My question, then, was directed at those two marketing professionals and I asked when they would tap into the mothers of color and bring us into the fold because they are leaving us out of the loop. When will the diversity come into play?
The microphone is passed around, and Kelly never gets an answer to her question. Then Stefania issues the smackdown:
I also told them that even though I get pitches everyday at CityMama, over at Kimchi Mamas we get none. Not a one. Ever. Because people of color do not matter to advertisers.
I've already offered my personal defense: I'm not really in marketing or advertising, I do issues, blah blah blah. But it's all a load of crap. I did a quick review of the work I've done recently, and looked at the bloggers I've "pitched." With only a few exeptions, my "target lists" are predominantly white.
And frankly, Mocha Momma and Kimchi Mamas easily "make the cut" in terms of the kinds of blogs I typically look for. I use the available search and ranking tools (which aren't all that great but are all any of us have to work with), and their numbers are stronger than some of the blogs I've occasionally pitched. And as for content relevance - I only pitch the folks who have expressed an interest in a particular issue - Kimchi Mamas have discussed plenty of health issues as well as immigration. Mocha Momma has discussed some of her experiences as a teacher (she's now a high school dean). So they discuss or at least seem interested in discussing any number of issues. In short, they deserve an invitation to participate in some top-level discussions.
I really don't know why the pitch lists I and others develop aren't as diverse as the blogosphere as a whole. The short answer: we just stink at this.
Maybe it has something to do with the relentless specialization that happens in our industry. I'm the "blog guy" at my company. A number of entrepreneurs approached me at BlogHer wanting to partner with my company, explaining that "we know how to market and communicate with moms." In DC, there are "republican" and "democratic" lobbying firms. And there's a constantly growing number of boutique firms that specialize in any "core demographic" - GLBT, African-American, Latino, you name it. Some might think it's harder and more expensive to develop your own core competency when you can just outsource it.
In one way, that's not such a bad thing. For example, the writers at Kimchi Mamas share a distinct cultural perspective, and I'm sure they're proud of that. The people in my industry who might pitch them should take the time to learn more about that perspective. Those who do it best might want to do it full-time.
However, it's also a huge cop-out. It's our obligation as communications professionals to know our audience. I can't say I put together an all-encompassing discussion about health care, for example, if I haven't taken the time to include as wide a range of perspectives as possible. And this isn't the web2.0 version of "political correctness" - this is my job.
Maybe it also has something to do with the sheer size of the blogosphere and the fact that the tools we use are so nascent. I'll readily admit I don't know what I'll find when I enter keywords in technorati sometimes. Sure, I have to read more fully to get context, but most searches start with really vague keywords and you have to refine from there.
But here's the bottom line: We just haven't made a point of including as many perspectives as possible in the discussions we'd like to join or lead, and there's no good reason for it. It's not about tools, it's not about specialization, it's not about the size of the blogosphere. It's because we just haven't made it a priority to include everyone. We have the power to change that. It's not like diverse voices are hard to find online.
I'd love to hear from the moms and anyone else who cares to speak up on this issue.