In today’s world, it is important to be inclusive in your advertising efforts. Consumers expect companies to be more in tune with their needs than ever. If you are not, then you are missing out. Businesses have to compete on a global scale. This means they need to take diversity and inclusion seriously. If you are a business that is looking to make its digital marketing more inclusive and your company workforce more diverse, there are several things to consider.
What is inclusive marketing?
Inclusive marketing is any aspect of a marketing campaign that is directed at a large audience. When practicing inclusive marketing, you have to make sure that your marketing materials engage people from as many groups as possible without causing any offense. This requires being very culturally aware and good at realizing the common ground that everyone holds. No matter what differences people have, there are some things that are the same for everyone. For example, we all need to eat food, buy clothing, and want to feel loved or appreciated.
A good example of inclusive marketing might be a clothing company advertising unisex jogging pants in sizes ranging from XXS-6XL. This would be an example of gender-inclusive and size-inclusive marketing. It shows that care was taken to make sure practically anyone could enjoy wearing these pants.
Tips for inclusive marketing
Know your audience
While knowing your audience is considered a basic rule of marketing, it can be harder to achieve when you have a very broad audience. You must take the time to understand a lot of different groups of people. This means learning about different cultures, religions and social groups and taking the time to know about the issues that concern people of different ages.
Learning about different groups can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Having a diverse workforce that you can rely on to represent different cultures and social groups can be a big help when it comes to knowing your audience. Surveys, focus groups and data analysis are all methods that can be used to gain more insight into different groups of people and what they are most interested in buying or using.
Use a diverse group of models
Models in advertising should come from many different groups. The advertisements in an ad campaign should not include just a single race, gender or body type. People are far more likely to form a lasting connection with your company if they feel you respect and represent them. Gone are the days when companies were respected for using models that create unfair and unrealistic stereotypes. People want to see people like them using and enjoying your products. This means clothing companies need to have models with different body types rather than sticking to very slim and young models that represent a small portion of the general population.
That being said, make sure that – in the spirit of diversity and inclusiveness – you do not neglect to include a group that has traditionally been more represented than most. The goal is to be inclusive, not to exclude those that are often more represented.
Consider other aspects of inclusion
Being inclusive means doing more than just representing different ethnic groups, genders or body types. More people than ever are reaching older ages and living with disabilities or chronic conditions. It is important to consider those with disabilities and older people. Products that everyone can use should show in their marketing how they can help someone lead an easier or more fulfilling life.
Keep in mind younger customers notice inclusivity
Younger customers, in particular, notice when a company is inclusive and diverse. Brands that are inclusive are chosen more frequently by younger customers. This means that if you want to have part of that market share, you need to show in your advertising that you are considerate of people from all walks of life. If a younger customer is deciding between you and a competitor and your company is not as representative of others, then they are likely to choose your competitor.
Consider whether your product is useful for everyone
Products that are useful for everyone are more likely to be successful. If your company is trying to develop products and brainstorming new ideas, then how inclusive the product or service is should be a major factor in your decision-making process. If a product does not initially seem inclusive, then your team should consider how they could make the product more inclusive.
If you have products that have been historically successful, then you should consider if there is a way to update them so they are more inclusive. For example, expanding the shoe or clothing sizes you offer may significantly increase your customer base.
Of course, you also have to consider the costs associated with being more inclusive. When doing this, you should not forget to consider that even if something like a particular size or color is not as profitable as others, if it improves your image with more groups of people, it can be worth producing just for the marketing value.
Consider the impact of your marketing on social media
Inclusive digital marketing makes it far more likely your customers will follow you on social media. Gaining followers on social media is very important in the modern business world. This means you need to create engaging and inclusive digital marketing campaigns that are memorable. Resharing via social media is a great way to gain more customers, but you have to impress others so they will share your content. More inclusive companies are also far more likely to be recommended to the friends and family of those you reach and gain as a customer.
Consider hiring leaders who can help diversify your company
Great management and leadership can really help when it comes to making a workplace more diverse. If you want to be the answer to the question, why is diversity, equity and inclusion important? You should consider earning an online Master’s Degree in Leadership from St. Bonaventure University. In 15 months, you could be helping create more inclusive companies and advertising. Their program aids students in honing their communication skills to build trust and foster inclusivity within their teams. If you are currently working at a company, then gaining this degree will offer you the skills you need to lead teams and find ways to ensure that everyone has a voice that is respected and heard.
Tips for great inclusive digital marketing
Assess the source of your marketing leads
There are trackers that can help you discover where you are generating marketing leads. This allows you to change the parameters and audience your ads are being directed at if you are not meeting your goals. If one particular social media outlet is not performing well, then you need to figure out any changes that need to be made or consider directing your marketing dollars toward those that are bringing you customers.
Place your digital ads carefully
Creating many different ads to appeal to specific subgroups of a larger audience can be very helpful. Social media ads can be honed to achieve this purpose. For example, you can set up Facebook ads to reach specific demographics. If you do this for each ad, then you can make your advertising more effective, and it can help form a connection with customers.
