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Arizona Families Face tough financial choices
Category: GENERAL
Tags: arizona families jobs income education wages

Hello JMCC Community, People around the world and "next door" are facing financial challenges. The USA economy is being presented with real fiscal issues.

These issue will be us for a long time.

The best financial strengthening position one can put to use today, is operating a home based business.

 

Costs up but wages flat for many Arizona workers

 

For Arizona workers, the most important economic indicator is the number on their paycheck. And for many, that figure to the right of the dollar sign is small enough, or has shrunk enough, to make living on it a weekly challenge.

Although wage data indicates that Arizonans' overall average pay has risen 15 percent since the recession, that gain is a cruel illusion.

 

The state's annual median wage did climb between 2007 and 2010, but only because the state hemorrhaged thousands of lower-paying jobs, according to an Arizona State University economist. The median annual wage still remains relatively low at $34,000, compared with some nearby Western states.

And even though the state's unemployment rate has fallen, from a recession-high 10.8 percent to the current 8.3 percent, the improving job market hasn't brought higher wages for existing jobs, and the state's efforts to create higher-paying positions have seen mixed success.

More critically, the superficial 15 percent wage increase doesn't reflect the financial pressures that many Arizona families face, residents say. They clip coupons, stay with relatives while they are on vacation or wonder if they will earn enough to pay off college loans after graduation, often one big repair bill or emergency-room visit away from financial disaster.

Elisa and Brad Bryant of Phoenix voice worries that echo in kitchens across the state.

Brad Bryant's wages have gone up -- the construction superintendent is now working after he was unemployed on and off for about a year.

While Brad, 48, could earn six figures before the recession, his new job pays about $60,000 a year. Elisa, a nurse, earns $70,500.

They know their family is doing better than most. They relied on family to help them pay the bills when Brad wasn't working, and now they can manage on their own.

But the Phoenix couple don't feel well off.

They have a 19-year-old daughter, Danielle, who attends Northern Arizona University, and a 16-year-old, Mariah, who is a junior in high school. They took out loans to help pay for Danielle's tuition, and they pay for Mariah's private-school tuition. That means they clip coupons for most grocery trips and they watch their spending, said Elisa Bryant, 49.

"We are really trying to be careful," Bryant said.

Earning a sustainable wage -- the amount of money a person or family needs to take care of their basic needs -- remains a challenge for the Bryants and hundreds of thousands of others like them.

Living on low wages

An increase in Arizona's median wage of almost $5,500 over four years would seem like a welcome statistic for workers at the lower end of the pay scale. But it was the loss of so many low-paying jobs during the recession that caused the key metric to rise, said ASU economist Lee McPheters.

Between May 2007 and May 2010, during the worst of the economic contraction, Arizona's median wage jumped from $28,640 to $33,040, an increase of 15 percent. The median rose again in 2011 to $34,110. Median pay is the amount at which half of workers earn more and half earn less.

In comparison, the median wages in Nevada, Colorado and Washington state are $32,656, $37,065, $40,144, respectively.

In Arizona, McPheters said, "more below-median jobs were lost than above-median jobs, so that had the effect of pulling the median wage up."

Lower-paying jobs accounted for 60 percent of all Arizona jobs lost between 2007 and 2010, he said, with the state shedding 192,430 below-median wage jobs and about 128,150 above-median wage jobs. The new jobs created since the recession ended followed the same trend, benefiting more highly educated workers.

From May 2010 to May 2011, the first year of the recovery, more jobs were added in above-median-wage occupations, including management, computing, education and health care.

While the statistics may suggest the employment engine is slowly picking up speed, many Arizonans are feeling less than flush because other economic forces are still stuck in low gear.

House prices are rising, but many homeowners owe thousands of dollars more than their homes are worth. There are fewer jobs than there were at the start of the economic downturn, and there is still stiff competition for those jobs.

Meanwhile, the costs of education, health care and fuel have continued to rise.

A recent study commissioned by the Women's Foundation of Southern Arizona, a women's advocacy group, to assess the lowest wage a family could earn in each of Arizona's counties without relying on aid from the government or non-profits shows how hard it is to live on the median wage.

On a bare-bones budget, a single person in metro Phoenix could survive earning $10.19 an hour for a 40-hour week, or $21,195 annually.

