Your B2B enterprise is seeking growth, yet you may be ignoring a large, and fast-growing, part of the market. In the past, you used to be able to focus your marketing and communications solely on the traditional business owner and still find great success. However, the changing demographics in recent years don’t solely apply to individuals, but to the business landscape as a whole. By remaining focused on the historical majority, you inadvertently shrink your potential customer base.
There are more than 11 million minority-owned businesses in the US, nearly double the number of ten years ago. These businesses generate more than $1.8 trillion in revenue annually, and a Business Journal survey found that 40% of minority-owned businesses have seen sales growth of 11% or more during the past three years. Furthermore, there are 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the US, generating $1.8 trillion in annual revenue, and accounting for 40% of all privately held firms.
While there has been a shift in marketing to diverse audiences in the B2C space, not enough has been done to meet customers’ expectations of a more personalized marketing experience in B2B. Here are three ways to improve your enterprise’s B2B diversity marketing efforts.
Go beyond the surface
Diversity marketing cannot be limited to imagery. Simply adding people of color to your marketing materials won’t communicate the authenticity needed to build trust and brand loyalty among your diverse customer base. True diversity marketing needs to go beyond even explicit messaging that tie to a customer’s race, gender, sexual identity, etc. Yes, an African-American prospective customer may respond positively to your National Black History Month campaign, but how will you continue to effectively communicate with them throughout the year? How will you demonstrate your understanding of their unique business challenges, their preferences and methods in conducting business, their values? Take the time to perform continuous research, so that when you deploy inclusive imagery and messaging, you have substance to back up your claims of support.
Dedicate resources towards diversity marketing efforts
D&I is still often relegated to only an HR function at many companies. But the importance of diversity and inclusion needs to be defused throughout the various functions of a company, particularly in marketing and sales, since those are the functions that grow your revenues! In order to get your marketing and sales folks thinking through the lens of diversity and inclusion as it relates to your customers, there needs to be dedicated leadership that plans and executes the strategic vision to grow in this space. Some B2B companies have already taken this leadership step. AT&T has an executive position, the Vice President of Diverse Markets, devoted to these types of campaigns, and UPS has recently appointed a new position, the Vice President of Diversity Marketing to drive growth among diverse businesses.
Build diverse teams
It should go without saying that the teams responsible for these diversity marketing campaigns should be representative of the growing diverse customer base you intend to reach. A diverse team is critical for success because of what each member brings to the table: unique cultural insights, specific language skills, different networks, varied perspectives. Without this collaboration across various backgrounds and areas of expertise, you may make a misstep in your desire to reach to your diverse customers and be known as the next Lady Doritos.
If diversity businesses haven’t been a point of focus for your marketing and sales efforts, you’re missing on a segment of businesses that is outpacing the growth of the overall market. Minority- and women-owned businesses are focused on scaling, and it behooves you to get in as a partner on the ground floor.
About the Author
Sr. Marketing Analyst, UPS
Ximena Roth leads the Corporate Associations program under US Marketing at UPS, reaching small business customers to help them improve their customer experience, drive efficiency, and grow revenue. She currently lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and three children, and invites you to connect with her LinkedIn.
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