Diversity makes for good business

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Diversity makes for good business

I recently ran across this 2008 article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that compared two marketing campaigns in a nice example of how the lack of broad or diverse perspectives can really cost a company!

“Diversity is not merely an exercise of identifying target demographics…Rather, it is a matter of truly understanding the audiences for one’s offerings.” (Dana Chryst, chief executive officer, Jay Group)

It is surprising how many products or services reach the marketplace without certain kinds of research being conducted about the implications of words and phrases in other languages, about diverse cultural customs, or about the possibility of changed connotations once you “go global,” as many organizations want to do.

In our age of seemingly instant and boundless information, it is important to nonetheless continue to do outreach and get to know your markets because they may surprise you– for example, the city of Philadelphia discovered some interesting things about a “typical” gay visitor to the city that year when they commissioned a study:  “the typical gay visitor is in a committed relationship, has a household income above $75,000 a year, and would spend between $300 and $500 during a two-night trip to the city.” (This demographic bears further scrutiny and discussion…)

The city recognized that they could lose big bucks if they didn’t keep this typical visitor in mind when designing tourist campaigns, given that

The gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered communities are powerful markets… GLBT people have some $660 billion in disposable income, with 76 percent of them earning more than the national average of $40,000 a year.

There are lessons to be learned here about doing our homework rather than assuming we know who or what are markets really are– and all sorts of people are proving that D&I strategies make for good business.

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