Diversity Marketing: What’s the Definition?

The Association of National Advertisers chose “diversity” as the ANA 2021 Marketing Word of the Year. What is the definition of diversity marketing?

“United Colors of Benetton” was an early example of inclusive marketing

The Common Language Marketing Dictionary project team, led by John Gaski of Notre Dame University, prefers the terms “inclusive marketing” and defines it this way:

Inclusive marketing (also called inclusion marketing or diversity marketing) refers to marketing strategies, tactics and technologies that have a goal to create a sense of welcoming and belonging, often for members of demographic or societal groups considered underserved, marginalized or legally protected.

Common objectives for inclusive marketing are to communicate that differences among people are respected and valued by the enterprise. These differences can include ethnicity, race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, body type, presence of disability, or any other factor.

While individual executions within an inclusive marketing campaign may focus on a specific segment, inclusive marketing campaigns are not narrowly targeted to reach a specific group but are meant for the broader public.

One common tactic of inclusive marketing campaigns is the use of a diverse cast representing various minority groups, but this practice is neither necessary nor, by itself, sufficient for a campaign to be inclusive.

See inclusive marketing for examples.

The Common Language Marketing Dictionary, marketing-dictionary.org, is a free, educational resource from MASB, the Marketing Accountability Standards Board, for students, educators and marketing practitioners. Designed to eliminate ambiguity and improve business communication, this lexicon has 1,800+ cross-referenced marketing terms and definitions and is reviewed and updated monthly by our team of marketing authorities, which includes both practitioners and professors of Marketing from major universitites.