What is Inclusive Marketing? Everything You Need to Know in 2021

what is inclusive marketing?

Successful companies are always looking for ways to bring their business into the future. Old marketing methods might have worked a few decades ago, but the market is changing–and inclusive marketing helps companies jump ahead of the curve. More companies realize that inclusive marketing helps them reach a new audience, make a solid first impression and improve their relationship with the public. As a result, their sales start to increase, allowing them to invest even more in their marketing strategy.

 “Inclusive marketing” is a new term, but it’s not just a trendy buzzword. Instead, it’s a revolutionary concept that helps businesses reach audiences that they might have previously alienated. Old marketing methods focused on a single audience: straight, white, able-bodied men. This might have captured the straight, white, able-bodied male demographic, but it alienated “minorities” who often aren’t minorities at all. For example, women make up over half the world’s population but appear in a much smaller percentage of advertisements.

 Inclusive marketing sends an entirely different message. Instead of focusing on one specific demographic, inclusive marketing celebrates diversity and acknowledges people from all walks of life. If you’re ready to make the switch, here’s everything you need to know about inclusive marketing in 2021.

What is Inclusive Marketing?

 Inclusive marketing targets people from all walks of life. This includes a diverse range of ages, genders, races, cultures, and sexualities, as well as people with disabilities. With seven billion people in the world, there are millions of possible combinations, so you can’t include every single one in your marketing strategy. However, you could include a broad range of people that makes everyone feel included.

 Here are some examples of inclusive marketing:

  • Including a diverse group of people in a commercial
  • Making a website more accessible to people with disabilities
  • Using gender-neutral language instead of addressing the reader as “he.”
  • Avoiding stereotypes like portraying white men as CEOs and women as subordinates
  • Highlighting marginalized people in ad campaigns
  • Using inclusive language like “couple” instead of “bride and groom” or “boyfriend and girlfriend.”

 Contrary to popular belief, inclusive marketing isn’t complicated or expensive. An Internet marketing company like Send it Rising could help you incorporate an inclusive marketing plan into your business strategy. When you incorporate diversity into your marketing, your audience will notice and appreciate it.

inclusive marketing

Why Inclusive Marketing Matters in 2021

 In the past decade, the United States has undergone a massive social upheaval. Women, people of color, and members of the LGBT community have spoken out about being judged, marginalized, stereotyped, abused, harassed, and denied their rights. Disabled people have argued that large parts of society are inaccessible to them. In 2020, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement gained so much momentum that it caught the attention of major businesses like Netflix and McDonald’s. Millions of people are tired of being silenced–and the marketing industry realizes that it needs to make a change.

 Some businesses have declined to make inclusive marketing part of their strategy. These businesses aren’t just losing sales–they’re also missing out on the chance to attract a new audience. Every company has a target audience, but when they stop assuming that only one person buys their products, they open themselves up to an entirely new market. For example, if a power tool company includes women in their commercials, they might attract more women who never see themselves represented in the field. Many businesses make the mistake of assuming that only one gender buys their products.

inclusive marketing

What Makes Inclusive Marketing So Important?

 In today’s competitive market, it’s more important than ever for businesses to have a positive relationship with the public. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and other forms of social media give consumers a direct line to the company. If a company gives off the impression that they don’t care about diversity, people might take their business elsewhere. With thousands of online businesses in virtually every field, it’s not hard for customers to find another company if they have a bad experience with yours. That’s why it’s essential to understand the social values of the time period.

 Representation makes people feel valued, even if it comes in the form of an advertisement. When people see themselves reflected in an advertisement, they feel like your product or service is “for them.” Conversely, if they never see themselves reflected in the media, they might feel shut out or unimportant. Inclusive marketing also impacts society as a whole by reinforcing positive images instead of negative stereotypes.

 Ultimately, inclusive marketing isn’t just good for you–it’s also suitable for your customers. Seeing themselves represented can make them feel valued and recognized. When people have positive associations with your business, that means more profits for you.

Tips for Successful Inclusive Marketing

 Inclusive marketing isn’t as simple as throwing a bunch of people together in your next commercial. Instead, inclusive marketing is a practice that you incorporate into every aspect of your marketing strategy. Here are some tips for successful integration.

