Inclusive Marketing: Embracing Diversity to Drive Business Growth

Written by Alifia Rahari
July 5, 2023

In today’s world, diversifying marketing strategies and approaches is essential. For example, to expand your consumer base and relate to a broader audience, you can utilize inclusive marketing strategy.

A wise marketer knows that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to marketing strategy. Especially when there are approximately 8 million people in the world coming from different backgrounds and cultures. Yet, companies often overlook this issue by generalizing their consumer base.

Whichever goals you want to achieve with your marketing campaign, the wider the audience, the better. This is why companies need inclusive marketing. Read along to find out about inclusive marketing, its significance, and how to implement it in your business.

What is Inclusive Marketing

Inclusive marketing is a marketing strategy that incorporates diversity and inclusivity into marketing content. It’s meant to avoid affinity bias, a situation where people gravitate toward those with similar interests and backgrounds. Instead of a narrow perspective, inclusive marketing considers diversity in all forms, such as gender, sexuality, age, race, ethnicity, marital status, physical and mental ability, and more.In utilizing inclusive marketing, you have to be specific about your audience, Forbes writes. You have to actively seek to include those that 1) may not be represented by the teams creating the campaign, and 2) are historically excluded, either purposefully or accidentally.

Why Business Needs to Do Inclusive Marketing?

Essentially, any marketing campaign aims at building a genuine and respectful relationship with customers. Microsoft Advertising report found that 70% of Gen Z consumers trust brands that represent diversity in ads. 49% of them have stopped purchasing from a brand that does not represent their values. These figures show that inclusive marketing is one of the keys to marketing campaign success.

Inclusive advertising improves perceptions around credibility, Microsoft Advertising continues. Nowadays, customers expect brands to take a stand for social issues. Proactively including marginalized representations in your marketing campaign will improve your audience’s perspective on your brand. In turn, this decision will improve brand loyalty and even drive purchase intent from customers.

How to Execute Inclusive Marketing

When done right, inclusive marketing can be a success. Take McDonald’s Philippines’ ads for this year’s Pride Month celebration as an example. There is a simple story between a female McDonald’s drive-thru employee and a female customer, who are actually in a relationship throughout the advertisement. Almost immediately, this ad captured people’s hearts and blew up worldwide.

There’s nothing groundbreaking happening in the story, but it’s touching and straightforward. Apparently, it is intended. McDonald’s Corporate Relations Director, Adi Hernandez, explained that the company wants to show “despite its rare representation locally, it’s significant that this love story is depicted as a regular, everyday occurrence at McDonald’s Philippines.”

If you are inspired and want to create an inclusive marketing campaign as well, here are some tips.

Seeking Additional Perspectives Outside the Room

To create inclusive marketing, Forbes argues, you must understand the needs of those not present. It means using any medium of diversity to reach people from all backgrounds. It’s a must to not only assume their need but actually look into it. By doing so, you will avoid shallow and stereotypical representations.

To ensure this, you can hire people who specialize in different perspectives, like sensitivity readers but for companies. Work with different consultancies, so you will be able to gather the knowledge you need.

Show Human Diversity

Consider using human models in your campaigns. Include more than one person of more than one race, gender, or age. This conveys the message that your product can be used by everyone, no matter who they are. People are often more inclined to buy something they can relate to.

In addition, try to show a sense of equity in your models. Indeed suggests using the same number of people of different ages, races, or genders, because it represents a sense of fairness. You can also experiment with adding diverse job functions, marital status, physical and mental ability, or parental status.

Include Inclusive Keywords

Microsoft Advertising identifies three key concepts that indicate a brand is inclusive. These concepts are 1) connection, 2) being a container for open-mindedness, and 3) a balance in representation across dimensions of diversity.

For example, words like unity, diversity, cohesive, joy, support system, or community convey a connection. Words like open, versatile, safe, or no discrimination indicate open-mindedness. Lastly, words like supportive, equality, comfort, valued, or genuine indicate balance.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, inclusive marketing is about the willingness to learn. Listen to your audience’s different perspectives and put aside your assumptions. By understanding and embracing the diverse needs of your target audience, you can create more effective and inclusive marketing campaigns and better serve your customer base.

Next Read: 7 Digital Advertising Mistakes and How to Avoid Them