Have you ever looked at an ad and thought, “Well this product isn’t for me”? What made you think that way? Was it because you didn’t see yourself in the images or hear yourself in the language? As a small business marketing agency, we understand the importance of speaking to and representing every potential customer in ads and content. The United States–in fact, the entire world–is becoming increasingly diverse, and marketing and advertising need to reflect that diversity in order to be successful.
Let’s get a little more specific. Let’s say the target market for your new baby wrap carrier is married mothers between 25 and 35. If you don’t genuinely also acknowledge gay married men with children or stay at home dads, you’re missing out on major market segments. And what about younger mothers? Aren’t they consumers? And the increasing group of women having children in their early 40s might want to wear their babies, too. You get the point.
Even more important, by leaving entire groups out of your advertising, you may also lose out on customers who look for brands that are inclusive. In a November 2019 article, Think with Google told us that of the almost 3,000 consumers between the ages of 13 and 54 they surveyed, “64% of those surveyed said they took some sort of action after seeing an ad that they considered to be diverse or inclusive. This percentage is higher among specific consumer groups including Latinx+ (85%), Black (79%), Asian/Pacific Islander (79%), LGBTQ (85%), millennial (77%), and teen (76%) consumers.” 64% or more took action based on perceived diversity in marketing campaigns, whether they fit into the demographics they saw in ads or not. That’s huge!
So now we hear you asking, “How do I make sure my marketing strategy is diverse and inclusive?”
We’re so glad you asked! Here are some strategies to consider in your marketing efforts.
Marketing Strategies that Reflect Diversity
Find good images.
Let’s go with the low-hanging fruit first. Make sure your images contain people of different races and ethnicities. Just don’t stop there! Remember that diversity stretches beyond color. Try to include people of different ages, gender representations, religions, marital statuses, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Some of these elements can be tough to represent in an image without context, but most stock image companies and photographers are ahead of the curve on this. Finding the right images for your content just takes some patience and an open mind.
When you’re hiring, look for people who can add to and complement the groups your company already represents. If you’re starting to look like a silo of men, find some women. If everyone has similar levels of melanin showing, consider hiring someone who looks different. Is everyone in the office straight? Be on the lookout for someone who can represent the LGBTQ+ community. When your company can display its own diversity, it shows authenticity and inclusion beyond your marketing campaigns.
If you’re not in hiring mode or can’t bring on new team members, invite voices from people of all walks of life to your content! Find guest bloggers. Look for new voices for your podcast. Retweet and share information from people and brands that reflect lots of different perspectives.
As a final note, we want to remind you to be truly authentic in your marketing, and be careful not to step into the murky area of cultural appropriation. The Cambridge Dictionary says cultural appropriation is “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture.” If you are reflecting and reaching out to diverse groups, do it with purpose and at least a little common sense. Let’s not have a repeat of Kendall Jenner calming racially charged protests reminiscent of the Civil Rights Movement with what Bernice King poignantly dubbed “the power of #pepsi.” It’s not a good look, and it takes a lot to recover from a move like that.
Just Make an Effort
Making an effort goes a long way. When you start making small changes in your content that work to acknowledge different groups of people, your customers will notice. And that research shows us that about 64% of them will take some kind of action! If you’re not comfortable tackling new marketing and advertising techniques on your own, reach out to us. We can guide you and offer services that help your message rise above the noise with diversity and poise.