Monday, September 25, 2023

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It’s Time to Dispel the Multicultural Media Scale Myth


Over the past few years, there has been an industrywide rallying cry about the yawning investment gap between the general market and minority-owned media.

Nearly every marketer and media buyer agency has pledged a more diversified spending approach. At the same time, major investors including Tyler Perry, Robert Smith and Byron Allen, as well as entrepreneurs such as Lynnwood Bibbens of ReachTV, Albert Thompson of Mnumonic and Christian Facey of AudioMob, are looking to not only create unique content but actually own, operate and compete in multiple points of the media value chain to deliver value to customers.

Yet progress in terms of investment in multicultural and diverse media has been painfully slow, in large part due to persistent myths regarding the scale of these properties. These myths are so widespread that in many cases it is not only hurting minority-owned businesses but causing marketers to leave significant revenue on the table.

When it comes to dispelling the scale myth, the macro problem is fourfold:

Categorization: Many marketers continue to insist on placing minority-owned media properties in a silo, which places an arbitrary ceiling on growth. When publishers are placed in a specific category, this tends to feed the perception that they are only valuable for certain types of campaigns, or that they should “wait in line” when media spending is being allocated.

Naturally, this limits these publishers’ chances at landing on media plans. Unfortunately, this experience is all too common for minority-owned media brands, which often find themselves waiting for “multicultural” budgets to be deployed.

Budget allocation: Decisions to spend dollars on minority-owned and targeted media are frequently made based on a relatively small percentage basis, which is typically not reflective of population growth. Indeed, even as more brands make larger commitments to minority-owned media, few have truly closed the gap between spending and population distribution.

An unfortunate side effect of this slow shift is a small handful of minority-targeted media companies end up capturing the lion’s share of dollars, rather than the pie being made bigger for all.

Ad tech: Increasingly, in an effort to simplify the digital advertising supply chain, agencies and brands are striking deals with a preferred (and thus limited) set of partners, which has the effect of cutting out minority-owned companies. The more that advertisers look to cut down on the number of partners they work with, the more they end up cutting direct deals with a small handful of large publishers, partners and adtech firms.

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