The value of diversity in the workplace 

Editor’s note: Terri Hatcher is the chief diversity and inclusion officer for NTT DATA, North America.

The recently released report on the state of diversity in the marketing and advertising industries from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) made headlines when it revealed a decline in ethnic diversity, with a percentage of 30.8% in 2023. Despite businesses increasing their efforts in inclusive hiring over the past few years, marketing teams are still struggling to attract diverse voices.

Consumer research has shown that diversity is a critical component of successful marketing campaigns, with some basing their purchasing decisions on representation. For example, 85% of Latinx and 79% of Black people say that they are more likely to support brands that have stronger diversity campaigns. Even different age groups have a say, with 77% of Millennials saying that they would support brands that market to their generation. Clearly, diversity has become a priority for consumers. 

As society places increasing importance on environmental, social and governance considerations, industries now recognize the significance of diversity in marketing. With the buying power of minority groups in the U.S. predicted to skyrocket to $7 trillion by 2025, businesses must adjust to appeal to this demographic. That’s why a diverse marketing team is essential for making informed decisions that lead to increased profitability. 

For marketing campaigns to truly embrace diversity and appeal to a wider demographic, the teams behind them must reflect the audiences they are targeting. That means ensuring your marketing teams are comprised of multiple aspects of diversity such as individuals from various socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, genders, those with disabilities and who are neurodiverse and individuals from different age groups. 

Gen Z seeks workplace diversity

Research has shown that Gen Z are unlikely to stay in jobs they are not happy in. Gen Z is highly discerning when it comes to diversity in the workplace. Along with ethnic and gender diversity, Gen Z workers will be looking for a team that represents multiple demographics, including those with neurodiverse and disabled backgrounds. Not only is a diverse team important to attract the top talent of this generation, but also provides them with opportunities to kick-start their careers.  

Many companies face challenges with retaining diverse talent due to the lack of representation in leadership roles. When individuals don’t see people represent them across various steps of the ladder, they feel excluded and less inclined to stay with the company. Therefore, to foster a welcoming environment for Gen Z employees, it is essential to ensure that diverse demographics are represented at all levels, as this enables individuals to connect with mentors who can help them progress in their careers. 

Consequently, to attract the cream of the crop into your marketing teams, it is essential to provide a diverse and inclusive environment that showcases a range of talent. 

How do DEI efforts affect company success? 

A good leader can leverage the differences of a diverse team making them highly effective, which can lead to retention and growth. Whether through inclusive recruitment or engaging in an external consultancy, building a diverse marketing team is not only better for representation but also better for innovation. The Harvard Business Review conducted a study that showed that diverse teams are proven to be more creative than teams that are not, resulting in a revenue increase of 1.4 times per person working on the team. 

According to the ANA, diverse teams make marketing campaigns 47% more effective at driving revenue. Therefore, embracing diversity in marketing not only promotes inclusivity and sustainability but also results in a more profitable business.

In addition to creating a diverse and inclusive environment, it is crucial for marketing executives to invest in training programs that prepare leadership for building and growing diverse teams. Training can help leaders understand the value of diversity, develop inclusive leadership skills and address unconscious biases that may hinder the success of diverse teams. By equipping leaders with the knowledge and tools to effectively manage and support diverse talent, companies can foster an environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives. This commitment to ongoing training and development is essential for building a strong foundation for diversity and inclusion within marketing teams and driving long-term success.