By Sandy Sponaugle
Posted on February 5, 2020
Filed under: Communications, Marketing Collateral, Strategic Communication

Is your marketing inclusive?

February has arrived… and so has Black History Month! This month is about celebrating the contributions African-Americans have made to America and the world.

It’s also a time to bring more awareness to the necessity of inclusivity, equity, and diversity in the workplace… And to marketing!

As Economic Developers, we play a key role in creating change in our communities, and our marketing is an integral part of that. Have you ever stopped to consider: Are your marketing efforts helping to create an inclusive economy that supports all groups? Or is it doing the opposite?

In today’s newsletter, I’m sharing a preview of a talk I’m giving at next month’s Interise Event. This event is bringing visionaries, practitioners, and small businesses together to find sustainable solutions for closing the wealth gap and ending systemic inequality.

Here are 5 blind spots (when it comes to inclusivity, diversity, and equity) to watch out for in your marketing:

Blind Spot #1: Storytelling

Storytelling is about more than our own personal stories. It’s about sharing the stories of our organizations and communities. Through storytelling, we have the ability to connect emotionally to our audience.

So whose stories are you telling?

Are you sharing the same stories that reach the same demographics?

If so, consider what audiences you may be leaving out. Then, go out into your community and talk to people from all demographics.

Through the stories you share, you have the power to expand your reach.

Blind Spot #2: Target Market

It’s important to be very specific when it comes to your target market. However, as Economic Developers, you will have multiple target markets!

Different programs will apply to different audiences. And it’s important that your messaging resonates with each different audience. For example, someone new to the workforce will resonate with different messaging than someone who is older in the workforce.

It can be tempting to stick with what is easy, as everyone is overworked and low on time. However, diving deeper and getting to know the multiple target markets your organization serves will elevate the support you provide your community.

Get to know each demographic you are speaking to in detail so that you can target your messaging specifically to them.

Blindspot #3: Outreach

Are you getting the word out about your programs to the people who need them?

Are you making it easy for marginalized groups to find you so you can give them the support they need?

In any community or Economic Development Organization, you won’t be able to reach everybody. It isn’t physically possible.

But you can do your best, and create programs within those different populations.

For example: Attend the local Hispanic Chamber Meeting to find out about their needs. If you don’t have one in your community… create one!

You won’t be able to tackle everything… but you can get started with the next step!

Blindspot #4: Authentic Perspectives

Chances are, you don’t have the perspective of every minority or underserved group in your community.

The best way to get it? Get out and speak to people from different demographics.

For example, to get the perspective of African American women, engage someone from that demographic on your advisory board. By including that person as a part of your team, you will be more able to connect authentically to that target audience.

To find the right people, you might need to ask your network for support in making introductions and connections.

Blind Spot #5: Partnerships

You can utilize partnerships in order to serve other populations. Make sure you don’t have several collaborations serving the same population while others are left out.

Do outreach with different team members or board members who are serving different parts of your population. Leverage the power of your volunteers to reach different segments to spread your message.

If you would like to learn more about how to bring more inclusivity, diversity, and equity to your organization, you’re invited to join me at the Interise 2020 event on March 10-11. Find out more details here.

What are your thoughts on this topic of inclusivity in marketing?

Leave a comment down below!

‘Til next time,
Sandy

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