Diversity is critical to embracing the changes and challenges of modern marketing.
Today is a good day to think about diversity since we celebrate a U.S. holiday in remembrance of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Baptist pastor and civil rights leader who personifies our country's struggle to establish equality for everyone in a very diverse society. You can read all about Rev. King on Wikipedia.
The importance of diversity in society requires no explanation. Why is diversity important in marketing, then?
Marketing has an influence on society
Marketing and advertising have an influence on society: our messages, images, words and music set the trends rather than follow them. This is often lamentable but it is almost always powerful and we dare not misunderstand it. Hence we should consider diversity when we prepare something for public consumption. A very tangible action, for example, is to hire diverse on-camera talent.
Diversity is also important behind the camera and in the office. We are more likely to present diversity in our work if we have it in our workforce. Much has been written about the need for our employee roster to match the diversity in our society, and I share the commitment to making it happen.
Modern marketing demands diversity
Diversity in the workplace is even more important when one considers that marketing plans and tools themselves are more diverse than ever. In Ye Olde Marketing the planning process was relatively straightforward because we had only three TV networks and limited other media available. Today, of course, there are hundreds of tools and millions of ways to combine them. If you appreciate the diversity of it all, your mind will be open to new creative possibilities.
The same applies to human diversity, be it racial , social or economic. If you appreciate the diversity of the people around you, your mind will be open to new creative possibilities. Diversity is not only a moral imperative; it's an ingredient in business success.
Modern marketers value diversity
How do we achieve a more diverse workforce? There are numerous corporate, government and other programs available, which I won't try to catalog here. I only suggest that if your company offers a course or workshop, take it -- and take it seriously. Many of these are high-quality, and it's never a waste of time to stop and challenge the way we think about our relationships with others.
This is akin to developing yourself as a Renaissance Practitioner -- someone who recognizes their own unique perspective but works hard to appreciate the perspective of others. Shouldn't we work just as hard to understand a colleague's life experience as we do their professional specialty?
My answer would be "Yes" -- and we must try to make a little bit of progress each day.