However, a family of two adults, a preschooler and a school-age child would need to earn nearly three times that amount. The parents would have to earn $57,907 combined, the study said. A single parent with two young children would have to earn $50,336 to survive without support.

That's $16,000 higher than the current median wage.

A family that managed to survive on those wages would live an austere life. They would not make any debt payments, eat at restaurants or enjoy extracurricular school activities. At home, they would not have cable or Internet service.

The self-sufficient wage includes market-rate child care and employer-sponsored health care, and the cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle.

While some families clearly do survive earning less pay than suggested in the report, it's also likely they live in substandard housing, rely on relatives, use government programs or turn to non-profit groups, such as food banks, said Laura Penny, the foundation's executive director.

What's enough?

Some Arizona workers who earn close to the state's current median wage say they have enough to get by, but there isn't much left over. To stretch their dollars, they have to be savvy shoppers and also need a bit of luck.

Some live with their parents, other relatives or friends. Or they may be fortunate enough to find inexpensive housing. And they keep an eye out for store sales and use programs that help shave commuting costs.

Even thrifty workers say they sometimes struggle financially.

Jessica Gonzalez, 28, a program manager at the Phoenix non-profit Dress for Success who is studying for her master's degree in public administration at Arizona State University, said she needs to watch her budget carefully.

Entry-level workers like her earn $25,000 to $40,000 at non-profits in Phoenix, but that money can get quickly eaten up by rent and commuting from less-expensive suburbs, Gonzalez said. Rents are rising fast in the Valley, which is making it harder for low-income workers to get by. A four-bedroom house in the West Valley costs $1,000 a month to rent, about the same as a two-bedroom house in Phoenix.

Gonzalez recently moved from Tolleson to Phoenix to be closer to work. She lives with her partner and does not have children. But if she were single, she might have to make tough choices, she said.

"I work on a non-profit salary, but I find that I have to balance my budget," Gonzalez said. "I have to be a good consumer."

In another part of the Valley, a family of six finds that their combined annual pay of $60,000 is more than enough to live on, but it can require tough choices.

Minister Steven Harper and his wife, Anita, who works at a before- and after-school care program in the Dysart Unified School District, have four children. The oldest is 18, and the youngest is 2.

"I don't think that I am rich, by any stretch of the imagination, but I have a hard time (believing) that is just barely surviving," said Harper, 49.

Harper acknowledges that there are choices that his family has made that may not be possible for other people. He and his wife homeschool their children. Since he is home during the day, they don't pay for market-rate child care, which could cost hundreds of dollars per month for an infant or toddler. They bought their Surprise home before the housing boom, when prices were lower. They don't eat out often or take extravagant vacations.

"I'm sure my grandparents could tell us, 'You don't know what a hard life is,' " he said. "I was raised on that atmosphere of not having a lot and to use what income you've got. We teach our kids that, too."

Even if some families have learned to live lean, more good-paying jobs would help young workers stay in Arizona, Gonzalez said.

"There are employers here," she said. "But I don't think there is enough skilled labor here. By skilled, I mean college-educated students are leaving to establish themselves in states that can attract this kind of labor."

Statewide effort

State leaders say they are trying to attract higher-wage jobs.

In 2011, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a jobs package that included phased-in tax cuts for businesses and created a new public-private Commerce Authority that uses state and private funds to attract jobs to Arizona.

The year-old authority, chaired by Brewer, has had some success, but in the context of the total number of jobs the state has lost, its impact has been limited.

The state lost 300,000 jobs during the downturn. During fiscal year 2012, the authority helped create 5,610 jobs, Brewer said.

"The loss of 300,000 jobs is devastating. There's no way to sugarcoat that, and I know that many Arizona families continue to struggle every day," Brewer said.

"But I also believe strongly that we've made the right decisions to turn this economy around and lay a foundation for job growth built not just upon housing," the governor said, adding the state has been "aggressive" about job creation.

Over the next five years, the authority aims to play a key role in creating 75,000 high-wage jobs in target industries like aerospace and defense, semiconductors, optics, bioscience and energy.

Some jobs in these sectors boast average wages between $63,000 and $104,000 and have a "multiplier" effect on the job market as suppliers hire workers to serve those industries, she added.

Other, more-established groups, such as the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, are also working to bring higher-wage jobs to Arizona.

