The Gist

  • Diversity matters. Embracing diversity and inclusion in digital marketing campaigns boosts brand reputation and customer engagement.
  • Inclusive strategies. Incorporating representation in imagery, website accessibility and inclusive language helps create more equitable marketing efforts.
  • Proven impact.Diverse and inclusive marketing campaigns lead to increased customer preference, sales and stock gains for companies.

In today's digital world, where customers have access to an ever-growing range of media, it is essential to ensure your marketing campaign reaches a wide and diverse audience. Leveraging digital tools to tap into a wider market with a diverse and inclusive campaign is the best way to reach your target market. To put it another way, the term "diversity and inclusion" has resonated globally across various sections of 21st Century society. Digital marketing, too, has found its charm irresistible to ignore — and for good reasons.

When it comes to digital marketing, the idea of diversity and inclusion includes creating campaigns that represent the interests of varied people who interact with a brand. A 2018 study by Shutterstock found that an overwhelming percentage of Generation X and millennials felt that diversity in representation in a brand campaign helps bolster the reputation of a brand. Another report by Adobe noted that 61% of Americans found diversity in ads important.

Diversity and inclusion is proven to have had a positive impact on two important parameters of a company: valuation and sales. A 2019 survey observed that 64% of respondents took action after seeing a diverse and inclusive ad. This means that diversity and inclusion has an impact on call to action (CTA).

Moreover, incorporating diversity and inclusion in digital marketing campaigns enhances consumer engagement. According to a Heat Test report, brands with higher diversity in their campaigns saw an 83% higher consumer preference. The same report also suggested that 69% of brands with representative ads saw an average stock gain of 44% between 2019 and 2021. Diversity and inclusion, thus, is not just a hyped-up buzzword but a strategy proven to help companies.

However, achieving diversity and equity in digital marketing campaigns is not always easy. It requires a commitment to understanding and embracing different perspectives, as well as ongoing efforts to ensure that marketing campaigns are inclusive and representative of a range of experiences. I often have covered that employee experience is a significant component to deliver a great customer experience. Having a diversified staff from different backgrounds and perspectives, businesses can ensure that their campaigns are more representative of different audiences.

Related Article: 5 Ways Diversity and Inclusion Impact the Customer Experience

Strategies to Incorporate Diversity and Inclusion in Digital Marketing Campaigns

Here are three ways companies can boost their diversity and inclusion credentials:

1. Representation in Imagery

A picture speaks a thousand words, said English playwright William Shakespeare. He is right.

According to a Facebook Advertising survey, 59% of respondents said they are more loyal to brands that stand for diversity and inclusion in online advertising. “People want to see the true diversity of their communities depicted more often,” noted the survey.

However, just imagery — like using stock images — for the sake of it is unlikely to give any dividends to a brand. In the long run, potential customers will see through this facade. It is more important that representational imagery represents the target audience of the brand in order to resonate with the customers.

Moreover, a Deloitte survey also noted that “57% of consumers are more loyal to brands that commit to addressing social inequities in their actions.” This means companies also have to address issues like diversity in hiring, etc., to show real-life practices of diversity and inclusion.

2. Website Accessibility

Perhaps, a website providing access to a wide range of people is the test case for the diversity and inclusion pitch. Website accessibility is the best way for brands to show that they care about their potential customers, including those with disabilities. In fact, website accessibility is also a good public relations exercise for any company trying to build its brand value.

Learning Opportunities

Implementing the POUR: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, Robust — principle for website accessibility is highly recommended for companies trying to penetrate a wider market. Having an accessible website is not only user-friendly but also boosts search engine optimization (SEO).

According to the World Bank, 15% of the world's population suffers from some form of disability. Moreover, several countries have stringent website accessibility rules and keeping a disabled-friendly interface will help companies also avoid legal hassles.

3. Language Usage

Use inclusive language, one which is “politically correct” and does not offend any segment of the potential market. Using gender-neutral terms like Y’all, friends, folks, etc., avoiding any word which has any negative connotation and staying up to date with the trending words used by youngsters are some ways of employing inclusive language.

A company trying to build a solid marketing campaign will like to catch as many segments of a potential market as possible; otherwise, it may come across as sending a signal that its products are not meant for a certain category. While such exclusionary signaling may work for a niche brand, the majority of the products across the world cater to the masses. Hence, it becomes imperative to use the right words to create a loyal customer base.

One great example of inclusive marketing is the 1971 Coca-Cola ad, in which 65 people belonging to diverse backgrounds enjoyed a cold drink on a hilltop. Through this ad, Coca-Cola positioned itself as a brand that promoted inclusiveness and diversity in the world.

Empowering Engagement: Harnessing Diversity in Digital Marketing

Leveraging digital tools for a diverse and inclusive marketing campaign is essential to reach target markets. Digital marketing initiatives that value diversity and inclusion may see an uptick in customer preference, sales and stock gains. In order to achieve this goal, representational imagery, internet accessibility and inclusive language are key tactics. You make sure to cover diversified ethnicities, genders and cultures, among other factors into your marketing strategy. By intentionally incorporating diversity and equity into marketing campaigns, businesses can help to promote greater understanding and respect across different groups.

Apart from this, it is crucial to take concrete steps to solve social injustices if you want to win over customers. To appeal to a larger audience, it's essential to use politically appropriate terminologies and avoid any word having a negative meaning. Furthermore, it is extremely important to utilize existing tools to develop digital marketing campaigns that are inclusive of people of all genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and abilities. It is also imperative to monitor social media conversations and address any instances of bias or discrimination.

Start with building a team of people from diverse segments that can add emotions and authenticity to your marketing campaigns.

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