If you’ve been in the professional world for more than a day or two, you already know this term well. You’ve encountered it in corporate training sessions, read about it on the news, and maybe even attended an AMA event or two on the subject.

As marketers, we’re notably positioned to recognize and promote the importance of DEI. We’re mediators who understand the voice of our consumers and the voice of the companies we work for (and with). It’s an important role and a big responsibility. 

These are sometimes tough discussions — rightly so, as the ones worth having usually are. Here are five fundamentals to keep in mind as you navigate, introduce, and reinforce good DEI practices.


Your audience may be more diverse than you think. Communication is critical.

You may feel like you’ve got a good grasp on your target audience. But people and practices change. Everything from what to how we’re communicating is fluid, especially when a single social media post can create a tidal wave of conversation. Your audience is more diverse now than ever before. And if they don’t see themselves reflected in the brands they interact with, your brand’s reputation could be on the line.


DEI isn’t a checklist item. Avoid stereotypes.

If you haven’t already, put your immediate focus on research. Lots of it. Brands (should) already place a lot of value in knowing their audiences — all we’re doing is adding more context and information. The work will pay dividends, resulting in richer insights and better work. More importantly, it’ll be easier to avoid unintentional stereotypes and language that alienates people from your company.


Build trust at every touchpoint.

Customers are more likely to trust and buy from brands that prioritize DEI in their marketing. When you demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, it sends a powerful message that you care about your customers’ motivations and experiences. Over time, it all adds up. Customers — and potential customers — who share those same values can start to trust your brand in a deeper way than they could before.


Diverse perspectives make better ideas.

Many of the most creative, effective marketing efforts came from people who thought about things differently than the general crowd. When you introduce people with diverse backgrounds, traditions, thoughts, and experiences, you’re opening up the door for more innovative ideas. Unique insights lead to marketing campaigns that are more effective and engaging to your audiences.


Corporate social responsibility goals are more than a badge.

As companies become more socially responsible, we’ve seen DEI become an essential part of the discussion. Which is good — but it’s important to note that when we talk about the strides our companies are making in this space, the conversation should sound self-serving. Remember the purpose of DEI in the first place: it’s about the people. Be authentic about everything. The triumphs, the struggles, the people themselves.

Buzzwords come and go, but good causes and practices have proven themselves to stand the test of time regardless. Put in the work to understand your employees, your coworkers, your customers, and your communities. The results will pay dividends in more ways than one.