Intersectional gender parity within the tech industry has not been a priority, not with how business leaders are operating today. According to the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Report, 2018, we still have 108 years until we will close the global gender gap. 108 years. That is unacceptable. 108 years means that those born in 2019 will not see parity in their lifetimes. Businesses have a responsibility to change this and make an impact sooner. At AnitaB.org, we have a better goal: 50/50 intersectional gender equity in tech by 2025.
While this directive needs to come from the CEO, it is every team’s responsibility to put it into practice. It will take fundamental changes across the entire organization – including Marketing. To hold themselves accountable, Marketing leaders should look to create a playbook. A resource that sets standards and is shared across the organization, making it front, and center for folks in all marketing activities.
For those that still need to create their playbook, here are some focuses that should be included in order to put diversity, equity and inclusion first:
Build Diverse Marketing Teams
Women make up 50 percent of the total US population. This is a huge market segment for businesses across industries. In order to communicate and engage with this audience, Marketing teams must be made up of members who understand them. In the same way, you should not be taking the exclusive words of Baby Boomers on how to engage with Millennials, the same can be said for not including women and while gender is important so is ethnicity, race, national origin, age, ability, educational background, and other social constructs.
These voices need to be represented at the table and within Marketing meetings. The goal of a Marketing lead is to fill their team with the right voices that will help guide initiatives for the betterment of the company. When your team lacks the representation of a specific audience voice, you risk having tone-deaf marketing fails such as Heineken’s “lighter is better” ad or Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad. Diverse teams not only keep each other in check, they foster creativity and bring the best, most inclusive ideas to the audience that matters the most: your customers.
Accountability by Association
At AnitaB.org know we aim to be a resource for women technologists and those companies that hire them, so we are always evaluating who we associate with to make sure they align with our audience. In Marketing, we are constantly evaluating the effect of our activities on our brand: the image of the company, how we come across in our campaigns, who we select to represent us both on stage and behind the scenes via sponsorships, and more. All of this affects our brand and how our target audience perceives us as a company.
Marketing executives need to be engrained in decisions on partnerships, events the company attends, charities they donate to in order to ensure the integrity of the brand values is protected. This takes diligence in application and engagement. Recently at AnitaB.org we have been going through our own evaluation of our brand, and our associations. In working on setting up company guidelines and focuses for brand representation we will be able to more easily identify when we are not living the brand values and meeting our goal for diversity, equity and inclusion.
The Marketing Playbook
The Marketing Playbook as an important tool in this process. Components include items outlined above but should also include guides for everything the Marketing team touches. In smaller organizations, this can just focus on guidelines for the small team of Marketing individuals to follow. At larger organizations, this should include focuses on advertising, public relations, event management, product messaging and more. In defining what you want your company to become, you can identify opportunities for growth.
Becoming a diverse and inclusive marketing organization doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time. Having a plan in place pushes not only the Marketing team but the entire company forward to close the gender gap faster. For AnitaB.org, the goal is 50/50 intersectional gender parity in tech by 2025. It is an ambitious goal, but when everyone is intentional in their actions, progress can be made.