"We still need to increase the personal income average of every citizen in Arizona," said Barry Broome, CEO of the council, adding that his group is focused on recruiting companies that export products.

This past fiscal year, the group says it assisted 36 companies that expanded or relocated to the Valley. Of those, 14 are set to bring jobs to the region that pay salaries of more than $40,000.

This year, GPEC brought in more than 4,000 jobs, Broome said. Of those, more than 1,300 are considered high-wage jobs, with an average salary of about $65,000.

That includes Silicon Valley Bank from California, which recently opened a branch in Tempe and is expected to hire 250 employees at an average salary of $88,000, Broome said.

As of March, the state had recovered roughly one-quarter of the jobs lost during the economic downturn.

Arizona leaders say it will take time to build economic momentum that can create more good-paying jobs that can make a difference in everyday Arizonans' paychecks.

"Attracting high-wage jobs is difficult -- not impossible -- but difficult," Broome said, adding that Arizona must be able to compete with surrounding states like Texas and Utah.

"We've made some recent policy achievements that definitely help," Broome said, "but more work is required of us."



 

What Social Media Can Learn From Multicultural Marketing
Category: GENERAL

What Social Media Can Learn From Multicultural Marketing

Regardless of Market, Focus Should Be on Cultural Relevancy, not the Technology

By: Christine Huang Bio
Published: September 08, 2009

 

Listing: Blue Chip company seeks experienced Online Community Manager/Social Media Strategist/person who understands the Internet to develop company's integrated marketing initiatives across new media channels. S/he will be responsible for monitoring Twitter, making a Youtube channel, adding friends on Facebook, and managing intermittent "blogger outreach". 3+ years experience in updating status messages required.

Sound familiar? If you're working for any brand with a half-functioning marketing department, it should. Even amidst the downturn, companies are clamoring to get in the social-media game by hiring social-media managers or looking in-house to indoctrinate their own. The question around social-media strategies is no longer if, but how: How can we acquire more Twitter followers than rival Brand Y? How can we tap into our Facebook fans to promote our new product? How can we use social media to tell our story?

Any brand that considers itself competitive is already engaging in social media on several levels. And even if they haven't answered the "why" of it all, many have already launched headfirst into the how, getting their logos and well-briefed spokespeople on every social networking site/platform/channel they can, spreading the message of their latest promotion or new campaign.

Of course in the growing flurry of tweets and blog-buzzery, separating the signal from the noise has become an increasingly difficult task for consumers. Brands tirelessly pump out their messages across the standard platforms, but many users are often left wondering what it is they're "friending" and whose purpose it ultimately serves to do so. What does it mean to become one of Brand X's 7,000 Facebook friends, and why should we read its CEO's latest blog?

For most businesses, being part of the social-media evolution is no longer a new opportunity; it's a necessity. And yet for many, one of the most basic elements of a successful strategy seems dangerously undercooked: the "what?" What exactly is this currency we're now wielding? What are its different forms, how do they travel, and do we have a real understanding of them? What makes the content we're creating socially, culturally and distinctively relevant?

For multicultural audiences, this is an especially crucial consideration. For the growing "non-general market," social media means much more than just Twitter, Facebook and blogs. It includes a wide range of content and channels, paths to entry more nascent than the staid mediums and content we're all familiar with.

African-American, Hispanic, and Asian consumers download more mobile ringtones, games and images than their white counterparts. They share shopping and entertainment advice and consume a wider range of mobile media (from Internet to live TV to streaming audio) than their peers. They engage in niche social networks that are grounded in offline interaction. They're more likely to store and share photos, contacts and calendar information on their mobile phones than anyone else.

Hispanics, in particular, are more likely to befriend a brand on a social-networking site than non-Hispanics. And African Americans as well as Hispanics are more likely to use social-networking spaces to share opinions with friends about products, services and brands than "general market" consumers.

Needless to say, when speaking to a multicultural audience, research into the different content and mediums most valued by these segments is a necessity. This is particularly important in the social-media game, given the minority market's high adoption rate of new means of accessing and sharing content, entertainment and opinions -- often about brands. Understanding these morphing modes and pieces of cultural currency is the first step for any brand trying to truly resonate with a highly differentiated audience.

