What Is Inclusive Marketing and Why Does It Matter?

Last week, I was creating new content for Black History Month when one of my colleagues cringed at the messaging and said, “This just feels icky.” She wasn’t trying to be offensive or rude — she was informing me that, as a Black woman, the text made her feel uncomfortable. It was the exact opposite of what I was attempting to do, which was to create an inclusive message that was relevant and relatable to people of all backgrounds. 

I was grateful for her feedback, because otherwise I would have published content that pushed people away instead of drawing them in. And that’s why inclusive marketing is not just about the messaging, but also about the people informing the message. It begins long before the text on the page; it begins with our discussions and evaluations within our teams to influence the work we do.

Let’s have a deeper look at inclusive marketing and the reasons why it matters.

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What is Inclusive Marketing?

Inclusive marketing happens any time a business or brand plans and creates communication that relates to people who have been historically underrepresented or stereotypically portrayed, including females, racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and multicultural and LGBTQ individuals. 

In essence, inclusive marketing needs to reflect the diversity of the real world, thereby including people of all backgrounds. And it’s not just because some shareholders in the boardroom say so — it’s everyday people who are of the opinion: 

“61% of Americans think diversity in advertising is somewhat or very important.” - Adobe 

adobe-rob

Source

Why Does Inclusive Marketing Matter?

Inclusive marketing matters because consumers say it does. They’re rewarding organizations that reflect the reality of the world around them, that celebrate their values, and reflect these beliefs not just in marketing but also within the business itself. 

In fact, consumers are taking it a step further and looking at the makeup of the company touting a commitment to inclusivity, by verifying the board of directors, senior leaders, and other positions are also living up to these messages.

Inclusive marketing also matters because it helps brands reach new audiences and develop deeper relationships with existing ones. For example, when Victoria’s Secret failed to include models reflective of the average-sized American female in their marketing (as customers had requested), they experienced a decline in sales while brands that heeded these calls were increasing revenue. Victoria’s Secret not only alienated their existing customer base, but also forfeited any chances of reaching a broader audience.  

With all this in mind, we can conclude that buyers are more likely to do business with brands that prioritize these calls to action in a way that’s thoughtful, genuine, and actionable throughout the organization. 

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Examples of Inclusivity in Marketing

So far, there are a number of businesses that have been generously promoting inclusivity and diversity in their marketing activities. Here are a few that come to mind:

Athleta

The activewear brand has been aggressively pursuing inclusive initiatives, and it’s evident in many of their images and messaging. It even acknowledges the delay in getting where they need to be, for their customers and the world.

athelita.

Source 

KiwiCo 

Inclusivity is meant for all ages, too, and KiwiCo does it right with images spanning its diverse, younger audience:

inclusivity

(Source /Source)

Patagonia

Perhaps it’s not surprising that Patagonia prioritizes inclusivity in its marketing, but what’s even more impressive is how the brand weaves these efforts into their stories:

patagonia

Source

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Conclusion

Inclusive marketing matters for the sake of brands, their customers, and the world. It helps connect brands with new and existing audiences by creating relatable messaging that applies to everyone. Consider the benefits of inclusivity and diversity not only in your communications, but also throughout your organization as a whole.

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About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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