Branding, Marketing

Diversity marketing for small businesses: A comprehensive guide

Marketing to diverse audiences? Do it the right way by following this comprehensive guide on diversity marketing.

As companies expand their reach into new markets and audiences, it’s important to create marketing strategies that reflect and embrace diversity. With the growing demand for inclusivity in the world, it’s time to reflect on how inclusive your marketing practices have been, and make the needed adjustments to ensure that your business is representative of all cultures, races, and types of people. 

Why is diversity marketing important?

Diversity marketing is an important approach for businesses to reach and engage with diverse audiences in today’s globalized world. Embracing diversity in marketing strategies reflects changing demographics and helps build trust with customers. By catering to the unique needs and preferences of diverse customers, companies can improve customer satisfaction, increase brand awareness, and gain a competitive advantage. Moreover, it shows that companies value inclusion and care about their customers and communities. Ultimately, diversity marketing is essential for businesses to create a meaningful connection with diverse customers, build long-lasting relationships, and grow their businesses.

Diversity marketing is important because it fosters a sense of belonging and inclusivity among customers. When companies showcase diverse individuals in their marketing campaigns, it sends a message that everyone is valued and respected regardless of their background. This can lead to increased loyalty and positive word-of-mouth recommendations from customers, as they feel appreciated and understood by the company.

This is why it is integral for businesses to incorporate diversity into their marketing strategy. 

How can you create a diverse marketing strategy?

If you’re a small business looking to incorporate diversity into your marketing strategy, but aren’t sure how to start, we have a few helpful tips for you. 

1) Let your customers have a say 

When working on diversity marketing, the primary thing to focus on is the customer. Your customers form the core of your brand, which is why what they think and what they say should matter the most to you. And if you have customers that belong to different backgrounds and cultural beliefs, letting them say their part will help you understand the distinctions between what each customer needs and wants from your business. 

How can you let your customers have a voice? By mapping out a diverse marketing strategy that puts your customers at the center. Here are a few ways you can do that:

  1. Encourage your customers to map out their journeys and experiences with your brand through user-generated content. UGC is a fantastic way to hear what your customers have to say about you. Not only is it a form of free marketing, but it also lets different types of customers tell you how they resonate and identify with your brand. 
  1. Encourage feedback. Ask your customers how you can improve and what you can do better. Take into consideration what different types of customers from different backgrounds have to say about your brand and your product. 
  1. Involve your customers in the planning stage. You probably already have a team of creative individuals planning out your diversity marketing efforts. But none of them will be able to give you ideas as authentic as your customers, who are the end users of your product. Start online surveys and campaigns encouraging customers to leave their ideas with you. You can also try out testing phases where you set up focus groups of customers from diverse backgrounds and have them react to a diversity marketing project. This will allow you to get authentic opinions on your ideas and help you incorporate diverse opinions into your marketing. 

Many brands have taken to integrating customer opinions and experience into their marketing, and it’s worked well for many of them. Tiffany and Co. did a great job of this by encouraging customers from different backgrounds to provide their images for their “Love is Everywhere” campaign, which focuses on showcasing how different customers use Tiffany and Co. jewelry for one common purpose – to show love. 

2) Integrate diversity into your content

The way you communicate to your customers is a vital part of how others perceive your business. And what’s the center of your communication as a brand? The content you create, customize, and publish, of course! 

Diverse content is an important part of your marketing strategy. It defines how you communicate to your customers, and how your customers perceive you and your efforts. 

However, when creating a diversity marketing strategy, it can often be a challenge to always be on top of your inclusive content game. PosterMyWall’s wide range of inclusive diversity marketing designs allows you to create and customize content that is inclusive, non-stereotypical, and allows you to connect with your audience better. There’s a bunch of ways you can customize these templates to integrate diversity into your content: 

  1. Make your content visually relatable. How do you do that? By making sure your content is geared toward a wider variety of audiences. This means creating posters, flyers, social media graphics, and more that feature people of color as their primary focus. How does this help? Well, the more you focus on adding people of color to your content, the more you resonate with audiences that relate to those people. 
  2. Use inclusive language. You need to remember that different audiences understand different languages. And as a business, it is your responsibility to ensure that all of your customers are fully able to understand the content you’re churning out. To ensure that, make sure the language you use in your content is neutral, non-offensive, non-stereotypical, and helps create a welcoming environment for your audience. Air Canada, for instance, has stopped using gender-loaded terms like “ladies and gentlemen”, in efforts to include non-binary individuals as well. 
  3. Collaborate with diverse influencers. Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool for reaching diverse audiences. Consider collaborating with diverse influencers who can help you connect with new audiences and expand your reach. When working with influencers, make sure they align with your values and represent the diversity of your audience. In their #ShareTheMagic campaign, Coca Cola partnered with different influencers of color across TikTok and became a successful example of influencer diversity. 