But this culture-based approach shouldn't be limited to the multicultural sphere -- especially when dealing with media designed to be social. All brands and agencies should be thinking beyond Twitter updates and Facebook pages when considering their interactions in the social media space. Every user today has a voice, a culture, a distinct perspective. For a brand's efforts to be meaningful and worthwhile, it must explore the diversity of its audience -- and strike up relevant, authentic conversations founded in a true understanding of their cultures. From multicultural to general, the market today must be spoken to via media that is more than social -- but cultural, as well.

When we think about social media, for any type of audience, we must consider the spectrum it represents, and which pieces are most relevant and valuable to the consumers we're trying to reach. This means thinking about:

Culture-based insights about your audience: What kinds of content are they consuming and sharing? Why, where and how?

Using these clues to guide the content you offer: Does a viral video make sense for your audience? Or should you consider a niche community outreach? Or, both? (Scion has been successful in this area: From its design-your-own coat of arms to its fine arts events to its extreme sports sponsorships, the brand has taken a culture-based approach to reaching its heterogenous audience while maintaining its brand's core values)

The relevant pathways to entry: Should you invest in a Twitter promotion? Or would a mobile entertainment campaign make a bigger impact? What mediums and networks do your most loyal consumers use and trust?

Of course, none of this is easy. It requires a keen understanding of what lies beyond the known conversation and its oft-used channels. But we present this challenge to brands and to agencies: to think outside of the social-media template, to venture beyond the conventions already established and to create fully-considered strategies that speak to their increasingly diverse audience in more meaningful, relevant ways.

~ ~ ~
Christine Huang is head of cultural trends at GlobalHue, the U.S.'s leading multicultural marketing-communications agency.

 

Multicultural marketing preparations
Category: GENERAL
  • Multicultural marketing

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

     

     

     

    Multicultural marketing is the practice of marketing to one audience of a certain ethnicity.

  • Multicultural marketing uses cultural touch points such as language, traditions, celebrations, religion and any other concepts that may relevant to the particular cultural audience.

  • It is the promotion of a brand's product or service targeted to one or more multicultural groups or to an ethnically diverse consumer base.

  • The day of "one size fits all" is gone with the advent of multi cultural marketing,

  • The opportunity cost of not creating a multicultural marketing strategy can translate into staggering losses for businesses, through the misinterpretation of marketing messages, the loss or damage to the brand image or, worse, the risk of customer alienation and defection.

    Multicultural marketing grew out of careful marketing research, which showed that different ethnic and demographic niches do not always favorably respond to mass market advertising.

  • Companies capitalize on on a well thought out multicultural marketing strategies to cater to their diverse customer base. Another angle to multicultural marketing would be the concept of social stratification is all human societies, each society is divided into different social classes- a multicultural marketing strategy may be targeted to them as well.

    Contents

     

    1 Multicultural Marketing: Through Advertising"

    2 Significance of Multicultural Marketing

    3 Skills required

    4 Steps Involved in Formulating a multicultural strategy

    5 Pioneers

    6 See also

    7 References

    8 External links

      Multicultural Marketing: Through Advertising"

    Advertisements are considered as forms of social communication that resonate the cultural values of a society.

  • At the same time, advertising creates and produces new cultural values and meanings by influencing group identities and reinforcing stereotypes. So advertising is not only influenced by cultural values but also acts as an agent influencing cultural values.

  • From a marketing perspective, advertisers have been more interested in the effects of culture on consumers’ response to advertising.

  • People tend to live within their cultural boundaries; i.e., people have their own cultural values and norms, which influence the way they think, feel and act. People in the same ethnic groups tend to share the language, customs, values, and social views.

  • These shared values (i.e., culture) influence people’s cognitive (beliefs and motives), affective (emotion and attitude) and behavioral (purchase and consumption) processes.

  • Based on this notion of advertising as a mirror,” cultural values and standards are implanted in ads in such a way that consumers can “see themselves” and identify with the characters in the ads and feel affinity with the brands

    Significance of Multicultural Marketing

    Multicultural marketing has an impact on the core business strategies of any business

    Innovation: Charting a multicultural marketing strategy goes beyond identifying communications programs and promotions tailored to these markets. Multicultural marketing is an engine for innovation.

