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Consumers are demanding that marketing pays attention to representation and shows the American public as it is: A huge and varied spectrum of races, bodies, genders and socioeconomic classes. Here are a few key suggestions that can help business owners create respectful, inclusive and, ultimately, more effective marketing campaigns.

Diversity defined

While its definitions will be helpful, it’s equally important to figure out what diversity means to a business specifically. It could mean the need to fix the representation in the company’s ads, or it might mean taking a stand on an issue that’s important to many people in the audience.

Why diversity in digital marketing matters

Several studies suggest that there are a variety of ways to incorporate diversity into marketing strategies:

Eighty percent of marketers agree that using diverse representation like diverse casts in ads helps a brand’s reputation and makes the audience comfortable with the brand. Targeting campaigns at previously unserved markets can create great new revenue streams, as the story of Fenty Beauty’s expanded foundation range shows.

Having a diverse staff that are empowered to candidly call out a misstep is the best way to prevent costly gaffes and potential PR disasters.

How business owners can have more diverse digital marketing

There’s no magic wand to create “instant diversity” and inclusion requires some long-term work. Some of the diversity steps that marketers can begin taking include:

  1. Diversity in the marketing team so that representation in the campaigns will not suffer. 
  2. Market research can help identify demographics the brand may have been under-serving and why. Social media can be a good way to discover how a diverse audience relates to the brand on social channels.
  3. Provide customers with a place to upload content related to the brand, such as a YouTube channel. Or the company can work with social media influencers.
  4. Approach diversity as a constant process by keeping a running list of improvements the company would like to make and don’t be afraid to add to it.

Representational diversity takes practice and commitment. Without a basic foundation on what it means to be diverse, efforts will often fall short or backfire. There’s no shortcut to an inclusive institution.