How do we "effectively" market in the SaaS industry whilst also remaining committed to diversity, equity and inclusion? And how can we keep pushing it forward? 72% of people feel most advertising and communication doesn’t reflect the world around them.

While there has been a significant headway made in the industry on diversity, there are still a large number of improvements that need to be made before true inclusivity in marketing is achieved.

In this article, we delve into the marketing benefits of diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as some key strategies for successfully integrating them into your strategy.

Here’s a breakdown of our key talking points:

About me and Airmeet

My name is Divya Durai, Demand Generation Manager at Airmeet. Struggling with low event engagement and ROI? Airmeet is a hybrid events platform that helps your organization deliver immersive, engaging events. Give it a try today.

As a digital marketer with 10+ years of building marketing strategies for customer acquisition and retention, and as a go-to-market innovator, I’ve enjoyed great success in defining and implementing strategies in high-growth companies.

Advertising and marketing strategies are definitely my forte. But I also serve as a mentor to graduates and up-and-coming marketing professionals. Mentorship plays such a crucial part in fostering a culture of inclusivity.

That’s why I’m delighted to be delving into the subject more on July 13th at Women in SaaS Summit.

A brief history on inclusivity in digital marketing

Companies have made significant headway in addressing inclusion & diversity in marketing over the years.

As a result, marketing campaigns that include people from different genders, races, backgrounds, social classes and age brackets have risen. However, it wasn't always the case.

In the past, I barely saw ads portraying someone like me. If they did, they fitted a specific bucket which is flagged as a stereotype.

3 benefits to female leadership in SaaS (and 5 steps to making it happen)
28.8% That’s the total percentage of women working in the technology industry back in 2020, according to this report. This report suggests that the percentage is projected to reach 33% in 2022.

Inclusive marketing reflects a shifting attitude in the global marketplace. It’s no longer a 'buzzword.' However, there’s still a long way to go to achieve true inclusion and diversity.

In my experience, addressing these topics is a continuous process. These are not always the easiest conversations, but they are essential. As an advocate for equality and inclusion in marketing and life, I had to voice and address bias and challenge communication tone in companies at various points.

The conversation around diversity and inclusion has to be ongoing. No one is going to be totally without biases, but we can continue to work through them together.

How inclusivity strategies positively impact customer acquisition/retention

Inclusivity isn’t just a fashionable term. It’s been shown to have a really positive impact on key SaaS metrics such as acquisition and retention. Don’t believe me?

Check out this study conducted by Microsoft Advertising, which found that 49% of people stopped purchasing from a brand that did not represent their values.

The study points out that inclusive ads have driven a 23pt lift in purchase intent. No matter what gender or ethnicity, there was an increase in purchase intent after being exposed to an ad deemed inclusive.

As you can see, there is a direct impact of inclusivity and diversity on customer acquisition and purchase behavior.

From personal experience, I see this constantly in my marketing campaigns and ads that represent different audiences. They result in higher click-through rates, engagement and conversions.

Positive representation in marketing and advertising

The thing it’s essential for every marketer to understand is…

Consumers of any business are people — human beings who want to be seen, valued and appreciated. So often, companies focus on growth and success: optimize conversions, grow pipeline value, etc.

These are crucial for a business to succeed, but you can’t get very far without the human element of marketing and business. Building trust and connection with a company is more effortless when customers feel represented in the right light.

It’s a myth that business and social progress have to be mutually exclusive. Good business practices and inclusivity can – and should – walk hand in hand. It’s all in the spirit of creating a welcoming culture for your customers.

Strategy for social change: diversity and storytelling
Diversity is a strong contender for the word of the decade. Companies around the world are waking up and asking themselves how they can better represent the societies that surround them.

The importance of mentorship

In my experience, being mentored or mentoring professionals who share similar ethnicity, gender, or cultural backgrounds certainly helps to build a good mentoring relationship. However, a significant element is seeing if shared values and views exist.

For instance, my mentors are people I relate to in the professional world; some are from similar gender or marginalized groups but strongly advocate values like equality, growth and inclusivity.

Diversity and inclusion is really an umbrella term. We’re not just talking about race, gender, or ableness, we’re also talking about diversity in thought. If we can create an environment where others are free to share new ways of thinking, we can innovate and adapt.  

Some key strategies for implementing diversity, equity and inclusion

There are many ways to integrate diversity and inclusion into a marketing strategy.

Perform an audit of your entire customer lifecycle journey

Look into all the tactics that engage, acquire and retain users. Ads, emails, social media, website, and marketing strategies.

Are they effectively communicating to create a true sense of relatability and belonging? Audit your customer journey to make marketing and communication more inclusive.

Build authenticity in marketing

72% of gen Z say they're more likely to support brands with authentic advertising. Create campaigns throughout the year with inclusivity and diversity in mind, not just during a particular month. People see through lip service and exploiting social initiatives as a means to reach business goals will be called out.

Build diversity & inclusivity within teams

Include employees while planning strategies and initiatives. Educate yourself and those around you. According to a recent Mckinsey study, workplace diversity and inclusion can boost innovation by 20%.

Diversifying your team can help increase productivity by 35% by encouraging your employees to innovate and think outside the box. Like society, organizations thrive on a broad pool of talent and expertise. Don’t let prejudice limit your scope for innovation.

Divya will be giving a presentation on this subject at Women in SaaS Summit. Secure your ticket today. Don’t miss out.