Now more than ever, the world is in dire need of empathy – to value diversity and be able to embrace differences. Marketing strategies are no stranger to this either. One such marketing tool is inclusive marketing. What is inclusive marketing and what does it mean, exactly?
Inclusive marketing looks past the preconceived notions of gender, age, race, income, sexuality, language, and religion and aims to reach out to a larger audience of potential buyers. However, it goes beyond race and skin colour. It is important to really look at people from all walks of life and gain meaningful insight which you can use to then cater to their needs.
One such industry setting great standards for inclusive marketing is the beauty industry. As opposed to nearly 10 years ago, where foundation shades were continents apart and extremely limited for darker-skinned individuals, we now see inclusivity at the core of their marketing messages. Brands like Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty have really taken the time and effort to set a good example of inclusive marketing by offering a total of 50 shades of foundation for their customers.
As your audience becomes more diverse, it helps your business stay relevant and grow in the years to come. You need to recognise the many dimensions and identities of an individual and acknowledge the nuances that are inherent in their personalities. It helps to elevate diverse voices and stories, and create more respectful and considered marketing campaigns or strategies that dispel harmful stereotypes rather than perpetuate them.
Here are some inclusive marketing tips to get you started.
Understand the demographics of your audience. In order to create marketing content that truly reflects the diverse community that your company serves, you need to know them. Find out if there are untapped segments of the population that could benefit from your offering.
Study the leads that didn’t pan out. This really helps in knowing what to avoid. Was your product not a fit because of need or price, or was it a misalignment in your messaging or sales pitch? If someone is interested in your product but doesn’t feel like your brand speaks to them, their culture or shares their values, they’re less likely to make the purchase. Vice-versa, customers are more likely to buy your product when there is diversity in marketing.
Visuals are one of the most important factors when it comes to digital advertising. Aim to use real, original media on your website. Photos, graphics, and videos are a way to instantly hook the viewer and make them want to know more. The right ones will capture them effortlessly. If you are appealing to a diverse crowd, visuals should be diverse as well. Be sensitive to race, gender, age, ability, size, and socioeconomic status. People want to feel seen. Help them do it in a way that makes them feel empowered, inspired, and heard.
Your brand messaging should be free from slang, references, or another verbiage that discriminates against a group of people. There is immense power in language, making it a priority for it to be inclusive. Inclusive language should also be used for job descriptions, website copy, and all other written materials that represent your company or in the workplace.
Avoid stereotyping and appropriation, both of which can be offensive, as this shows consumers that you don’t respect them, let alone understand their needs. Things like acronyms without explanations and business jargon can also make people feel left out if they don't comprehend the reference.
Inclusivity needs to be the new norm when crafting marketing strategies. As business owners are marketers, we all have the power to elevate the voices and stories of those around us and be a positive influence on the world. Let’s take the first step towards inclusive marketing today.