Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Your Everpresent Marketing and Business Approach

Small businesses are an essential staple of the US economy. They are the risk-takers, the innovators, and the job creators. And, as we all know, running a small business is no small task. So it’s no surprise that many small business owners don’t have the time or resources to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their marketing. But the truth is, DEI should be a top priority for all businesses and not just large corporations. Why? Because DEI is good for business.

Studies have shown that companies with diverse teams outperform their counterparts by 35%. Companies with inclusive cultures are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market, and customers want to do business with companies that share their values. So how can small businesses contribute to DEI in their marketing? Here are a few key ways:

First, A Quick DEI Primer

DEI is an abbreviation for diversity, equity, and inclusion. The term is often used to describe the goal of creating an environment that is welcoming and inclusive for all people, regardless of their background or identity. In order to achieve DEI, businesses must take active steps to promote diversity, ensure equity, and foster inclusion. This can include everything from hiring a more diverse workforce to implementing policies that protect against discrimination to ingraining DEI into every aspect of marketing.

A New Business Must-Have

If you’re about to open a business, congratulations! New businesses have the advantage of building DEI into their models from the start. You don’t have to start from scratch the same way established companies do. Instead, you can make DEI a priority from the beginning. Consider it due diligence in the same respect that you would follow all the necessary steps to start an LLC. Just like you have to choose your name, apply for an EIN and create an operating agreement, so too should you plot out your course in developing an achievable DEI model for your business and marketing.

What Is DEI in Marketing?

A key component of DEI is understanding that people have different perspectives and experiences and that these should be respected. Inclusive marketing allows businesses to reach a wider range of consumers and can help to create a more positive image for the company. Done well, DEI can result in increased sales and brand loyalty. Done poorly, it can cause confusion, frustration, and even anger. As such, it is crucial that marketers take the time to understand DEI and how it can be applied to their work.

How to Incorporate DEI Into Marketing

Your website and marketing materials are often the first things potential customers will see, so it’s important to make sure they accurately reflect the values of your company. Here are a few things to keep in mind when incorporating DEI into your content:

  • Make sure your images are representative of the diversity of your customer base. If you’re targeting millennials, for example, use images that feature people of all ages, races, genders, and abilities.
  • Avoid using design elements that could be perceived as racist, sexist, or offensive in any way. This includes avoiding the use of stereotypes, caricatures, or anything else that could be seen as insensitive.
  • Graphic designers who are aware of DEI principles often create more successful designs. For example, a designer who understands the need for racial diversity may create graphics that are more appealing to a wider range of people. Similarly, a designer who is aware of gender equity may create designs that are less likely to perpetuate stereotypes. And a designer who understands the importance of inclusion may be more likely to create designs that are accessible to everyone.

Create Fair Access to Content and Products

When creating content (whether it’s blog posts, social media posts, email newsletters, etc.), be mindful of who you’re writing for and what interests them. Write about topics that are relevant to your target audience and make sure your language is inclusive and welcoming to everyone. In terms of product development, consider the needs of all potential customers, not just those in your target demographic.

Research: How Companies Committed to Diverse Hiring Still Fail

“Even if your company is committed to diversity inclusion, you might have hidden biases in your hiring strategies. According to recent research on the hiring practices at several prestigious firms, this can take several forms. For example, you might view unpaid internships more favorably than other types of summer jobs, which introduces socioeconomic bias. And you might think that minority and female candidates are less likely to accept a job if offered because so many other firms are also interested in hiring them (something, incidentally, the research doesn’t bear out); because of this, you might be less likely to pursue those candidates. So, if you’re truly committed to diversifying your organization, take a hard look at your hiring processes and face up the fact that they might not be as effective in practice as they are in intention.”

Build a Diverse Team

You can only truly create inclusive content when you have a diverse team working on it, and this should include people with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. A diverse team not only helps ensure your content is sensitive and relatable to a wide range of people but also brings new ideas and fresh perspectives to the table that you may not have considered otherwise.

As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, it is more important than ever to make sure that our marketing and business practices reflect the diversity of our global community. By incorporating DEI into our marketing and business plans, we can ensure that we are reaching a wide range of consumers and making everyone feel welcome and included.

If you’re ready to incorporate DEI into the graphic design aspect of your business, reach out to DMS Graphics for help with everything from your website to your business cards.


Article by Gloria Martinez
Founder, Womenled.org