Biz Tips: How to Incorporate More Diversity Into Your Digital Marketing

Biz Tips: How to Incorporate More Diversity Into Your Digital Marketing

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How to Incorporate More Diversity Into Your Digital Marketing

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It’s okay when your brand is small to have a very focused marketing persona, but as it grows, you need to evolve to appeal to the full range of customers you want to attract. A shallow message produces poor results and can have other negative side effects — for example:

  • It can be offensive. A lack of diversity or addressing a group in the wrong way can potentially offend your potential customers and even current ones
  • You can miss potential customers. People are more likely to buy from you when they feel like you are addressing them personally and they can relate to your brand.
  • It can be uncomfortable. While changing to a more diverse approach to marketing can be difficult, not doing so, especially when your competition is, can be difficult to explain.

The time for talking about diversity in digital marketing is over; it is time for brands to take action. How do you put diversity into practice in your digital marketing? Here are a few simple tips.

Do Your Market Research

This is one of the most important steps in improving diversity. The population of the United States is more diverse than it ever has been, and companies and public institutions alike are discovering that internal diversity spurs innovation, increases productivity, and improves their company message.

Diversity includes everything: race, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, disability, and religion. This means that for your digital marketing to be effective, you need to understand your audience and where your brand fits in with their lives. We can learn as much from failed campaigns by brands like Pepsi and Visa as we can from successful ones.

Market research helps you incorporate more diversity in your digital marketing campaigns by:

  • Informing you about issues before they become part of a wider campaign. Using a Spanish ad translation? Be sure you have a native speaker look things over, and make sure your translation is not inaccurate or offensive.
  • Allowing a review of images. Pepsi learned this the hard way with their protest ad starring Kendall Jenner, as reported by Marketing Week. Getting an outside perspective is extremely valuable before letting an ad go viral in a negative way.
  • Preventing disaster. If you are surrounded by people who already know your product and brand when creating an ad, you’re more likely to make errors in judgement.

This type of market research was much more common in the 1960s and ’70s, when there were almost always focus groups who were consulted before an ad campaign was launched. Today, with the data collection and predictive analytics tools at our hands, this process has grown in scope and depth exponentially.

Of course, collecting this data doesn’t come without risks. Protect both your and your customers’ data by avoiding key mistakes that lead to data loss, such as using compromised servers, having outdated data backup processes, or not taking time to regularly audit company data practices. After all, few things are worse for PR than a costly data breach.

With that in mind, how should you get started with market research? Since digital marketing often moves so fast, market research is a step many brands skip. We can see from the number of ad campaigns that have backfired how dangerous bypassing market research is.

Put Reason Over Edginess

Want to run an edgy campaign? It is tempting to be on the cutting edge and do something different than your competition. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is essential to have a voice of reason in those campaign sessions — one that can ask some key questions. Here is a guide to embracing diversity even in the edgiest of ad campaigns.

  • Outside perspective matters. Hire remote workers or outside consultants who are not immersed in your brand every day to get honest feedback.
  • Include diversity in the ideation process. Bring many members of your team in early, and include those from different backgrounds and ethnicities.
  • Make empathy your ultimate goal. Your customers should feel like they can relate to your ads, even if they are edgy. Care should be used to make sure they are not condescending or offensive.

Some great examples of this are the Coca-Cola “America is Beautiful” ads and the ads by Apple, one of the leaders in adopting diversity in digital marketing.

Test Your Ads

Lastly, it is critical to test your ads on small groups at first, then run A/B test ads further before engaging in a full-blown digital campaign. The more testing you do, the surer you can be that your digital marketing efforts will align with your audience’s values and the message you desire to communicate. This means listening to customers and paying close attention to analytics.

Thankfully, there is a huge amount of technology that allows brands to do this effectively. Social listening tools, the Google suite of search tools, aftermarket analytics, and competitive analytics tools — the number of resources at our disposal mean that nearly every business has enough data available to make good marketing decisions.

The key is embracing this technology and determining to incorporate more diversity into all of their digital marketing. This means taking time for research, putting a voice of reason into the production of potentially offensive campaigns, and testing ads extensively with a diverse portion of your customer base.

By doing these things, not only can brands avoid the missteps of those who have failed at adding diversity to their digital marketing, but they can also find new heights of success through inclusion. It’s beyond time to talk about diversity in digital marketing; now it’s time to apply the valuable lessons we have already learned.

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How to Incorporate More Diversity Into Your Digital Marketing was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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