Diversity in marketing has become a prime focus for businesses for many reasons. But as much as companies are motivated to add diversity and build an inclusive organizational culture, many are still missing the mark on why it’s so important.
Business leaders have the goal of serving customers, increasing shareholder value, and creating a great culture for people to work in. The marketing department is a big part of any enterprise’s growth machine and is also a big part of mitigating downside business risk. You need a diverse marketing team because your clients and customers are diverse, and you want your team to be representative of the individuals you are trying to reach. Therefore, if you want your marketing team to understand how to reach all audiences, you want a department that resembles the universe you are marketing to.
Additionally, according to McKinsey’s study on the link between diversity and company financial performance, gender, and ethnic diversity, they are positively correlated with higher profitability. Companies with the most ethnically diverse teams are 33 percent more likely to outperform industry peers on profitability and those with gender diversity on executive teams have a 21 percent likelihood of performing above their peers.
Therefore, if you are a company that has struggled to reach your audiences, now is the time to reevaluate your diversity recruitment process. When you include and focus on a diverse group of candidates for every open role while hiring the best candidates, you will ultimately end up with a diverse high performing marketing team that is representative of your customers. Knowing why diversity matters in your organization is fundamentally the first step. Here are some of the top companies that have made it a priority to ensure diversity within their recruitment process:
How Top Companies Have Implemented Diversity Into Their Recruitment Process:
HP sent a letter to its creative talent agencies demanding better diversity in key creative and strategy roles among its incumbent agencies, saying that “anything was on the table” as a response for partners that couldn’t meet the standards.
“HP thrives on innovation,” wrote Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio. “Study after study confirms that innovation is improved and accelerated by broad perspectives and diversity of thought. Marketers are expected to have deep understanding and insight about their markets, about decision-makers, and about customers.”
The cereal maker created a set of guidelines required for an agency to be eligible to make a pitch for its US advertising business.
The requirements mandated that the agencies’ creative departments be at least 50% women and 20% people of color
The move is part of the brand’s strategy to improve customer experience and better connect with its audience. As Anne Simonds, the brand’s CMO said: “If you are going to put people you serve first, the most important thing is to live up to it and make it a key criterion.”
Verizon called upon its agencies to report the current state of their workforce diversity and share what action plans they were putting in place to improve those metrics in their recruitment for marketing positions.
Pushing agency partners to improve diversity reinforces and reflects the company’s own culture of diversity and innovation.
In the words of CMO Diego Scott: “Our purpose-driven culture gives everyone at Verizon a seat at the table to ideate and work together to solve the world’s biggest challenges. That’s why I’m reaching out to you today to ask that your company make an important commitment to drastically improve the percentage of women and people of color in leadership roles and continue to support our diverse supplier community by awarding more subcontracting work to diverse businesses.”
What To Consider If You Are Partnering With A Marketing Recruitment Team:
Once you understand why diversity matters, the next step is to operationalize the best practices in your recruiting processes. The reality is improving the equality of opportunities and diversity of backgrounds in a business is imperative for your overall business growth. Therefore, if you have had trouble in the past when it comes to diversity recruiting, consider turning to a marketing recruitment firm that specializes in it. They will be able to use their knowledge of the different types of recruitment methods to effectively and efficiently find candidates who will meet your expectations.
However, not all recruiters are created equal. It’s entirely appropriate to ask your external and insourced agency partners for a report of their workforce breakdown like Verizon did. Like HP, you can also pressure them to adopt hiring policies to improve diversity among parts or all of their organization. And like General Mills, you can require all bidders for your
future business to meet minimum diversity standards. Putting standards on your agencies is one of the most obvious places to start enforcing diversity initiatives outside of your employees.
Gender and racially diverse teams perform better, innovate more, and improve economic quality.
To make things simpler, finding a marketing executive search firm that implements diversity within every search will ensure you get the results you are looking for. As an example, MarketPro was founded by Melissa Van Rossum. She believed she was hitting a glass ceiling due to her gender. This motivated her to start MarketPro in 1996. With her first search she
had a policy to have at least one female and one diverse candidate included in every candidate slate or shortlist. It is a best practice we still adhere to today.
Ahead of her time, her goal was to help companies achieve a strong, diverse workforce by making sure top talent was selected upon abilities regardless of gender, race, culture or ethnicity. This mission carries on into every search and client that we do business with.
The potential benefits of improved business performance and top line growth are worth the time and efforts spent on identifying and recruiting top diverse marketing talent. Whether it’s a marketing executive search or a contract role you’re looking to fill, make sure your marketing recruiting agency will always strive to provide you with a diverse slate of professionals. In doing so, you will end up with a balanced team that adds valuable perspectives to your organization.