Why Marketing to Diverse Communities Matters
Marketing and Community Relations are the processes that an organization uses to connect with its various constituents such as clients,volunteers, donors, community partners, and peers.
• The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and managing
customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.”
• Community relations are your interactions with the community in which your organization operates. Community relations emphasize
fostering trust through interactions.
Marketing and community relations strategies, such as publications, web sites, events, and media relations, influence attitudes and encourage people to take certain actions.
For example, you may want to encourage prospective donors to give to your organization or encourage potential clients to access your services. Marketing efforts are most effective in motivating these actions when you develop them with the interests and needs of prospective audiences in mind.
Inclusive organizations understand that marketing and community relations efforts which build and foster connections with diverse
communities result in greater success in achieving the organization’s goals.
As your organization becomes more inclusive, you will need to spend time creating intentional methods for communicating with new and expanded audiences and tailor your activities to match the needs of these audiences. Corporations have long understood the power of marketing directly to communities of color. Fortune 500 companies such as Kodak, IBM, and Microsoft have divisions dedicated to such efforts.
In 1997, Continental Airlines launched a “Latinization Initiative” to increase the company’s attention to language and culture in Latin markets. They conducted market research regarding how their customers in the U.S. and abroad respond to different styles of customer service, and learned that customers prefer to receive culturally appropriate services. Since Continental began the Initiative, its revenues have increased ten-fold.
Many nonprofit organizations have also found that it is critical to develop marketing efforts that understand the needs of specific audiences.
The American Zoo Association (AZA), through its Diversity Special Committee, has developed numerous strategies for reaching out to increasingly diverse audiences. Strategies include training programs on communications and cultural differences, multilingual brochures and signage, and partnerships with multicultural media sources. The AZA believes that these efforts are critical to building relationships with the zoo visitors and supporters of the future.