What is it?
Inclusive marketing is the content, communications, and technologies that accurately reflect the diverse communities a business serves. It includes downplaying biases and stereotyping while elevating underrepresented voices.
Besides ensuring that diverse groups are represented, why else should you be trying to be more inclusive?
According to a 2019 Google consumer survey, up to 64% of respondents took action after seeing an ad that they considered inclusive.
And that figure was higher in certain segments (Millennials, Blacks, Latinos, and the LGBTQ community).
So, let’s get going:
5 Tips for More Inclusive Marketing
1. Audience– make everyone feel welcome
First things first, a business is still a business. And times are tough. While being more inclusive sounds great, perhaps you’re worried that you don’t have the budget to reach every customer segment.
Good news: You don’t have to.
Being inclusive doesn’t mean that you need to try to catch them all. But it does mean taking a second look at who you understand your customers to be.
- Do dig into your audience. Ask yourself this two-word question: They, who?
They don’t have a lot of spending money. They, who? College kids. They, who? Well, not all college kids, but college kids prone to impulse buys. They, who? Not just any impulse buy, college kids who impulse buy products related to topical trends and current events. They, who?
And so forth.
- Then ask yourself, within that segment, am I reaching everyone? Is the customer journey accessible at all points?
Chances are, you’re missing something. So dig, question, and think.
If you don’t know who “they” is yet, check out Segments & Persona: What to Use When to get you started.
So what? If you don’t have your audience divvied up into personas, now’s the time. But it’s not a one-and-done kind of task. Keep asking yourself, They, who? And make sure you’re not excluding anyone.
2. Team– talk to them
Look at your team and ask yourself if a diverse workforce is represented. No? Don’t run to fire anyone! Just keep it in mind for your next hire.
Isn’t variety is the spice of life?
And hey, that new spice could bring a perspective that you’re missing.
So what? As a leader, be hands-on when it comes to your team. Think about how you can expand your cohort for the better. And don’t forget to have regular meetings with your existing group. And always remember to make sure the environment is open and conducive to honest communication.
3. Context–keep it in mind
Keep local and global contexts in mind when creating your messaging, copy, and content.
- In other words: Read the room.
Right now, it’s a pretty hectic room, to say the least. So know that whatever you’re sending right now is automatically filtered by various collective realities– including the pandemic, political turmoil, and professional and economic difficulties for many.
So what? Be sensitive to what’s going on around you. Read the room, and then act.
That leads to the next point…
4. Tone–make sure it’s appropriate
Piggybacking off of context, make sure that your tone hits the right notes. That doesn’t mean you need to lose your unique brand voice! Just make sure that your tone takes current events into consideration.
So what? Test it. Have your team take a look. Does anything stick out? Rub anyone the wrong way? Seem out of place? Now’s the time to sort out those kinks.
5. Norms–challenge them
This applies to everything from the perspective of your content to the stock photos you choose.
- Play devil’s advocate and try looking at a situation from a less-represented point of view.
Does what you’re saying still sit well? Does it need some tweaking?
When it comes to the images you’re choosing, are you choosing, for example, boardroom stock photos with men in CEO positions with well-dressed women taking notes as the dutiful secretary? Why not look for or create content that flips those roles? You never know who might pick up on those details.
So what? Try on all the shoes, Cinderella, and end up with some combat boots. Don’t take the most obvious perspective or campaign tactic. Take your time and feel out the road less traveled.
Far from comprehensive, these five tips are a springboard to think more inclusively in the new year. Because, at the end of the day, inclusivity starts by taking a moment to look around and evaluate.
Inclusivity is a work in progress, so we might as well get going.
If you’re not sure how to juggle inclusivity and a consistent voice in your content, reach out to Claire. We’d be happy to help you strike that balance.