Last week we invited 11 women of color to join us for dinner in New York City to discuss how to create marketing initiatives that are truly inclusive. During the discussion three clear themes came up: (1) there’s a strong need to educate internally; (2) data can be used to justify speaking directly to specific consumer segments; and (3) supporting each other internally can go along way.
Ways to Educate Internally
- Use your agencies. They’ll have resources to immerse in a segment and surface insights that help justify investing in said segment.
- Use resources like Nielsen and Mintel. They often have free resources on consumer markets, for example Nielsen periodically publishes studies on the African American demographic.
- Reverse mentoring. Be paired with someone in a higher position than you for the specific purpose of getting them up to speed on topics or consumer segments they are unfamiliar with. If your company doesn’t have a reverse mentoring program, ask for one. Reverse mentoring was popularized by former General Electric CEO Jack Welch in 1999. So it’s not a new concept and is practiced in organization like Microsoft, Target, Cisco, P&G, etc. This article makes a great case for reverse mentoring.
Click to enlarge.
Use Data to Push Through More Inclusive Marketing
- Test. Test. Test. Test everything from purchase intent to creative. If budget is limited, leverage resources like Walmart who has proprietary consumer sales data that can be used as proxy.
- Don’t settle for ethnically ambiguous talent in ads. Push for talent that “looks like the people at your dinner table.” Work with your agency to create multiple versions of ad creative and A/B test, if you’re not already doing so.
- Question the results. Even with testing, don’t hesitate to question causation vs correlation. For example, under-indexing segments might not be buying your brand’s products because they’re not being sold to i.e. “we don’t buy you because we don’t feel seen,” in which case it may be worthwhile to test purchase intent with ads that recognize or speak directly to the consumer segment in question.
Support Each Other Internally
- Create informal peer-to-peer groups. Connect with people of color in your organization and go out for drinks or lunch. Or even just acknowledging other people of color in the organization can go a long way.
- Be yourself. In order for a workplace and work created by said workplace to be fully inclusive it has to include people as they are and not a version of themselves that adheres to an idea of who they should be. So that may mean less censoring and code switching, which can be something as small as wearing your natural hair to work. You never know who you might be inspiring by being who you fully are.
- Be present and vocal.
- Don’t bail; all of us can’t bail.
- Value collaboration over competition.
- Culture Con — “Black culture moves all culture”
- Interview with T. Coates – You’re Not Crazy
- Book to check out: Our Separate Ways
- Additional resources from the Un-ruly team