3. Encourage inclusivity on the inside

To be inclusive on the outside, you have to be inclusive on the inside. Hiring a diverse marketing team is an important step in incorporating diversity into your internal operations before you start off a diversity marketing strategy. A diverse team can bring a range of perspectives, experiences, and cultural insights to your marketing campaigns, helping you create campaigns that resonate with a wider range of audiences. Here are some ways in which a diverse marketing team can contribute to your marketing strategy: 

  1. They bring new perspectives which allow for new ideas for your next campaign. 
  2. They bring in cultural insights that you might not have been privy to before. 
  3. They help you avoid cultural misunderstandings. 

The importance of diversity in your team has been recognized by many business leaders around us. Diversity specialist Katrina Conrad has talked to us in detail about how important it is to have team members that can directly relate to your diverse audiences. 

Many other companies have followed suit and taken to prioritizing diverse hiring. The Big Four giant Ernst and Young was one of the first to assign partner-level leadership roles to diverse recruits, and has a goal to achieve an equal ratio of racially and ethnically diverse partners by 2025. 

What to avoid when working on diversity marketing?

It is possible, at times, for diversity marketing to go wrong. How does that happen? Well, this is more likely to happen when a company doesn’t do sufficient research while creating a diversity campaign. Here are some of the common mistakes companies make:

1) Tokenism

Tokenism is the practice of including one or a few members of a marginalized group to give the appearance of diversity. This can come across as inauthentic and insincere and can undermine the overall message of your campaign. Instead, strive to create campaigns that reflect the diversity of your audience and are genuinely inclusive. This means including a range of voices, perspectives, and experiences, and actively seeking out and listening to feedback from diverse communities.

2) Stereotyping

Stereotyping is the practice of making assumptions about individuals based on their race, ethnicity, gender, or other characteristics. It’s important to avoid stereotyping in your marketing campaigns, as it can perpetuate harmful and inaccurate stereotypes and can lead to backlash and damage to your brand’s reputation. Instead, strive to create campaigns that are respectful and inclusive of all individuals, regardless of their background. This means avoiding using stereotypes or making assumptions, and instead, highlighting the unique stories and experiences of individuals from diverse backgrounds.

3) Cultural appropriation

It’s okay to appreciate a culture, but there comes a point when appreciation turns into its negative counterpart: appropriation. Appropriation is the practice of borrowing or taking elements from a culture that is not your own without permission or proper attribution. It’s important to avoid appropriation in your marketing campaigns, as it can be offensive and disrespectful to the culture you are borrowing from. Instead, strive to create campaigns that are culturally appropriate and respectful of the communities you are targeting. This means taking the time to learn about the cultures and traditions you are featuring in your campaign, giving proper credit, and collaborating with members of those communities to ensure that your campaign is respectful and accurate.

4) Insensitive content

Sometimes, it’s easy to be insensitive and disrespectful when we don’t intend to be. We might use offensive language, misuse a joke, or make an ignorant comment. The infamous Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner is a great example of an insensitive ad that made light of a rising issue of brutality. This ad was criticized for trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement by implying that protests could be resolved by a can of Pepsi. What this did was automatically associate the Pepsi brand with insensitivity, which reflected negatively on the business. 

Avoid insensitivity in your marketing campaigns to keep your brand’s reputation intact and retain customers. Instead, strive to create campaigns that are respectful and considerate of all individuals. This means taking the time to understand the concerns and perspectives of your audience and creating campaigns that are respectful and empathetic.

Start off your diversity marketing on the right foot today!

Diversity and inclusion in marketing is extremely important in this day and age. And as a small business, your job is to ensure that your marketing strategy incorporates a healthy amount of diversity. Browse our wide range of inclusive marketing designs on PosterMyWall to start your journey to marketing to diverse audiences.