So You Want to Market to a More Diverse Audience But You Don’t Want To Be Exploitive
In marketing, your goal is to reach as many people as possible. Simple right? Well, not as simple as you might think.
When we try to reach out to other people–both in our personal and professional lives–we will almost always do it by trying to relate our experiences to theirs. Finding common ground by telling a relatable story is the easiest way to make a solid connection. It’s why we do it.
Marketers have a more difficult job. They need to be able to connect with their audience in a much broader way. Their life experiences, vast as they may be, aren’t going to be relatable to a more diverse audience, and as of right now–with a majority of people in marketing being white and male–many campaigns, advertisements, and other aspects of outreach are all viewed through that lens.
So what can you do? How can you reach beyond your own perspective and show that you don’t just acknowledge these other groups of people, but that you also genuinely desire to forge that connection? Here are some handy tips that should boost the mass appeal you’re seeking.
Representation In Your Visual Aids
It seems simple, but it’s a box that many organizations fail to check. Don’t be one of them! If you have an ad that features people enjoying your product, show a variety of people! People of color, disabled people, and anyone else that falls outside being cis and white is always going to be a strength for you, not a weakness. Just be sure to avoid those weird group shots with every ethnicity possible shoved into one frame, smiling and laughing at nothing. It’s been done to death, and people see right through it.
Avoid The Mistake Of The Monolith
If you believe you have great new copy that’s going to speak to every Black person or every trans person on a fundamental level, something has gone wrong. You cannot treat a group of people as a monolithic group, which is to say that there is a lot of diversity within those groups that you’re not speaking to. If you treat them like they are, you’re coming very close to stereotyping, and that will not end well for your campaign.
Diversify Your Team
The call for inclusion is coming from inside the house! You can’t hope to speak to diverse populations if your team is homogeneous. We’ve spoken about the best ways to diversify your team before, but to sum it up: there are thousands of qualified candidates out there for the roles you need filled. Do yourself a favor and break free of your old-world hiring practices. You’ll gain new insights and perspectives that’ll prove invaluable to your strategy, and those candidates will be able to comment on how your new diversified strategies strike them.
Consult The Community
If you’re able, a focus group can prevent a lot of missteps and misunderstandings when it comes to marketing. If you have a diverse team in your office, ask them to review what you’re working on to make sure you’re hitting all the right notes and none of the wrong ones. Remember, you’re seeking to connect, and the best way to do that is through your connections to your team and your community.
Put In The Work
You’ve come a long way with your organization, and there’s a decent chance that you got where you are with a little bit of help. Sometimes that’s all people need. Consider supporting causes in your community that benefit different groups of people. Donate to charities, throw fundraisers, and uplift voices that would be otherwise unheard. Show that you’re not just wanting to take what they have, but that you’re also willing to give as well. If you are able to show that you see people as more than just customers, it builds trust and fuels conversions.
Believe us when we say that we can already hear people reading the headline of this article and grumbling. There are groups of people that see honest attempts to diversify their marketing as “woke nonsense”. They think that we shouldn’t have to “pander” to diverse groups in order to be successful, and they think that if they don’t, some make-believe boogeyman is going to show up and “cancel” them.
That’s not what this is about.
On the most basic level, this is just a solid business move. Not because roving mobs of leftists demand it, but because the groups of people you’re trying to reach are out there, and they have as much of a need for your products and services as anyone else does. If you reach those groups, you increase your earnings. It’s simple math. On a more profound level, it also helps you recognize what else is around you. The different viewpoints and experiences. Imagine you’ve been viewing the world through lenses the color of money because everyone that came before you said that was the way to see. Now imagine taking those smudged green glasses off and seeing all the colors you’ve been missing.
That’s what inclusive marketing looks like. It’s a spectrum, and it provides a deeper, more enriching experience for you and your prospects alike.
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