Summer in the U.S. is well under way with grills being fired up for family BBQs and marshmallows roasting at late night bonfires. Around this time of year we would typically write about the 4th of July and offer tips to boost your engagement and sales. But this year, we decided to take a break from our 4th of July messages to explore a more pressing topic: diversity and inclusion.
As our global team expands, we’ve been thinking more about what holidays mean. Holidays have typically been used to guide marketing calendars, but how do we decide which holidays to include in our marketing efforts?
The 4th of July is an interesting case study because freedom is something that we all celebrate. But it means something different to everyone and is celebrated at different times of the year depending on demographics, traditions and history.
Many American families celebrate their freedom on Juneteenth, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S.. Pride also happens in the month of June and celebrates LGBTQ freedom.
From a global perspective, nearly every democratic country commemorates a day of freedom. Whether it’s Liberation Day in Italy or Independence Day in India, people around the world gather with their families and friends to honor the anniversary of historical events that brought them closer to being free.
So why only celebrate freedom on the 4th of July?
Inclusion matters in email
A recent study showed that 51% of consumers prefer to buy and work with brands that share similar values. As advances in marketing lead to more personalization, your audience comes to expect a more personal connection. Communicating values through email is essential to your business because…
Quality marketing requires strong context.
Every audience member approaches your content with their own history, culture and traditions. Learning about the communities you serve will help you understand which celebrations matter to your audience and allow you to reach them in a more meaningful way.
Customers pay attention when they feel cared for and appreciated.
Representation makes an impact and leaves a lasting impression. Jen Capstraw, President and Co-Founder of Women of Email mentions the importance of DEI in her interview with Joi Brooks of Email and Coffee: “Conversations [about diversity in email] are scary to have–but talking about this helps people feel seen and heard.”
It’s the right thing to do.
Taking strong stances and having difficult conversations regarding diversity and inclusion can seem intimidating, but supporting causes you care about allows for purposeful growth long term. Inclusive marketing isn’t a trend. It’s a much-needed step towards more human communication and part of the organic fabric of marketing communications.
Does that mean I can’t send a 4th of July email?
You can definitely send that email. The objective is not to replace your 4th of July email with other freedom celebration emails. Rather, the goal is to evaluate who you might be leaving out if the 4th of July is the only freedom celebration on your radar.
We’re not telling you to celebrate everything, either. Even if you had the bandwidth to send an email for every single holiday, it doesn’t mean you should. Avoid empty marketing by developing an intentional content calendar and developing trust with your customer base.
How to choose which holidays to celebrate
Ask your team.
Reach out to team members to understand what inclusivity means to them. Where can your business make changes so your team, their experiences and backgrounds, can be recognized and celebrated?
As a marketer, you strive to give your audience accurate representation and resources to allow everyone to be accounted for. Asking your team internally before turning this question over to the customers will give early insight on what improvements need to be made. Generating internal awareness will also allow for a more genuine approach to solve problems when looking at your customer base.
Ask your customers.
People want to buy from brands that accurately represent them, so it is important to learn from real customers. Get in touch with your customers to see what would make them feel more represented. What can your business do to bridge the empathy gap with your customers? Is your business accurately and consistently meeting their needs? What are their expectations for support?
Gain insights by surveying your customer base and engaging more on the day to day. Offer surveys, polls, or questionnaires to accurately assess the changes that need to occur to genuinely improve.
Look at the data.
Do the research to better understand your customer demographic. What perspectives are you missing? Look at socioeconomic status, accessibility needs, sexual orientation, and cultural backgrounds. What experiences within your customer base are you currently not accounting for?
In order for your business to represent the entirety of your customer base, gather information to find gaps. This is an ongoing process and should be revisited periodically.
Creating meaning through marketing
Equity in marketing is a reflection of what we care about as people. Now that you have more information on how to be more intentional with your marketing choices, you can begin to transform your content calendars to include more celebrations of freedom other than just the common holidays including those 4th of July messages.
As businesses, we hold responsibility to communicate better with all customers, but most importantly to respect them. Providing your customers with thoughtful representation offers that connection. It’s a daily practice of making mindful choices that align with your brand. This will pave the way to more meaningful marketing.
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