Make Your Website More Accessible

 If people with disabilities have trouble accessing your website, they might give up and shop elsewhere. Worse yet, they might write a negative review and make your company look bad. Unfortunately, many web designers only care about how the website looks on a screen and doesn’t think about disabled viewers. It’s easy to assume that disabled people make up a fraction of the population. Still, a disability doesn’t have to be debilitating–it could be an “invisible” disability like poor eyesight that makes it difficult to read text on a screen.

 Talk to an expert about making your website accessible to everyone. Some websites offer tools and plugins that you can add to your website for people with disabilities. These tools might enlarge the text, change the color, read text aloud, create an on-screen keyboard and provide other enhancements. These tools only affect how the individual views your website–they don’t affect the actual website.

Include Representation in Your Marketing

 It’s not bad for your company to have a target audience–in fact, narrowing down your audience helps you market to the right people. However, not every person who visits your website will be a straight white man in his thirties. When you represent different races, ages, genders, and sexualities in your marketing, you reach a wider audience. If they’re impressed by your product or service, they might recommend it to their friends, increasing your web of sales and profits.

 No one expects you to include every single group in your advertisements–that’s millions of people. However, you could incorporate different races and cultures in your commercials, posters, and social media ads. Feature women in your promotions instead of defaulting to men every time. If you work in the dating or romance-based industry, include same-sex couples as well as opposite-sex ones. Including disabled people is essential because they rarely see representation outside of “inspirational” movies. There’s an endless amount of options you could choose from, so why stick with a parade of straight, able-bodied white men?

Talk to Experts on the Subject

 You could hire an online marketing agency to help you promote your business, but you won’t get far if you never talk to the people you’re trying to represent. For example, an able-bodied person might film a commercial with disabled people. They assume that they know everything about the disability and never talk to the individuals they’re supposedly representing. When they release their commercial, people notice that it has a mocking, offensive tone coming from ignorance. This could have been prevented if the non-disabled person talked to the experts.

 When you represent people outside of your cultural group, talk to people who are part of this group. They could help you avoid blunders like mockery, stereotypes, or cultural appropriation. They might also answer your questions, give advice and help you incorporate this group in your marketing plan. If you don’t talk to an expert, you could make a costly mistake that results in a PR disaster–which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.

inclusive marketing

Inclusive Marketing for Online Reputation

 Your online reputation is everything. If you offend a group of people, word quickly spreads throughout Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. People might threaten to boycott your business if the offense was serious enough. Even a minor incident could result in decreased followers and bad reviews, hurting your business in the short term. Some say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but your sales will drop if enough people call for a boycott.

 Inclusive marketing isn’t a magic cure-all that makes people flock to your business, but it improves your reputation and increases positive word-of-mouth. If you’re starting a business, inclusive marketing helps you build a positive reputation from the beginning. Diverse marketing can also help businesses that hit a rough spot get back on their feet. As you build your reputation over time, people will feel confident that they’re supporting a committed, ethical business that cares about social issues.

Inclusive Marketing on Social Media

 Younger generations like millennials and Gen Z spend the most time on social media. Generally, these generations are also the most committed to social justice. It’s a delicate balance, but an Internet marketing agency like Send it Rising could help you attract an audience without pandering to them. Here are a few ways you could feature diverse marketing on your social media platforms:

  • Include a variety of races, sizes, and body types in your image posts and ad campaigns.
  • Highlight critical civil rights milestones like Juneteenth and Pride Month.
  • Inviting a diverse group of customers to share their stories about your product.
  • Collaborate with women- and POC-owned brands.
  • Use gender-neutral language, and don’t assume that only men or women buy certain products.
  • Talk about the causes and charities you support to show your commitment to social justice.
inclusive marketing

Inclusive Marketing | Send it Rising Internet Marketing 

The marketing landscape is constantly changing. Some people dig their feet in the ground and refuse to change, but successful businesses stay on top because they can adapt to modern times. Inclusive marketing isn’t a trend that will disappear in a few years–it’s always been important for people who rarely see themselves represented. For this reason, businesses need to learn, adapt and reevaluate their marketing strategy to succeed well into the future.

 An Internet marketing agency like Send it Rising has the tools and expertise that you need to upgrade your marketing strategy. 

This article was written by Send it Rising, digital marketing and eCommerce professionals focusing on eCommerce website design, SEO, listing optimization, and more. If you have further questions surrounding building your eCommerce in 2021, contact us here.

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