Digital brands find inclusivity is the ‘right thing’ to do for business results

Discussion
Photo: @tonymeyers via Twenty20
Jun 28, 2019
Matthew Stern

Digital businesses that aren’t marketing to the multicultural consumer are losing out big time, according to Kirsten Mitchell, senior program manager of inclusion and diversity at Amazon.com and Amy Gomez, manager of cross-cultural marketing at WPP. In a session at this year’s IRCE conference, they explored statistics that reveal this and the strategies Amazon has implemented because of it.

“It’s the right thing to do for your customers, but it’s the right thing to do for your business too,” said Ms. Mitchell.

Ms. Gomez shared that 47 percent of Hispanic consumers (compared to 20 percent of non-Hispanic white consumers) have ordered groceries online in the past 30 days. Asian consumers purchase 20 percent more online than white consumers and black consumers over-index for dollars spent online in most categories of grocery.

These numbers come in the context of increasing diversity in the U.S. According to their report, 92 percent of the population growth since 2012 has been from multicultural consumers, with both Millennials and Generation Z skewing more multicultural and more digitally-native than older generations. (Diversity was defined as Black, Hispanic and Asian, not taking into consideration smaller ethnic groups.)

“There are culturally-based values and beliefs that drive multicultural consumer behavior,” Ms. Gomez said. “This is a super important concept. You start from insights and strategy. If you wait for the execution, it’s already going to be too late. That’s why it’s important to be thoughtful and deliberate about building diversity in your organizations.”

In keeping with this, Ms. Mitchell pointed out the importance of creating diverse teams in order to understand the needs, desires and pain points of particular groups of consumers that might go otherwise overlooked. She also advised using affinity groups to determine how a given offering or website appeals to a particular identity group. She discussed how Amazon utilized this method to better understand how to sell hair care products made for an African-American customer base. 

“Make sure your customers’ voices are in the room when you’re making your marketing decisions,” Ms. Mitchell said. “You have to authentically represent them — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s good for your bottom line.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should every brand or retailer be implementing tools to collect insights about the cultural and ethnic background of their audience so they can market accordingly? In what ways can digital brands and retailers create an “inclusive digital retail” environment, and will it lead to the types of benefits Ms. Mitchell and Gomez suggested?

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Braintrust
"Demographic and location analytics are baseline to creating a good assortment and a healthy customer experience."
"I don’t think you can create a melting pot of messages for distinctive groups of consumers."
"In terms of marketing, CULTURE eats strategy and everything else for breakfast, lunch and dinner..."

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8 Comments on "Digital brands find inclusivity is the ‘right thing’ to do for business results"


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Art Suriano
Guest

Today with all the data available about every aspect of the customer, shame on any retailer who is ignoring the many different ethnic groups out there. It’s not wise, and it is certainly not a benefit to your business. America has always been the melting pot made of multi-cultures, and it is no different today. With technology, it is effortless to be able to appeal to different ethnic groups and guess what, if you do it correctly, you’re going to increase your business.

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

Demographic and location analytics are baseline to creating a good assortment and a healthy customer experience.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

In terms of marketing, CULTURE eats strategy and everything else for breakfast, lunch and dinner (hats off to Peter Drucker). And today culture is a changing and fast moving target. To not understand culture, diversity, et. al. is a prescription for failure. Every brand should have their fingers on the pulse of their customers, though some may not like the heartbeat they find.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

This strikes me as being more about creating and managing eyes-open choices than it is about “should.” It’s all about how the brand promise originates and then evolves. Some businesses will serve niches well and will only dilute their promise if they reach too far or wide. That is not to say that being obnoxiously exclusive is a good thing. Abercrombie & Fitch was well positioned at “sexy and cool.” To say that they took it too far would be an understatement.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

Yes! Brands must be inclusive with a focus on intentional diversity. The brands that don’t could be “called out,” and deservedly so. This is part of the personalized experience – making customers feel connected and part of the brand.

Joan Treistman
BrainTrust

I’m confused. Is the article discussing multi-cultural marketing or marketing to one ethnicity at a time? I think the goal is to understand your target audience and then reach them with a message or messages that generates sales. You may uncover that you have several targets for whom you have different messages. I don’t think you can create a melting pot of messages for distinctive groups of consumers.

William Hogben
Guest

Is the idea to identify consumers by their race/ethnicity so we can stereotype them in our messaging? Of course, only stereotypes we think they’ll like right? In my mind, ethical marketing segments consumers by activities like browsing/buying behavior, not by attributes like age/race.

Mario Carrasco
Guest

It is becoming increasingly apparent that doing what is good for the consumer is good for business. The key is you do not know what is good for your consumer. You must start with insights as Mrs. Gomez suggests in order to understand where your consumer is coming from in order to build a campaign that highlights inclusiveness.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Demographic and location analytics are baseline to creating a good assortment and a healthy customer experience."
"I don’t think you can create a melting pot of messages for distinctive groups of consumers."
"In terms of marketing, CULTURE eats strategy and everything else for breakfast, lunch and dinner..."

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