The role of homophily in serving or suppressing firm relationship marketing opportunities



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This research questions whether homophily or "sameness" within the advertising agency positively or negatively impacts the black owned advertising agency's ability to build client relationships, expand business related to their perceived expertise, or expand business not related to their perceived expertise. Why study black owned advertising agencies? The case of black advertising agency owners provides a particularly compelling context in which to understand homophily and its impact on relationship marketing. Historically, black advertising entrepreneurs have been marginalized to the black consumer market, which was a reflection of black American citizens' struggle for civil and labor rights. This research seeks to understand whether this historical sameness in ownership, employees, and consumer target negatively or positively impacts 21st century black advertising agency owners' ability to build broader relationships to sustain or grow their businesses. In depth interviews were conducted to understand this issue. Respondents revealed the aspects of homophily or sameness that were important to their relationship marketing activities, the pursuit and development of their advertising agency, employee hiring, and mentoring. This research not only revealed the types of white dominate group bias the respondents experienced, but just as important, revealed in-group or black-on-black bias in the advertising industry as well.