Defining what Inclusion Based Marketing is Skip to the content

Defining what Inclusion Based Marketing is

In this post I want to discuss inclusion based marketing. The idea of inclusion based marketing is always on my mind because it is so vital to a successful LGBT outreach plan. In my book I spent quite a bit of time explaining what this is and why it is important. In episode 11 of my podcast I spent time elaborating on this concept as well. I addressed diversity and inclusion and how those two play together in marketing efforts, so if you are an audio person I encourage you to go listen to that episode.

Diversity and inclusion are very similar, but I also feel very different. They must work in tandem together. Diversity really defines diverse populations such as race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability, nationality, language, religion, and socio-economic status, etc. These are all forms of diversity which could be the basis of a marketing campaign. Your target market could be based off of any one of the diversities mentioned above.

Inclusion on the other hand is really the act of intentionally engaging with a diverse group of people or communities. So while having a diverse population is generally a positive thing, it is not an automatic benefit without an effort to be inclusive. Inclusion at its core is about making people feel included into a pre-existing group or structure. Diversity by its nature almost singles out a group because they are diverse.

Many companies and businesses have been or are currently marketing their products to diverse communities based on segmenting their audience. They will break down their target markets and have a well crafted effort to reach out to a broad diverse community. For example, a company may be marketing to the LGBT community and have separate ad campaigns for their LGBT audience which can be seen in LGBT specific media. This could be the case for any diverse group they are marketing to. There is nothing wrong with this strategy per se.

The current trends are pointing to inclusion based marketing and advertising. So rather than isolate a specific audience like LGBT folks, companies are starting to include LGBT couples in their mainstream advertising. Kaiser Permanente was a trailblazer of this trend. In 2011, GLAAD recognized them for “Outstanding Print Campaign – Mainstream Market.” Click here to see the ad. This ad really demonstrates inclusion on so many levels and it ran in mainstream publications.

In recent years, Amazon Kindle showed their support for same sex marriage in a big way. They have a wonderful ad that really shows an LGBT couple being a total non-issue. Watch the commercial below.


The beauty of this commercial is that it really demonstrates inclusion. They could have put an ad together that only showed an LGBT couple and one that only showed a straight couple. But rather, they put both audiences in one and didn’t make a big deal about it. This is what makes this commercial a favorite of mine. The ad can also be seen airing on many mainstream channels, not just isolated to the confines of LGBT specific programming and media.

What are you doing for your LGBT marketing? Or what is the company you work for doing? Are you focused on being inclusive? If so, tell me in the comments below!

About Jenn T. Grace

Jenn T. Grace (she/her/hers) is an award-winning author and founder and CEO of Publish Your Purpose (PYP), the acclaimed hybrid publisher of non-fiction books. Jenn has published 100+ books written by thought leaders, visionaries, and entrepreneurs who are striving to make a difference. Jenn T. Grace’s work elevates and amplifies the voices of others—especially marginalized groups who are regularly excluded from traditional publishing.

2 comments to " Defining what Inclusion Based Marketing is "

  • Great post, and as a D&I expert and part of the LGBT communities, I like what you’re up to – but I beg to differ on two points:

    1. Diversity and inclusion are not similar. They are very different. Diversity is a fact – it means difference, and it’s a fact. Inclusion is a feeling; it’s a way of being. It’s also a verb. We have to take action for it to happen.

    2. True inclusion is NOT about making people feel included into a pre-existing structure. True inclusion is open to changing the structure. Otherwise you are just, again, trying to get people who are different to act the same – which misses the whole point of diversity (as you point out).

    • Jenn T. Grace

      Hi Annemarie – thank you SO much for taking a moment to comment on this blog post. I completely agree with both of your points. I am not a D&I expert, but know many amazing people such as yourself are. When I originally wrote this post it was through a different lens – it looks like I need to do some updating. 🙂 Honestly, thank you for taking the time to comment here. Keep doing what you are doing! – Jenn

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