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May 30, 2023

The importance of diversity in advertising

Dayna Lang
Author Dayna Lang

Diversity in advertising – it can feel like an untouchable topic. Nobody wants to get it wrong and disconnect from their audience. But not doing anything to improve diversity in your advertising can be just as detrimental. Multicultural and diverse marketing strategies can be vital in reaching certain communities and by connecting with those audiences, brands can expand their reach and gain much-needed, loyal customers. 

Diverse communities are growing in North America and these groups of people have enormous spending power. When misrepresented, or ignored entirely, these groups are less likely to spend their money – especially in a competitive market where they feel heard and seen elsewhere. By investing in these communities and creating relatable, targeted content, marketers can establish themselves or maintain their positions as decision makers in the industry. 


North America’s growing diversity 

The demographic makeup of North America has been changing for decades and now faster than ever. This means reevaluating audiences, conducting more thorough research, and representing a more diverse customer base. 

According to a recent study by Direct Digital Holdings, in the USA “Hispanic and Latin populations increased to 62.1 million in 2020.” This is a 23% increase from 2010. Also, Latinx populations are growing at a higher rate in the US than other demographics, which averaged a 4.4% rate of growth. 

The same study also shows Black populations make up the second-largest population in the country and that in 2020 the API (asian and pacific islander) population had grown to 20.6 million. Additionally, LGBTQIA+  people now make up 7.1% of the population. 

There is also a growing awareness of neurodiversity and barriers faced by those with disabilities – with people with disabilities representing the fastest growing minority in the US. 

These are large portions of the population and represent huge buying power. 


Diversity in advertising’s current state

Diversity is not as great as it could be in advertising. While there is certainly a growing number of companies speaking to multicultural, multi-able audiences, this number isn’t representative of the opportunity available. 

A good example of this missed opportunity is the Super Bowl. In 2023, there was a glaring, noticeable lack of diversity in Super Bowl ads during the most recent broadcast. In the entire line up, there was only one Black director and only four female directors of ads during this year’s big game. This begs the questions, why aren’t more brands working to reach these sub-sects of their audience? 


Benefits of multicultural marketing

The persistence of poor diversity in advertising (both in the voices crafting it, and those appearing in it) represents substantial opportunity. Since so many brands continue to neglect multicultural segments of their potential customer base, brands that do actively speak to these groups are more likely to gain a loyal, and spend-ready audience.

Spending time and money on multicultural marketing and diversity in advertising can be an excellent way to take advantage of this opportunity, improve diversity in advertising, and put your company ahead. While one-off displays of diversity in campaign materials are a great start, to take full advantage of a journey marketing strategy, brands need a journey’s worth of relevant content to present to potential consumers.  


Multicultural marketing

Multicultural marketing refers to the practice of creating unique journeys, ads, and communications for different, diverse, groups of people. This lets advertisers better target these audiences and speak to customers in the way that they best understand. This has an advantage over diversity marketing. Diversity marketing is when marketers take differences like age, religion, gender, disability, ethnicity, sexual preferences, or identity into account when writing and casting ads, whereas multicultural marketing and diversity in advertising allow advertisers to more directly relate to all of their potential customers. You can learn more about this in: Multicultural Marketing: A Marketer’s Guide.


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