    Growth: If multicultural segments are growing at higher rates than the general population, it implies that they are also consuming most products at higher rates than the rest

    Globalization: Once a corporation acknowledges the value of multicultural marketing and begins investing in research and development of products and new marketing capabilities, these can be leveraged in the global environment.

    Skills required

    It is suggested that the following skills are required in the field of multicultural marketing.[1]

    To spot patterns that allow subcultures to be grouped together, so that a common marketing strategy may be extended to several subcultures in a group (“transcultural” marketing)

    To develop a distinct marketing strategy for each subculture, if there is a significantly distinct cultural dimension that is important to the specific culture (multicultural marketing)

    To further segment audiences in a subculture, if needed, in terms of cultural affinity, cultural identity or acculturation level (tactical adaptation within a subculture)

    To develop parameters of culturally acceptable marketing stimuli; and

    To establish a protocol for measuring cultural effectiveness of the stimuli.

    This process is also known as ethnic marketing.[2]

    Steps Involved in Formulating a multicultural strategy

    Multicultural market planning must begin with 1) Understanding cross-cultural differences in communication patterns, values, and behavior, followed by 2) Evaluating the need for adjustments in strategy and tactics, 3) Assessing cultural affinity among ethnic audiences, 4) Segmenting the ethnic audiences based on the level of cultural affinity, 5) Exploring culturally acceptable/unacceptable, sensitive/insensitive advertising messages among the identified segments, 6) Developing the most effective and efficient advertising tactics targeted to the identified segments, and finally 7) Evaluating the effectiveness of advertising campaigns among different target segments.

    An ethnic marketing strategy is developed around the values ​​and attitudes distinctive to a particular ethnic group, and generally includes the following aspects:

    Identification and collaboration with community leaders

    The promotion of culture, symbols and celebrations important to a precise target

    Enhancing and focusing on the cultural uniqueness of ethnic group

    Ethnic marketers focus on customizing a new message for each target group that considers all of the above, as opposed to simply translating a standard message into different languages.[3]

    Ethnic marketing strategies fall into two general categories – target groups with a low level of ethnic identity (or ethnicity) and target groups with a high level of ethnic identity. In a market with low levels of ethnic identity the strategy more closely follows the rules of traditional marketing.

  • A target market with high degree of ethnicity is usually found among first generation immigrants with a limited knowledge of the local language and a strong use of their mother language, and these markets are often located in areas with high ethnic density.

    Pioneers

    Pioneers in the field of multicultural marketing include Madam C. J. Walker, African-American businesswoman, hair care entrepreneur,[4] Procter and Gamble,[5] Mc Donald's,[6] Pepsi cola and Benetton,[7] and the entrepreneur Francesco Costa[8] with My Own Media[9] and ISI Holding in the foreigner services sector,[10] Joseph Assaf with Ethnic Business Awards, Alan M. Powell CEO of AP & Associates.

    See also

    Ethnic media

    Ethnic group

    EMMA

    Alternative media

    References

    ^ "How Brands Must Adapt to the 'New Majority Marketplace'". http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/brands-adapt-majority-marketplace/149507/. 

    ^ "Ethnic Marketing: A Strategy for Marketing Programs to Diverse Audiences". http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy758. 

    ^ "Multicultural marketing: why one size does not fit all". http://www.thewisemarketer.com/features/read.asp?id=80. 

    ^ "Madam C. J. Walker". http://www.blackinventor.com/pages/madame-walker.html. 

    ^ "What Procter & Gamble has learned about multicultural marketing". http://www.realtimeadvertisingweek.com/2010/09/what-procter-gamble-has-learned-about-multicultural-marketing.html. 

    ^ "Ethnic Marketing: McDonald's Is Lovin' It". http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_29/b4187022876832.htm. 

    ^ "Ethnic Marketing in the United States". http://www.memoireonline.com/10/08/1595/ethnic-marketing-in-the-united-states.html. 

    ^ "L'individuo che conta: Approccio Human Finance". Advisor. April 2007. 

    ^ "Message to immigrants has a language gap". International Herald Tribune. January 2006. 

    ^ "Costa Launches Immigrant Finance". Lombard. 31 July 2006. 

    http://www.hispanicprblog.com/hispanic-organization-news/namic-announces-winners-of-the-2010-excellence-in-multi-cultural-marketing-awards.html

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/258375

     

     

 

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