The Potential and Utmost Urgency of Inclusive Marketing

Creating content that truly reflects diverse communities is what inclusive marketing is all about, making whoever sees the campaign feels represented. The very concept of inclusive marketing does not equal mass marketing since inclusive marketing targets specific groups of people that have been neglected or ignored by the media.

Part of a marketer’s responsibility is to relay the brands’ message in a way that resonates with people from all backgrounds, regardless of their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, ethnicity, and abilities.

On June 5, the Global Business Marketing undergraduate program of BINUS Business School held a webinar titled ‘Inclusive Marketing: the Potential and Urgency’ with Nia Wirahadikusumah, the Enterprise Director of Microsoft Indonesia, and Pantri Heriyati, from the Centre of Business and Social Empowerment BINUS University as guest speakers. In this webinar, both speakers voiced their opinions and shared their vast knowledge of inclusive marketing in the digital era.

Importance of Inclusive Marketing

Looking around, our society has changed significantly; it has become more diverse. This creates a challenge for marketers who have been adopting the concept of market segmentation. Inclusivity provides a rounded solution for a brand to re-focus their market and start expanding their audience. After all, the main role of marketers is to increase revenue by attracting more customers.

By not adapting inclusive marketing, a brand may lose a large sum of customers. A report from iProspect shows the purchasing power of groups, such as the LGBTQ+ community which amasses $3.7 trillion/year and women who spend roughly $18 trillion/year. Imagine the loss that a brand could suffer should they not represent these groups.

The newer generation has become more aware of social issues. By adopting inclusive marketing, a brand can increase the consideration of prospective customers. Studies have also shown that 60% of Millennials and Gen Zers prefer brands that support a social cause. 92% of customers perceive brands that support social and environmental issues more positively, which is good for improving brand perception.

Inclusive marketing is also proven to be effective in reducing churn since more people choose to abandon a brand once they learn something negative about it from the media. “It’s not only about attracting customers, but gaining their loyalty for life,” said Nina Wirahadikusumah.

The Urgency of Inclusive Marketing

Marketing caters to society’s needs. Customers want to see themselves represented, especially by the brands that they use regularly. In fact, 52% of customers are likely to switch brands if a company’s message is not personalized or inclusive of them. Representation is not just about seeing oneself up in a billboard, it also happens when a brand speaks about issues that people believe in, such as racial issues, police brutality, and gender inequality.

More importantly, inclusive marketing can become a bridge for a brand to reach new customers. Marketers miss out on a huge market opportunity by not including communities in their advertising. Inclusive marketing also attracts the next generation of the workforce. Without a sharp focus on equality and inclusion, a company can appear out of touch, disengaged, distant, and offensive.

Ways to Create Inclusive Marketing

Inclusive marketing cannot be applied if a company does not have an inclusive product. Moreover, an inclusive product cannot be produced without first engaging in an inclusive culture. “Diversity is one thing, but diversity without inclusion is chaos,” said Nina.

In transforming work culture, first, a company must foster a culture of inclusivity and surround it with diverse people. Always work with partners and deliberately include to avoid accidental exclusion. From this inclusive culture, comes inclusive products: a design for the edge case, to leverage free services, and build a community to reach more people.

Inclusive marketing can be applied by understanding your customers better and aligning your brand with your customers’ values. This creates a conversation through your brand’s message by applying the 6 principles of inclusive marketing. Start with a respectful message tone and be intentional with language as not to offend anyone. Ensure representation, be considerate of context, and avoid any appropriations. Lastly, avoid connotative stereotypes at all costs.