We talk a lot about ‘inclusion marketing’ in our blogs and social media, and the reason is simple: no matter your race, religion, orientation or gender, EVERYONE is a consumer! We all have to shop for food clothes, cars, insurance, etc., and we all want to feel good about the hard earned money we spend with a brand for their services.

Consumers know they can ‘speak with their wallets’. They want to know what the values are of the companies they do business with, and countless studies have shown consumers will spend more to stay with a brand who supports their values.

June was “Pride Month”, and CIO of Inspired Marketing, Jill Monson-Bishop and her wife Jennifer went to the Pride March in New York City for the first time. The occupational hazard of going anywhere with Jill is she notices and evaluates every bit of marketing, good and bad!

“Besides the amazing positive energy and community spirit at Pride, I was wowed by the number of brands who creatively embraced the theme of the event,” said Jill. “Some brands put a lot of effort into branding specifically for Pride’s community, while other brands seemed to avoid the theme and simply be there in a show of support.”

There have been many controversies in the recent past where leaders of companies or business owners have been outspoken for or against gay marriage or gay equality. While everyone is entitled to their opinions, businesses run the risk of alienating large groups of consumers and ultimately, profits.

Inclusion marketing has continued to grow in recent years, with brands airing ads featuring inter-racial couples, gay couples, as well as the plight of immigrants – all hot topics in our country, and across the world. These businesses used creativity and thoughtfulness to promote their values, even if that meant ruffling a few feathers.

Inclusion is about making people feel included and accepted, and since we are ALL consumers, it’s worth evaluating your marketing to see who you might be ignoring. Take a step back and think about your target audience, then think about who you might be missing. Being inclusive with your advertising can motivate customers, elevate you above your competition, and create immense brand loyalty.

Engage your customers and include them in your advertising and marketing. Making your customers feel valued is as old as marketing itself!