Inclusive Marketing: Embracing Diversity

Inclusive Marketing: Embracing Diversity

Heather O'Callaghan
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Date Published:
Thursday, November 30, 2023

Inclusivity. It’s not just a corporate buzzword, and the changes we have seen in the workplace over the past couple of decades prove this. Places of work are hiring positions that solely focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. As we see the workplace shifting into environments that more accurately reflect the real world, we need to do the same when it comes to marketing. Marketing is no longer simply linear, and with that advantage, we need to embrace the opportunity to reach all audiences where they are with people they can relate to.

What is Inclusive Marketing?

Inclusive marketing goes further than diversity. It is the thoughtful incorporation of different persons regarding race, ethnicity, and gender identity. It is the inclusion of people with disabilities and people from all walks of life. Inclusive marketing is the ability for anyone to relate to or see themselves reflected in your marketing and advertising. It is the fair treatment of communities that have historically been discriminated against.

Why is Inclusive Marketing Important?

Inclusive marketing is important because consumers say it is. According to an Adobe study, 62% of Americans consider inclusive marketing an important part of their buying process*. When someone can see themselves reflected in a realistic and positive manner in your marketing, they are more likely to consider your products.

Let’s look at women’s fashion for a concrete example. In decades past, we would only see clothing on tall, skinny women who were also considered “typical beauty standards”. This type of marketing worked until others started to shake up the business. New fashion houses began to show how their clothing looked on all shapes and sizes of women, on all skin tones of women, and on all types of people who consider themselves women. Not only did we see this shift in modeling, but we also saw companies introduce more adaptive clothing for people with disabilities, and these people were modeling the clothes made for them. Fashionable clothing was no longer just for size 2 women – it was for everyone, and the companies that failed to embrace this shift fell behind.

How to Incorporate Inclusive Marketing

When considering how to use inclusive marketing, there are a few things to consider.
Do your research. Something you might not consider offensive may be for someone else. For example, when addressing communities with physical or mental disabilities, we don’t want to come across as stereotypical. Ask members of the community what’s important to them.

Think beyond race. Marketers need to consider the full spectrum of their audience, including religion, appearance, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and any other factors that may be relevant. Brands that consistently present non-inclusive marketing risk losing support permanently. In particular, 58% of the LGBTQ community said they stop supporting brands that marginalize them*.  

It's more than a picture. Images are great, but static pictures and a B-roll with a voiceover aren’t authentic. Let people speak for themselves. Consumers will resonate more with you when they see authenticity and an accurate representation of their community in your marketing.

Be genuine. If done haphazardly, inclusive marketing can come across as a tasteless shock-inducing gimmick. These efforts will ultimately backfire and create more criticism from your audience rather than a positive effect. When considering the best way to approach inclusive marketing, The Moran Group can help you understand your market and goals so you can ultimately avoid such a faux pas.

Don’t Just Check the Box

Inclusive marketing is more than just being able to check off a box. It’s the encouragement of the full participation of people who have traditionally been under or misrepresented. When done genuinely, inclusive marketing can take your brand to the next level. To learn more about inclusive marketing and how The Moran Group can help amplify your voice, contact us today.


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