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The Dismissed Caribbean American Marketplace – Part II

CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. May 15, 2009: Jamaican marketer, Andrea Bullens, says she`s largely given up approaching major corporations and their agencies for advertising dollars, as she`s tired of being asked for numbers she does not have.

Bullens` company is the sales outfit for CIN, the main Caribbean television platform in New York City. While CIN reaches millions weekly across the tri-state, because of the fact that it serves a Caribbean market without any accurate numbers, it is dismissed by main stream companies whose products Caribbean nationals buy.

`Its almost a waste of time talking to mainstream companies as we don`t have the data,` Bullens said. `The research data out of the Census is of foreign born but again its estimated so we don`t get very far with mainstream companies unless they have a product targeting this market place, like Western Union.

Paul Latchu, publisher of the Caribbean Business Journal, says the fact that the Caribbean numbers are largely tied in to the African American numbers makes it a tough sell to corporations, who have a diversity budget.

`When it comes to the Caribbean American marketplace, the corporate entities lack the information and data so they think we`re all African Americans,` said Latchu. This makes it a hard sell even though `Caribbeans Americans are a distinct marketplace, more loyal to their product, buy for families back home as well where they ship barrels, etc. Yet so many company express reluctance to target this demographic,` said Latchu.

Jamaican-born, ethnic marketing consultant, Patrick Buddington, shares the same stories of Bullens and Latchu. He agrees that the continued dismissal of the Caribbean marketplace in the U.S. stems from the fact that `there is the lack of quantifiable information on the marketplace so we can`t build the case.`

`The lack of Census data causes us to be lumped in under black and whatever advertisers who don`t want to advertise with the black market then also tags that attitude to the Caribbean marketplace as well,` said Buddington.

Guyana-born Claude Taitt, worked at WLIB from 89-92 as the program manager and later witnessed the station`s sudden change of format from Caribbean to Air America in 2004 then to gospel as of 2006.

He believes such actions stem from a complete dismissal of Caribbean nationals all together and the fact that `there`s no money from major companies to sustain` such an outfit.

For all, the solution lies in ensuring that Caribbean nationals are able to accurately count in the U.S. Census.

`If I had number, we could prove the viability of this market as the Census does for other communities,` said Bullens. `Without this we can get nowhere.`

Latchu agrees. `I think the time has come for the Census to have a separate line on the form for Caribbean ancestry. Having spoken to many Caribbean people in the last census, which I worked on, they want to be part of it and not feel like they`re dismissed or useless. The congress needs to vote on this. It would make a big difference, not just for business owners but politicians and government as well. – By CWNN Staffer