Today’s consumers want to see the representation of real people and see themselves in marketing and advertising campaigns. Gone are the days when we focused on the product. Now we must focus on our customers.
Today we are going into what diversity marketing is, which target audience you should focus on guidelines on how you can apply it in your business’s marketing world.
What is diversity marketing
Diversity Marketing is a marketing strategy that appeals to and includes diverse groups of consumers, including groups based on age, physical appearance, ability, gender, race or ethnicity, sexual identity, beliefs, etc.
It is an umbrella term that encompasses the intent and motivation behind the content of a diversity marketing campaign or a marketing message.
Applying diversity marketing is not necessarily about catering to every target market, but about knowing who is attracted to your brand and ensuring that those user groups are also represented and included in your marketing campaigns.
Diversity in digital marketing is not just about images, it requires understanding your audience, and assessing accessibility and user experience.
Types of diversity marketing to consider
Underrepresented ethnic groups in diversity marketing
Actually, it’s sad that there was a really big jolt only through the Black Lives Matters movement, which became known worldwide through the horrific deaths of two African Americans in 2014. Unfortunately, only since then has the history, literature, and music from underrepresented ethnic groups have been recognized globally.
Many companies have also had previous marketing strategies that at one time showed a person of colour, but are underrepresented ethnic groups properly and authentically represented in campaigns?
The Shutterstock study clearly shows that the UK really has a lot of catching up to do on a global average. Only 60% of advertisers see ethnic diversity as important when addressing their target groups.
Diversity Marketing that involves LGBTQIA2S+
Advertisers have an even harder time with this topic. According to the study, more than 40% of British marketers don’t really know how to connect their brands with LGBTQIA2S+ content and present it correctly.
Authentic messages play an important role here. Away from stereotypical representations, towards advertising that shows the diversity of gender identity. By definition, ‘queer’ is a self-designation for people who are not heterosexual and/or cisgender. The latter refers to people whose gender is the same as their sex ascribed at birth.
And while we’re on terminology – do you know what exactly LGBTQIA2S+? Just briefly as a side info the acronym stands for: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and the + for all other identities.
The LGBT community need to be integrated more into more communication channels as well as online and offline marketing efforts.
Various studies have shown that this increases acceptance. However, the campaigns need to go far beyond rainbow flags and a “Pride Month”. I myself find it much more authentic to go against the flow of such campaigns and nothing like it is almost expected by the companies on a given month or day.
Now we come to another underrepresented group of people.
People with disabilities in advertising and digital marketing
According to scope.org, there are 14.6 million severely disabled people in the UK. However, if you look at advertising, you rarely see this target group. Sometimes, if it fits the theme or the handicap is exactly to sell the product – but are they really integrated into businesses’ everyday campaigns?
It is not in line with the advertising ideal to show people with impairments, which is why they are still underrepresented in this industry. I have the feeling that many companies don’t dare to address the issue, are afraid of misrepresenting something in their market, and/or prefer to keep doing what they’re doing – but that won’t help them in the long run.
Its my opinion that many an organization is not prepared to think of alternative ways to market their products to this different customer base. Or that they haven’t made any real attempt in their diversity marketing efforts to really understand them as a unique community. This takes courage and I think many businesses are too scared that their image will be damaged for using diversity marketing tactics to target this group.
Of course, the wheels turn slower at companies with huge bureaucracies that have been formed over many years than at fresh startups that are a few years old and for which diversity marketing is not a foreign concept.
In most startups, it is completely normal to use and experiment with diverse marketing strategies.
And in startups, they are normally proud to show off to their loyal customers that they are diverse in their staff numbers.
I know that in Monumental Marketing we do not shy away from diversity marketing campaigns and in fact, prioritise diversity marketing campaigns. Not just for Pride Month.
That’s what I call authentic diversity marketing. Not only colourful on the outside, but also on the inside.
And remember that this new generation is able to spot false diversity marketing efforts over real ones very quickly.
Why is Diversity Marketing important?
- Shutterstock conducted a study on culture and people represented in images. 88% of Gen Xers and 90% of Millennials believe that diverse representation in a diversity marketing campaign can improve a brand’s reputation.
- In 2019, Google and the Female Quotient conducted a survey that found that 64% of all respondents took action after seeing an ad deemed diverse or inclusive.
- Another Stackla study found that 90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support.
Diversity and inclusion in digital marketing are important because they make audiences (regardless of size) feel seen and heard. It also shows a truer picture of society and improves business for those companies that strive for better representation.
Its a bit like the latest Bond film that tried to cater for the new generation, who are much less tolerant of chauvinistic behaviour that the old James Bond movies used to portray.
What are the benefits of diversity?
- Reach more types of people, thereby increasing your pool of potential customers.
- You get closer to your audience, generating greater trust and loyalty to your brand.
- Grow brand recognition: people respect a brand that offers diverse and inclusive marketing that better reflects every target audience.
- Better results, people are more likely to want to buy from a brand when they see diversity and inclusion in their diversity marketing campaigns.
How to include diversity and inclusion in your strategy?
- Know your audience: to represent your audience in your marketing campaigns, you will first need to research audience aspects such as age, gender, income level, location etc. in order to target them. By collecting data from your audience you will be able to understand them better and know what they are looking for and what they want.
I highly recommend you to make a Buyer Persona. This will help ensure that you target diverse groups and consider alternative communication methods.
- Use real content from real people: visual content is one of the best ways to implement diversity and inclusion in your digital marketing strategy. One of the best ways to do this is through user-generated content, taking images of real customers and advocates and making them a central part of your content marketing campaigns is more valuable than studio-generated content or stock images.
- Continuous practice: Diversity and inclusion is an ever-changing landscape. Staying relevant and making your content inclusive is a work in progress. Be sure to update your data, monitor behavioural changes in your customers and conduct periodic research on diversity and inclusion.
There are, of course, many more startups and companies that are strongly committed to diversity and align their diversity marketing strategy accordingly. But it would go beyond the scope of this article to mention them all. I hope I could give you a little insight into what diversity marketing actually is, which groups are unfortunately still strongly underrepresented among advertisers and which companies are real pioneers in this topic.
Not only do businesses, but politics and society also need to become more diverse – so does advertising!
After all, we are all the same!