Inclusive Marketing: Tips & Inspiration For Marketers
What steps can you take to be more inclusive in your marketing? Joyann Boyce, founder of The Social Detail, spoke to Noisy Little Monkey ahead of her appearance on the Business as Unusual webinar on 17th September where she'll be part of a panel discussing cultural diversity in the marketing sector.
You’ve recently set out on a mission to make ‘inclusive marketing the industry standard’. What is ‘inclusive marketing’ defined as to you?
To me, it’s understanding that your target audience is diverse within itself. A lot of people look at diversity and inclusion as potential charity cases or side projects but I think that inclusive marketing is just marketing.
Let’s take marketing tampons as an example. Tampons are created for people with vaginas. This means that the people buying your product could be trans men so that automatically broadens who your audience is. When you practice inclusive marketing like this, you’re diversifying the people in the content and letting them know that they’re being seen.
So, inclusive marketing is essentially understanding that your target market is diverse and catering to them.
In your opinion, which brands do really well when it comes to inclusive marketing?
Nike - although I want to caveat that I know they’re not totally unproblematic - but you can see in their campaigns that they make an effort to include people. One of their recent campaigns focused on women athletes, all of them Muslim women wearing hijabs. When some brands attempt to do inclusive marketing, you might see someone in the background or on the sidelines but these women were front and centre.
Men’s health and mental wellbeing platform Manual launched a campaign around men’s body image in May last year, urging advertisers to move away from problematic descriptions of men as stoic, Grecian gods. The article is worth checking out.
What are three things marketing managers and small business owners can do starting tomorrow to take their first steps on their journey towards inclusive marketing?
Firstly, diversify where you’re getting your stock images from. These are a few resources that I really like:
Secondly, start understanding how your content is consumed and consider that. For example, when you’re putting photos on social media make the effort to write Alt Text because some people will consume the images in that way. Make sure you write a proper sentence to describe the photo too - make it as helpful as possible for someone who might be using a screen reader.
Another recommendation I have is: follow people from different backgrounds on social media. This is how I’m educating myself on how to write good Alt Text because I’m following more disabled people and I’m learning from them. Sometimes people think that championing diversity and inclusion is all about acts like marches or protests but even something small like changing up your social network is good. To see change, you have to disrupt the system to start a new stream. On that note, I'd also say look at your role models and assess. Are they reflective of the values which your company holds?
If you're just getting started on this journey, you could also look to get an inclusive marketing audit done for your business. We offer inclusive marketing audits at The Social Detail which help businesses identify the steps they can take to make sure their marketing is hitting the mark.
What are the common mistakes you see brands make when they start on their journey towards inclusive marketing?
Three things come to mind. First off, doing inclusive marketing once in a tokenised way. For example, you think that you’ve done enough because you’ve included a wheelchair user in one photo shoot. Or, you’ve used the same diverse people in your content over and over again. Essentially, the same variety and enthusiasm you’d put into any of your other efforts, put into your inclusive marketing too.
Don’t just do inclusive marketing for the cookie - Black History Month is a good example here. Don’t just dig into the archives for some content you did five years ago, pulling out the one time you did inclusive marketing doesn’t work. You need to revisit your efforts.
Finally, don’t do nothing. A lot of people don’t know what to say with the Black Lives Matter campaigning going on. Sometimes as a brand saying you don’t know, or you’re thinking, or you’re trying to assess is good. In a marketing sense, it humanises your brand. Any brand saying they don’t know something or they made a mistake or they’re trying to learn to be better makes that brand more relatable. Saying any of those things is a lot better than silence because silence doesn’t let anyone know where your brand is at.
If you’re looking to take the first steps in inclusive marketing practices, I’d really recommend checking out this training from the team at Salesforce.
Hear more from Joy at the next Business as Unusual webinar
Want to hear from from Joyann about inclusive marketing? Join us for the next episode of Business as Unusual on 17th September at 3pm. Find out more about what you'll learn at the webinar by visiting the registration page.