American women are represented by foreign born, and U.S. born, but have cultural, language, and custom distinctions based on their Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, and other Pacific Islander heritage. They are a rich and highly educated audience whose values of tightly knitted family cohesion, respect for elders, the avoidance of family shame, collectivism, and achieving one’s “personal best” are cultural hallmarks of distinction.

 

Our cultural and ethnic differences shape how we respond to life experiences—a first date, leaving home, exploring career choices, marriage, divorce, giving birth, caring for aging parents, our own aging, and learning how to survive loss. The convergence of gender, diversity, and life stage impact our response to each life event. In addition, women of all colors react differently to messages and product offerings in color cosmetics, skin care, body care, apparel, fashion accessories, and other physical enhancement products and services. One size truly does not fit all in the world of diversity and gender.

 

 

Miriam Muléy is the CEO of The 85% Niche, a marketing consultancy in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. For more information, visit www.85percentniche.com. Muléy can be reached at mmuley@85percentniche.com.

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