“Every day we learn more and more about the importance of representation in products and experiences,” said Kelly Kimry, Principal Market Researcher at Microsoft, in her presentation at SMX Next. Holistic marketing helps your brand connect authentically with customers for leadership, love, loyalty, and trust.
While many companies once considered inclusivity an optional addition to their marketing campaigns, it has become clear that customers want it at the center of brand interactions. And for good reason – adopting holistic marketing practices helps brands reach those who have left them behind.
“Mass marketing invites underrepresented and marginalized people to experience and authentically connect with your brand,” Kimry said. “It elevates diverse voices and stories, questions assumptions and biases and avoids stereotypes.”
She says inclusion is a “modern marketing imperative,” and brands that fail to embrace inclusive marketing will find themselves left behind as these trends continue. Here are four actions Kemery recommends marketers take to instill holistic practices into their campaigns.
Paying intent to purchase through blanket ads
Kimry cited some of the tests it has conducted to determine whether blanket ads increase purchase intent. Through this research, her team discovered how much intent is directly driven by cross-cutting elements.
“The first ad felt like my home in a casual show, and the recognizable model in the ad was considered very elegant,” Kimiri said. “The second ad was attractive because it seemed real. Individuals felt connected as a family. But most importantly, people noticed how the ad showed diversity and when asked which ad was the most comprehensive, it was the clear winner.”
The Kemery team used these findings to develop holistic branding guidelines. But the marketing and advertising departments are encouraged to develop their frameworks to transform their campaigns.
Create a comprehensive keyword strategy
Comprehensiveness should apply to keywords used by brands as well. These are the terms that audiences – marginalized groups in particular – use to find brands they trust.
“Target potential customers based on their needs that relate to the keywords they use to meet their unique dimensions of diversity,” Kimry said. “For example, the LGBTQ community, when searching for a retailer source for any particular product or service, tends to use the phrase ‘gay-friendly’ as a modifier. This unique phrase can be used as a proxy to aid your efforts to personalize messages or services for that community.”
“As marketers, our job is to uncover these unique insights with diverse audiences and unique consumer decision making journeys,” she added.
Language-based signals are great at building audience trust, so it’s important to remember to add comprehensive terms to your keyword lists.
“These can be used natively in your ad copy, ad, or content to help convey inclusion,” Kimry said.
Develop a comprehensive picture strategy
“Authentic representation in advertising is important. The images you choose are important,” Kimry said. “In our research we discovered that there is a strong relationship between trust, love and loyalty. Once trust is established as a baseline, the brand can begin to build love and loyalty.
“To do that, the brand has to go the extra mile to make someone feel understood through inclusion, and that means authentic images,” she added.
Images are great at evoking emotion and instilling consumer confidence in your brand. Using inclusive images can double this trust factor, attracting a larger audience and building strong relationships with them.
“Choosing images is an important part of building meaningful and holistic customer experiences,” she said. “Overall brands not only want to reach people, they want people to see that the brand is built for them.”
Practice mass audience targeting
“Through your customer research to better understand your customers’ values and investigating overall keyword strategies, the goal is to uncover audiences that you may have overlooked,” Kemery said. “It is essential to understand audience insights from any of the platforms you are using.”
“You can use these insights to find ways to market original to unique audiences that increase their indexing of attributes such as community contribution ratings, and individuals who often look for brands that participate in their communities as well,” she added.
Building an audience through inclusive practices is a proactive task – marketers need to gain insights from a variety of platforms and markets to see which communities they’re neglecting. Expanding the campaign in this way shows these groups that your brand cares.
Kimry also highlighted the role holistic marketing plays in building long-term relationships with customers: “A responsible, values-based and holistic approach to marketing is not just about targeting niche segments, providing product value or policy components. It’s about building real relationships with people They celebrate diversity and the broad range of human experiences. The deliberate inclusion of a purpose woven throughout your brand experience evokes feelings of acceptance, contentment, trust, certainty, hope and security.”
New in search engine land