From restaurant dining options to casting in movies, it seems like everything is evolving to include more variety, and why not? Variety is the spice of life, no?
If this made you roll your eyes, I’m right there with you.
Glance at my name and my headshot and this may surprise you to hear me say inclusion and diversity can’t and shouldn’t be justified with cliche adages like these.
Furthermore, they shouldn’t be justified solely as “the right thing to do” socially. While this may be true in most cases, there is more to consider, especially in business and the case for inclusive marketing.
I am a fierce advocate for diversity in marketing and representation in media. As a young, Indo-Caribbean woman born to immigrants, I‘ve rarely seen people like me in the media I encounter — but I’m also a keen business woman.
My advocacy is not just about my own experience as a consumer. My support of inclusive marketing is not purely based on wanting to be seen, heard, or represented, but because, as a marketer, I see the changing face of buyers in every industry.
4. Brands with the highest diversity scores see an 83% higher consumer preference. (Heat Test Report 2019)
5. 64% of consumers surveyed said they took some sort of action after seeing an ad they considered to be diverse or inclusive. (Think With Google 2019)
6. 70% of younger millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if that brand demonstrates inclusion and diversity in terms of its promotions and offers, 66% in terms of their in-store experience, and 68% in their product range. (2018 Accenture Holiday Shopping survey)
7. 69% of older millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if that brand demonstrates inclusion and diversity in terms of its promotions and offers, 72% in terms of their in-store experience, and 70% in their product range. (2018 Accenture Holiday Shopping survey)
8. 69% of Black consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand whose advertising positively reflects their race/ethnicity. (Think With Google 2019)
9. 71% of LGBTQ+ consumers are more likely to interact with an online ad that authentically represents their sexual orientation. (Think With Google 2019)
16. 34% of U.K. marketers say they’ve used racially diverse models in recent campaigns, and 21% have used more images featuring ‘non-professional’ models within the past few years. (Shutterstock)
17. 65% of U.S. marketers who are featuring more non-traditional families in imagery are doing so to best represent modern-day society, while 57% are featuring more non-professional models. (Shutterstock)
18. 91% of U.S. marketers agreed with the statement “There is still room for growth in using more diverse images by marketers.” (Shutterstock)
19. Multicultural advertising and marketing spending is on pace to rise 4.5% in 2019 to slightly more than $27 billion and is projected to increase 6.3% in 2020 to $28.7 billion.
22. While one out of four people live with a disability, only 1% of ads represent them. (Heat Test Report 2019)
23. 94% of the brands had at least one occurrence of women in a primary role, 57% of which were in positions of power, but even half of those roles still featured a stereotypical element like empathetic mom, devoted wife, or boy-focused girl. (Heat Test Report 2019)
In other words, while women have been given prominent representation in ads and marketing, the portrayals are heavily rooted in stereotypical gender roles and expectations.
Grow your audience, grow your bottom line
I am a proud brown woman and, yes, it does give me a sense of pride and validation seeing faces like mine show up in commercials or website hero areas.
I smile at them, but more than anything, I think “oh, that’s good marketing.”
Great marketing reaches people, and that’s what is at the root of inclusive and diverse marketing. It’s about growing your potential market of buyers. It’s about expanding your reach beyond just the groups you’ve conventionally targeted to welcome and connect with new ones.
With more competition popping up every day and technology connecting us more globally, this is an opportunity to grow your market and grow your business. It’s also a chance to explore ways to connect on a deeper level with existing customers; to discover new facets of their lives and resonate with them in more meaningful ways.
The clock is ticking for “sleeping” on an inclusive marketing strategy. So, from one savvy marketer to another, don’t hit the snooze button.
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