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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Let’s face it: your customers are the heart and soul of your business. After all, your business wouldn’t and couldn’t exist without them. But are you truly doing all you can to engage with and serve your customers? Or are you unintentionally leaving some of them behind? Today we are going to discuss diversity marketing in your business strategy.

The fact of the matter is that if you do not include diversity marketing in your business strategy, you may well be marginalizing or wholly excluding entire segments of your customer base. And this is why, if you want to expand your marketing reach, drive business growth, promote customer loyalty, and cultivate an authentically inclusive company brand, you need to make diversity a central component of your marketing strategy.

What Is Diversity Marketing?

You might not have heard the term “diversity marketing” in the past, but you can probably glean its mission from the title. The central purpose of diversity marketing is to reverse and rectify the homogenization of traditional marketing practices, and to cultivate approaches that are more representative of our communities and of the customer’s companies seek to serve.

A group of marketing professionals discuss strategy.

This would include marketing campaigns that feature members of racial and ethnic minority groups, women, seniors, persons with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. It captures, reflects, and speaks to the lifestyles, experiences, needs, and values of persons not typically represented in the advertising practices of the past.

Diversity marketing can also encompass inclusive design strategies, and the use of marketing tools and methods that ensure accessibility for end users with special needs, such as those with hearing, vision, or mobility impairments.

The end result is the production of marketing campaigns that speak to and with once-disenfranchised communities while also providing the forums and platforms through which these once-silenced voices can be heard.

The Power Of Diversity Marketing

The power of diversity marketing resides not only in its capacity to reflect communities and consumers today more accurately but also in its ability to empower and educate, to heal and unify.

One of the most striking examples of the profound benefits of inclusive marketing, for instance, can be seen in Aerie’s recent campaigns promoting body positivity. For nearly a decade, the company has featured models of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Beginning in 2014, the company also decided to end its practices of editing images to make models appear fitter or more shapely, or to conceal stretch marks, cellulite, or other “blemishes.”

The campaign, in other words, was designed not only to express empathy for consumers but for “real” women with “real” bodies. Approaching audiences with empathy in this way helps audiences learn to be more empathetic not only toward others but also toward themselves.

And what this means for marketers is that the company is able to build relationships with its target audience based not on exploiting consumers’ weaknesses and insecurities but on celebrating and illuminating their strength, power, and beauty. There is perhaps a no better way to cultivate a positive brand identity or earn your customers’ trust and loyalty than that.

Living The Label

Creating an effective diversity marketing platform is about more than embracing new narratives and personas in your marketing campaigns, It’s also about cultivating an organizational culture that manifests the diversity and inclusiveness it promotes.

One of the most essential strategies for making inclusivity goals a reality in your company is to develop robust anti-bias and anti-discrimination training programs. This will not only help to ensure a more welcoming and safe workplace environment for diverse employees but it will also facilitate the success of your diversity marketing strategies. This is due to the stark reality that, for many people, biases are unconscious.

Living The Label. Diverse marketing team.

Few people want to acknowledge that they harbor prejudices against other groups or that their behavior could in any way be construed as discrimination or harassment. And yet, unless your staff learns to become more self-aware, their unconscious biases could seep into and poison the workplace environment while also infecting your marketing campaigns.

This could easily lead not only to disharmony and disunity within your company but also to the creation of unintentionally insensitive and offensive campaigns. This, in turn, could alienate entire segments of your customer base and tarnish your brand reputation.

The Takeaway

Diversity marketing is more than just another approach for your marketing strategy. In an increasingly globalized world and an ever-more diverse marketplace, prioritizing inclusivity and diversity in your marketing platforms is essential. Diversity marketing as a central facet of your overall business strategy is a powerful tool for expanding your market reach, cultivating a positive brand identity, and promoting customer loyalty.

The central precepts of the approach are not only to create campaigns that more truly reflect the communities and customers your company serves, but also to cultivate meaningful and enduring relationships with customers through trust, empathy, respect, and empowerment.

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Categories:  St. Louis Small Business

About the Author

James McMinn

Senior Digital Strategist

James is a savvy digital marketing specialist with a Masters of Science in Internet Marketing. For the past fourteen years, he has been specializing in SEO, PPC & Marketing Strategy. He has a super sharp analytical mind and a finely tuned creative eye for marketing initiatives that optimize brands.

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