Chapter 14: Diversity Marketing

Posted on June 25, 2020 | Updated on January 8, 2021

In recent years, advertising has become more personal, addressing the needs of each person. Diversity marketing, also called inclusive marketing, focuses on connecting with individual consumers on a more personal level. Brands use it to reach new customers in various racial, cultural, ethnic and social groups. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts the country’s population will exceed 400 million by 2060. Around half of those people will be from minority groups. If businesses want to reach those in their communities, they must plan now for inclusive promotional efforts. Race isn’t the only definition of diversity marketing, though. The term also encompasses differences in gender, religion, age and sexual identity. Making the shift to inclusive marketing may also focus on other cultures as the world moves to a more global model.

Benefits of Diversity Marketing

As with any marketing model, there are distinct advantages to this strategy. Many obvious and subtle differences exist in diversity marketing that make it different — and sometimes more effective — than other marketing types. Here’s what to expect when you employ this method:

  • Build employee morale: Your staff will see you care about their needs no matter how different they are from each other or you.
  • Improve community relations: With the country’s shift in cultural diversity, it’s important for companies to relate to the communities they’re in. Figuring out consumer needs starts with better understanding.
  • Gain customer loyalty: When your clients feel understood and heard, they’re more likely to remain loyal to your brand.

Your company will also improve from a better overall understanding of its customers and employees.

How Does Diversity Marketing Work?

Diversity marketing combines easily with other methods, such as close range and target marketing. Just how does diversity marketing work? Here’s a glance:

  • Identify underserved segments in your industry: Look at age, cultural aspects, race, gender and social differences.
  • Appoint a team to look at possible promotions: The last thing you want is an insensitive marketing effort, so run ideas through the viewpoints of people from many backgrounds.
  • Assess your target market: Hire an expert to look at changing trends over time from a diversity standpoint.
  • Look at current methods: Are there opportunities for diversity in the outreach you’re already doing? What is missing? If you aren’t sure, bring in a third party for input.

Many companies take a campaign they’ve created and then try to add some multicultural aspects to it. This technique doesn’t work out well in many cases and leaves the marketing feeling flat. It’s much better to start the campaign with diversity in mind from the beginning. Do your best not to exclude any groups in your customer base.

Who Uses Diversity Marketing?

As people become more aware of the beautiful variation in American culture and open up to global markets, more companies have turned to inclusive promotions. Any business wanting to reach new buyers across different cultural, racial or social groups uses diversity marketing. With the marketplace growing increasingly global, there are more opportunities than ever before to reach out to a mixture of clients from all types of backgrounds. Here are a few examples of companies getting inclusive marketing right.

Think With Google

Google looked at how they could diversify their company to meet their audience’s needs more effectively. They studied the variation in their campaigns. They found they were doing fine on racial diversity, but all of their images were of young professionals. This meant they were ignoring socioeconomic differences. They also considered the difficulties families face when one parent works or when someone has a mental illness.


Lingerie e-commerce store ThirdLove uses women of all colors, shapes and sizes in their promotions. They embrace inclusive marketing and give companies like Victoria’s Secret a run for their money. By reaching out to different groups, they show they know how to meet the needs of all consumers in their audience.


From their “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” campaign in the ’70s to the present day, Coca-Cola embraces the things we have in common. These characteristics bring us all together, no matter what our backgrounds are. More recent commercials show activities like children playing games in the pool and friends grabbing food. These everyday situations show we have a lot in common with other humans. Start by having a team look at your marketing and find areas where you can be more inclusive.

Tips for Diversifying Your Promotions

There are many ways to mix up what you do and be more inclusive. Start by being sensitive to cultural and personal differences, and the rest will follow naturally. Here a few tips:

1. Be Authentic

Don’t just embrace diversity because it’s the trendy thing to do. At the core of your reasons for including diversity in your campaigns, there should be a desire to embrace all your customers. If you’re just trying to gain new business without an understanding or concern for the bigger picture, people will take offense.

2. Plan for the Long-Term

Don’t create a single inclusive campaign and then wash your hands of the effort. Inclusiveness is an ongoing endeavor. Campaigns going forward should have a new tone that matches your inclusive marketing. Any programs you implement should consider your customer base and new markets you’d like to reach.

3. Make Human Connections

Think about the psychological factors driving every human being. Look for instances when people have more in common than not. Tug on the emotional heartstrings and remind people what we’re all working for — healthy families, a successful country and happiness.

4. Choose Your Audience

Know what you offer and to who. Scope out your current customer demographics as well as potential ones. If you sell something particularly for young people, then inclusion for you doesn’t mean reaching all ages. It might mean reaching young adults from different races. It could also mean appealing to young professionals who use your product but excluding those who don’t need what you sell. Diversity marketing doesn’t mean being everything to everyone. It means reaching potential customers in a smart and fair way.

Don’t Try to Please Everyone

When it comes to diversity marketing, you can’t please the world. Not everyone wants inclusiveness. Understand there might be a person here or there who balks at the change in your tone, images or statements regarding the cause. Know why you stand for these things so you’ll be prepared to respond to those who oppose what you’re trying to do. Have a statement ready to send to them. You may lose a few people, but you’ll gain others. Don’t worry about being a people-pleaser with issues you care about. Instead, do what you know is right. Success will soon follow.

CHAPTER 13: Target Marketing      CHAPTER 15: Undercover Marketing


The Small Business Marketing Guide: Introduction

Chapter 1: Successful Viral Marketing Campaigns
Chapter 2: Influencer Marketing
Chapter 3: Conversational Marketing
Chapter 4: CMS Marketing
Chapter 5: Brand Marketing
Chapter 6: Scarcity Marketing
Chapter 7: Transactional Marketing
Chapter 8: FOMO Marketing
Chapter 9: Neuromarketing
Chapter 10: Close Range Marketing
Chapter 11: Guerrilla Marketing
Chapter 12: Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Chapter 13: Target Marketing
Chapter 14: Diversity Marketing
Chapter 15: Undercover Marketing
Chapter 16: Cause Marketing

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at

Related Posts