For smaller brands, it’s okay to have a very focused marketing persona, but as brands grow, marketing needs to evolve to appeal to the full range of customers you want to attract.
A shallow message yields poor results and can have other negative side effects — for example:
- Changing to a more diverse approach to marketing can be difficult. Moreover, not doing so, especially when your competition is, can be even more difficult to explain.
- A lack of diversity or addressing a group in the wrong way can possibly offend your current and potential customers as well as current or prospective employees.
- People are more inclined to buy from your business when they feel like you are addressing them personally and your brand is relatable for them.
It is time for brands to take action; the time for talking about diversity in digital marketing is over. How do you incorporate diversity into practice in your digital marketing? Here are a some simple tips.
Take the Time to Do Your Market Research
The research process is one of the most important steps in promoting diversity. The United States population is more diverse than it ever has been, and companies and public institutions alike are realizing that internal diversity drives innovation, improves productivity, and enhances their company message.
Diversity includes race, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. This means that for an organization’s digital marketing to be effective, there needs to be a clear understanding of the target audience and where the brand fits in with their lives. In addition to learning from successful campaigns, marketers can also learn from failed campaigns by brands like Pepsi.
Market research helps brands incorporate more diversity into their digital marketing campaigns by:
- Allowing for various reviews of content. Pepsi, for example, learned this the hard way with their protest ad starring Kendall Jenner, as reported by Marketing Week. Before letting an ad go viral in a negative way, get an outside perspective from other people in your organization.
- Helping to identify issues before they become part of a more extended campaign. Translating your ad to Spanish? It’s probably a good idea to have a native speaker look things over, and make sure your translation is not inaccurate or offensive.
- Preventing errors in judgement. If you are surrounded by people who already know your product and brand when creating an ad, you’re more likely to make mistakes.
In today’s digital age, with the data collection and predictive analytics tools at our disposal, the market research process has grown in scope and depth exponentially. Of course, collecting data comes with some risks. This is why it’s important to protect both your and your customers’ data by avoiding key mistakes that can lead to losing data, such as working on compromised servers, having outdated or no data backup processes, or not taking time to regularly audit company data practices. Costly data breaches can be devasting for a brand’s PR.
With that in mind, how should organizations get started with the market research process? Since digital marketing oftentimes moves so fast, market research is a step many brands skip. From the number of ad campaigns that have backfired, we can see how dangerous bypassing market research can be for brands.
Don’t Put Edginess Over Reason
Thinking about running an edgy campaign? It is tempting to be on the cutting edge and do something different than your competition. Although creativity and pushing the limit can make for memorable campaigns, it’s essential to have a voice of reason involved to ask some key questions when creating edgy campaigns. Here’s some advice for embracing diversity even in the edgiest of ad campaigns.
- Outside perspective is important. Hire remote workers or outside consultants who are not immersed in your brand every day to get honest feedback.
- Include diversity in the creative process. Bring diverse members of your team in early, include those from different backgrounds and ethnicities.
- Prioritize empathy as your ultimate purpose. Your customers should feel like they can relate to your ads, even if they are edgy. Careful consideration should be used to make sure ads or marketing content is not condescending or offensive.
Some great examples of this are the Cheerios commercials and the ads by Apple, which is of course, one of the leaders in adopting diversity in digital marketing.
Test Your Ads… and Test Them Again
Finally, it is important to test your ads on small groups initially, then run A/B test ads further before promoting them to a larger audience. The more testing that is done, the more certain organizations can be that the digital marketing efforts will align with the target audience’s values and the message brand’s want to communicate. This means listening to customers and paying close attention to analytics.
Thankfully, there’s tons of technology that allows brands to test ads and content effectively. The Google suite of search tools, social listening 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 answer is embracing this technology and deciding to include more diversity into our digital marketing. This means taking time for research, putting a voice of reason into the production of potentially contreversial or offensive campaigns, and extensively testing ads with a diverse portion of customer bases.
By making it a point to do each of 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 past the time to talk about diversity in digital marketing; now it’s time to apply the valuable lessons we have already learned.