Does the world really need another marketing book? If it’s any consolation I didn’t really set out to write one, and yet ‘Inclusive Marketing’ by Jerry Daykin is available in some good bookstores as of this week.

I’ve been vocally passionate about diversity, inclusion and representation in marketing for years now. Whilst privileged in very many ways, as a gay man I have a sense of what it’s like to be othered, left out by mainstream culture & communications, and to rarely see people like myself represented.

Every industry has a responsibility to be inclusive but perhaps in marketing more than any other it is literally our job to be so - to better understand the broad range of consumers we could be serving and persuade more of them to choose us over the competition. We’re also an industry with a powerful influence over society and culture, both in terms of the adverts and products we produce but even more broadly in terms of the wider media ecosystem we fund and support.

In reality our industry has historically not been great at this. From the absolute basics of how we’ve chosen to stereotype different genders over the years, through to the widespread exclusion of many minority groups not just from our communications, but even from our strategies and thinking. I think most of us, including hopefully you reader, have come to realise we can and should do better, and that doing so would have both societal and business benefits. The question then becomes not ‘why?’ but ‘how?’.

Jerry's book is must-read for all brand marketers

A couple of years ago a group of us got together globally to form the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) Diversity Task Force. Like minded people from across industries and around the globe working on different projects to try and make our industry and its output more inclusive. Rather than reinventing the wheel we tried to curate, share and build on best practice that was already emerging.

A consistent theme we found throughout was that best intentions often get lost somewhere along the marketing process, and that it takes real conscious empathy and sense checking at every stage to get out of our own bubbles and see the opportunities that come from more inclusive thinking. 

Questions are great but I wanted to start finding out more of the answers, and so somewhat naively I agreed to a publisher’s approach to write a book that went into more detail on the subject. Pretty early on I realised not only that I didn’t have all the answers, but also that no one ever could - an inclusive approach to marketing by definition needs to be inclusive of different perspectives, experiences and ideas.

That’s why the book I’ve ended up writing isn’t just my monologue on the subject but a series of more than 20 interviews with intersectional marketers from global brands, agencies, consultancies, and a few outspoken activists I tracked down on Twitter. The book not only replays the conversations I had with them but then also takes you practically through the marketing process framework and tries to bring to life some of the best practice & experiences they shared.

There’s Mark Ritson’s experience doing ethnographic research of the San Francisco LGBT+ community, Christina Mallon, (who leads Microsoft’s Inclusive Design approach), talking about her own experiences of working in our industry with a disability, and deep dive expertise from specialists that have got into the weeds of making production, media & every stage of the process more inclusive.

It’ll still leave you with a lot of questions to answer, because the heart of inclusive marketing is empathy, openness and being willing to ask yourself more sense checking questions as you go through your process. It’s made an awful lot easier of course if you surround yourself with a range of different experiences & perspectives and ensure you remain open to hearing from them.

So, if you’re a marketer or someone who occasionally reads books then I might suggest that yes, actually perhaps one more wouldn’t hurt - and get it whilst it’s hot, because hopefully in just a few years time we’ll have normalised this thinking so much that we can safely put the book out of print.

“Inclusive Marketing: Why Representation Matters to your Customer and your Brand” is available now direct from the publisher Kogan Page, on Amazon or wherever good business books are sold.

Jerry will be writing a column for MAD//Insight regularly throughout the year.