There's an entire school of thought out there called design thinking . As a brief summary, design thinking is an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach to problem solving - when applied to the business world it can mean anything from a CEO helping flip burgers once a month for a few hours to understand her/his business at a core level, or it can be employees from very different departments brainstorming solutions to a problem.
What does that have to do with marketing?
Here’s a very obtuse (and often used) example: why would a group of men be in charge of a marketing campaign for feminine products? They have no knowledge or understanding of the product, let alone the experience of a menstrual cycle.
When you bring women to the table you have an entirely different outlook, understanding, knowledge, and approach to the problems being targeted in the marketing campaign. Putting the feminine products aside, let’s take this thinking further: let’s bring men and women of color and/or of different cultural upbringings and we expand the representation even further. We expand the knowledge and understanding further and stand a chance of reaching new, or greater, audiences.
Representation in marketing is everything and there have been great strides in visual marketing to be more representative. This is, of course, a good thing but as a business, representation in your marketing (and other) teams should also be a priority and should be at the forefront of a leader’s mind. Having a diverse team provides you with additional insight into consumer needs and problems which leads to better, more rounded and informed campaigns.
Saying no to the possibility of reaching and resonating with new audiences is like saying no to free money, you just wouldn’t.
Beyond Gender and Race
Because it’s always worth mentioning, diversity in business goes beyond gender and race. It isn’t about having a perfect balance of gender, racial, or any other differences on your staff, it’s about bringing different ideas, approaches and outlooks to your team. And those inherently come with diversity.
To put it another way - it’s about people with different ideas, skills, and backgrounds that can come together and make your company work for the diverse world we actually live in, instead through a limited scope. First Hand Experience
My organization, Padron Marketing, was founded by me, a Latina woman with a strong commitment to diversity in the marketplace as well as activism in seeing Latinos in the digital sector. I've seen firsthand the need for better representation in business and marketing and have strived to be a leader who practices that. This has served me well and I'm confident that this commitment has been a major player in the company's success. The various skills and backgrounds that the members of Padron bring to this company ensure we are never at a loss to meet a client’s needs. But as important, when difficulties do arise we have a wide range of insight, knowledge, experience, and understanding to pull from and utilize for problem solving.
Think of what you bring to a team. Is it your content creation skills? Is it your ease with analytics? Travel experience? Unique upbringing? How about experience designing? Management experience?
Now imagine working with a call center employee, a CEO, a web developer, a merchandiser, and an HR manager to solve the problem of decreased app downloads. Do you think any of you are going to approach the problem the same way? Definitely not, and that’s the beauty of design thinking, of interdisciplinary support, and of intercultural, diverse cooperation to approach solving problems in business. As this also brings in more representation of minorities to the workplace, you really can’t go wrong.
So start now by committing to diversity in your workplace and in your problem solving.