Marketing and advertising efforts are most effective when they create a connection with the target audience. A target audience, however, is often made up of many different individuals with experiences and backgrounds that are different from your own. In order to connect with a diverse audience, businesses need to employ inclusive marketing strategies.
Learn what inclusive marketing entails and how it can benefit you and your prospective customers as you advertise your goods and services.
How Inclusive Marketing Can Benefit Your Business (and Your Customers)
People want to see themselves in advertising. Unfortunately, members of many minority groups often do not often see themselves considered when it comes to goods and services.
For example, if you have a unique body type, you may experience frustration when shopping for clothing brands that do not take your size or shape into consideration. Even if they do have clothing available for you, you may not feel that way if you only see that clothing being advertised by models who all have the same body type, which is different from yours. However, if you spot a clothing advertisement with a model that has a body type similar to yours, chances are that you’ll feel more confident and comfortable about buying that brand.
Like this, inclusive marketing consists of ads and promotions that include representations of minority groups or a wide variety of diverse individuals. This kind of advertising helps your prospective customers feel that you see them and consider their needs, and this consideration and care can create a lot of brand loyalty. For example, a recent consumer survey run by Google and The Female Quotient revealed that 64 percent of all respondents took some sort of action after they saw an advertisement that they felt was inclusive. For many minority groups within the survey, that percentage was even higher.
How You Can Employ an Inclusive Marketing Strategy
You can employ inclusivity in any kind of marketing content — from written website content to images and commercials. As you increase inclusivity across the board, you’ll find the following tips to be helpful.
Identify More Niche Users
Inclusivity may start with your actual products or services. Your product may already be used by a variety of groups whether you realize it or not. For instance, if you sell makeup or beauty products, you may market primarily to women. However, it’s a distinct possibility that men and members of the LGBTQIA+ community also use a variety of your products. Inclusive marketing would, then, include members of these groups.
Inclusive marketing may also involve finding diverse groups that could possibly benefit from your product but perhaps are unaware of the advantages it could offer them. For example, skincare brand Neutrogena once ran a social media campaign marketing their cleansing products to anyone who was celebrating Holi, the Indian festival of color, which often involves getting dusted with colorful chalk powder that can be difficult to scrub off your skin.
Do Your Research
As you work to include more potential customers in your advertising, you may need to do some research on appropriate ways to address them. People who are disabled, for instance, may find certain ways of describing their experience offensive, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community have a wealth of important terminology that may be unfamiliar.
You can find resources online, such as the Conscious Style Guide, to help you employ the right kind of language. You may also benefit from focus groups composed of members of your target audience to provide valuable feedback on the way they’re represented in your marketing. Better yet, you can harness the experience of minority employees in your company to ensure that your marketing is sensitive and effective.
Avoid Faux Pas
As you craft diverse and inclusive advertising campaigns, be careful not to overdo it. Stick as close as you can to the real-life experiences of your target audience and avoid sensationalization. Incorporate inclusivity in ways that make sense for your product or service; don’t attempt to shoehorn in anything that isn’t authentic.
You’ll also want to take pains to avoid any stereotyping or cultural appropriation. Stereotyping is a quick way to alienate your audience, and cultural appropriation — defined as “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture” — is another. Also, take care to be sensitive to political or cultural issues that may affect your target audience. Ads that overstep these boundaries often make waves — in a bad way. Consider, for example, the 2017 Pepsi ad involving Kendall Jenner. This ad took advantage of the Black Lives Matter movement by portraying Pepsi soothing tensions between protestors and police. The overall tone and implication — that a soft drink could prevent violence — was regarded as insensitive and out-of-touch by many who had actually experienced protest violence.
As you consider different strategies to increase inclusivity in your marketing, reach out to the professionals at Grow Team. We can help your business improve its online presence and connect better with your audience.