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Here’s an interesting question. In marketing, especially mass, B2C marketing, we make a lot of assumptions based on “studies”. I’ll give you an example from the student loan world. When marketing student loans, a number of studies say that if you are going after the Hispanic market, you should use photographs and language that shows multiple generations of the family, as opposed to just parent/student or student by themselves. Some of this dates back to a 2005 study by Sallie Mae on decision factors for Hispanic students in borrowing for college which said that Hispanic students tend to make financial decisions in favor of borrowing with the advice and guidance of parents and grandparents.

The question is, is that accurate? Is using any kind of ethnosocial marketing effective, and if so, how do you determine which studies are reliable?

Do you risk giving offense to a targeted demographic if you’re marketing to a stereotype that came out of a study that might have been less than scientifically valid?

If you do any kind of demographic targeted marketing, I’d love to hear how you handle these kinds of things.

Full disclosure: I work for the Student Loan Network, a student loan company, and anything I say should be assumed to be biased towards my company because we’re awesome.

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