How to be an inclusive marketer

How to be an inclusive marketer

Inclusive marketing has become a huge trend over recent years thanks, in part, to global social movements and the coming of age among younger generations (Millennials and Gen Z). It’s become vital for companies to show diversity and meaningful representation in their advertising and in an authentic way, showing respect and inclusion among people with disabilities, those culturally diverse or those who identify as LGBTIQ+. But how do you advertise in a way that doesn’t come off as tokenistic? In this blog, we’ll give you a rundown on how to avoid tokenism and as well as tips on creating an inclusive marketing strategy.

What is tokenism and how to avoid it

Defined, tokenism is when a company does something to avoid criticism and ‘give the appearance’ that people are being treated fairly (Merriam Webster). For example, some places may hire someone who is a cultural minority in order to appear diverse. In a marketing context, some companies may feel ‘obligated’ to make a social media post about certain current affairs or events.

There is a fine line between tokenism and inclusivity. However, the best way to differentiate the two is to look at tokenism as ticking a check-box, while inclusivity is genuinely celebrating diversity. Here are some ways to make sure that your organisation values diversity: 

  1. Market to minority groups all year round, not just when there’s a special event.
  2. Network Expand your business contacts and speak to people from diverse communities; this will help you gain insight into their wants and needs.
  3. Look at your organisation internally – how’s the work culture? Are you considering diversity when hiring? Working on inclusivity internally will naturally flow into your language, messaging and marketing.
  4. Consider the keywords being used in your SEO content or copy – what language are people from various groups using? This will help you reach these individuals without using language that may cause offense.
  5. Consider your intentions: if you are looking at an ad, and all you can think about is how much more money you’ll make, you probably need to rethink that ad. Consumers are really smart and can figure out whether or not you’re being genuine.


How to create an inclusive marketing strategy

We’ve looked at diversity within a company, but how do you create a marketing strategy that is inclusive? Here are a few tips and tricks:

  1. Think about who you are targeting early in the campaign. From this, you can think about visuals and ensure that your creative elements are diverse. Think about ethnicity, gender, ability, age and more.
  2. Create an inclusive language guide (and keep it up to date): You’ll have an entire handbook ready to go when you need it. You can include keywords that particular minority groups may use. 
  3. Figure out the difference between ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’. There is a common saying: “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance”. Yes, you can have all the diverse visuals in the world. But if you are not thinking of the big picture (language in content, work culture etc.), you are at risk of falling into the tokenism boat.

So, those are some of our tips to become a more inclusive marketer. Did you know that we can help you create a stellar marketing strategy? Get in contact with us to find out more.