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How Diverse Is Your Marketing?

  • March 1, 2016
  • Written by Meridian Admin

Take a long look at your marketing strategy - who are you targeting with your advertising and other promotional activity? Hopefully you’ll have identified your target market by honing in on its gender balance, age range, socio-economic status, and geographic location to identify your primary customers. You may have even carried out a market survey to better understand the needs of your potential customers. If you have, then you will have a clear idea of how to reach them with your message. But is that enough?

Major corporations are, according to the Mintel Group, “ ... looking to strengthen relationships with consumers by recognizing and reflecting our more diverse and open-minded society.” Here are six examples of how the corporate world is acting on this:

1. Toy manufacturer Mattel made the cover of Time magazine recently when it diversified its range of Barbie dolls; they now come in 8 skin tones, 14 different face types, 18 eye colours, 22 hairstyles/colours and a range of body shapes (original, curvy, tall and petite). Mattel also featured a boy in a television commercial for the first time.

2. Cineplex Odeon are now showing sensory friendly screenings, in conjunction with Autism Speaks Canada. Movies are projected in 2D, with increased lighting, lower volumes and smaller crowds.

3. Actress and Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy starred in a Toyota Super Bowl ad, and Gatorade aired a commercial featuring a Sled Hockey team playing against NHL pros. It’s worth noting that 13.7 per cent of the adult population in Canada have a disability - that’s 3.8 million people!

4. In Ohio, a small business called Veil has manufactured a technologically advanced, waterproof, lightweight, hijab for the modern woman. The company funded its development through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign; it set its goal at $5,000 and received an amazing $39,221 in pledges.

5. Signs is a restaurant in Toronto has a threefold vision to: become one of the best restaurants in Canada; promote the use of American Sign Language among the hearing community; and provide career opportunities and growth for the deaf in the hospitality industry. All servers are deaf and customers are asked to order using sign language. Icons next to each menu item and a sign language cheat sheet help customers. The restaurant has received national media attention.

6. Dozens of global name brands have recognized the LGBT community in their ads, or through event sponsorship including Kellogg, Ben and Jerry, MasterCard, and American Airlines in the United States. In Canada, TD Canada Trust sponsor 42 Pride festivals across North America, and both General Mills and Proctor and Gamble feature same sex couples in their television commercials. These are just a few examples of companies wanting their products to reflect real life.

The companies mentioned above are not being totally altruistic, there are sound marketing principles behind their desire to appeal to a more diverse audience. People relate to people like them and if all your advertising focuses on one stereotype you are limiting its appeal.

Consumers have morals, ethics, and viewpoints that reflect their beliefs - increasingly companies are taking a stand too and finding that it humanizes them. Supporting any specific minority group has its risks. People might find your promotional material too gender specific, or ageist, or not ethnically diverse enough, others may be offended by what they see as immoral - people will always see what they want to see, or perhaps not see. Only you can decide what is right for your company.

However, the one thing the trend toward diversity in marketing is showing us is that consumers want to feel you, as a company are being authentic. Adding a touch of diversity to your overall marketing activities may well pay off in more ways than you might imagine.


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