Avoid cultural appropriation
Using any aspect of a culture or a minority group in a way that shows you don’t understand it or in a way that may be deemed disrespectful should always be avoided. This might include appropriating certain types of clothing, hairstyles or language. Misrepresenting a group can be easy to do, and it is very hard to undo the damage of releasing a bad marketing campaign.
Having minority groups represented in your marketing team can help avoid this type of appropriation and ensure that you do not cause offense to any culture or group with your advertising efforts.
Present your marketing to a diverse group for review
Any advertising that targets a specific group needs to be very well-planned and reviewed by diverse groups of people before it is released on the Internet. While taking extra time can be difficult at times, it is far better than releasing something that is not up to strict standards. The better thought-out an ad campaign is, the greater the potential.
Release regular content on social media
Potential or current customers will get bored if you do not release regular content. It is important to have a lot of content for your social media page and company blog. There are programs that can help you schedule campaigns, and content releases months in advance, so you can be assured that there is always something new to capture your audience’s attention.
Be open to different opinions and viewpoints
We all have our own backgrounds and experiences that we draw from in life. It is important that everyone is open to different opinions and viewpoints when it comes to marketing and connecting with any audience. It is impossible for any one person to know all about all the different groups of people and customs out there in the world. This is one reason why fostering diversity in the workplace is very important. When you have a diverse workforce, you are constantly exposed to viewpoints from many cultures and groups. Regular meetings or having a work group on a platform like Slack where people can share ideas and opinions can encourage employees to be creative and learn together.
Consider working with a diverse group of influencers
There are a lot of influencers on social media with huge followings that can help your business while they earn some commission and product. Using influencers for digital marketing makes a lot of sense. For starters, you have a person or a group that knows their market well and can help ensure your message is appropriate for the audience you are trying to reach.
Influencers are typically compensated with a commission from any sales and free products from your company. In exchange, you can reach an audience that trusts the opinion of the influencer a lot, so you can gain customers in niche markets.
By using influencers from many different backgrounds and groups, you can gain a lot of recognition for your products with a minimal upfront cost. Influencers have a real incentive to help you since they get a commission. Another benefit is that influencers can help you learn about different groups of people so you can do a better job of being inclusive in all areas of your business. You can learn a lot about what is appealing and what is not, and what products are most wanted!
The importance of diversity in the workplace
While inclusivity in digital marketing is important, companies need to start increasing the diversity of their workforce for many reasons.
Consider the ethics of an inclusive approach
It is ethically right to offer opportunities to people from all walks of life. If someone has the qualifications to perform a job, then they should be encouraged to apply and given proper consideration, no matter which group of people they identify with or their ethnicity. It is important that companies reflect the diversity surrounding them in society in their workforce. If your company is lacking in diversity, then an effort should be made to change that and become more diverse.
Advertise jobs more widely
While hiring locally is admirable in some ways, it is important to consider the diversity of your applicants. By increasing the range of places you are advertising open positions, you are giving people from different backgrounds the opportunity to consider employment with your company. When you advertise more broadly, it allows you to pick from a wide pool of applicants and find some very talented people from diverse backgrounds.
Make your company more hospitable
Having a good policy about harassment, hate speech and discrimination can be helpful when attracting a diverse range of job applicants. Another good-faith method to convey that you are on a mission to create an inclusive company is to have a mission statement about your commitment to creating a workplace that fosters creativity, innovation and diversity.
Encourage others to voice their opinions
Always make sure that employees feel comfortable voicing their opinions. This fosters an environment where everyone feels like part of a team, and they are more likely to work well together. Voicing opinions and discussing them helps everyone understand each other better and be more well-rounded.
Consider cultural awareness activities
Training or events that celebrate the different cultures and groups of people in a community is a good way to encourage employees to be culturally aware. Training can involve inviting community and religious leaders to talk and answer questions. Having a company event where everyone comes together to socialize can help encourage employees to learn more about each other and find common ground.
Take discrimination seriously
Discrimination within the workplace should not be tolerated. When discrimination happens, it needs to be addressed immediately, and steps need to be taken to prevent the practice. There are cases where offense is taken, but the person was simply unaware they were causing offense. People do need to be given the chance to see the error of their ways, but if the behavior continues, then they should be replaced within the workforce.
Some instances should mean immediate termination of employment. This should occur when someone is truly offensive and well aware of their actions. Regardless of intent, the last thing you want is for your employees to feel that you do not take discrimination and harassment seriously.
More people than ever are getting all their advertising through digital means. What this means for your business is that you have to be inclusive to stay ahead of the competition. Without inclusivity, you run the risk of not connecting with a lot of potential customers and falling behind in your niche.
In addition, since younger customers are even more likely to get all their advertising presented to them digitally, it is important to note how important a company’s ethics and values are to them when they are making a purchasing decision. If you need help being inclusive or have questions, it is important to reach out to different groups and influencers within those groups and learn everything you can.