If you manage a marketing team, you’ve probably observed a growing push towards international relevance and exposure in the industry. Whether intentionally or just because the world is more connected than ever before and makes it more possible for people around the world to engage with your brand, it is much more commonplace that marketing teams need the skills and know-how to interact with international audiences. This can pose a challenge for mono-ethnic teams or teams that do not contain high levels of diversity.

For this reason, marketing teams that include more diversity within their ranks are better positioned and equipped to perform well in an increasingly connected world. If you have decision-making power over how your organization’s marketing team is selected, making team diversity a priority can be highly beneficial for your team and for your marketing performance.

Types of Diversity

Diversity can often be incorrectly reduced to a handful of buzzwords or labels. In actuality, diversity encompasses a huge number of different lenses and dimensions. Demographic components can be a common method of assessing diversity within a group of individuals, but other aspects of personal and professional experiences, abilities, and natures can create entirely different ways of thinking about diversity as well.

Demographics that are commonly considered when looking at diversity within groups include sex and gender, race, age, nationality, ability, level of education, and more. However, many more exist and can be applied depending on the needs of the assessor. These could range from veteran status to religion, language(s) spoken, marital status, previous work experience, geographic location, and even personality traits. Each of these lenses can help you better understand first the individual and, then corporately, the makeup of a group or team.

How Diverse Teams Can Foster International Connections

By having a diverse team, you can benefit your marketing performance as a whole. There are several reasons for this, but one major advantage includes a higher capacity for engaging well with a wider range of demographics. That can be especially beneficial when your brand is marketing to an international audience.

Ethnic diversity within your team can obviously contribute to this – however, even if your team doesn’t necessarily include an ethnically diverse lineup, diversity across other spheres creates greater variance in thought and propensity for problem-solving. This can contribute to an overall increase in creativity, adaptability, and innovation in your marketing performance.

These traits are imperative because international audiences can be a challenge to reach. Different cultures around the world operate drastically differently from each other. This includes the way different cultures understand expected behavioral norms, ethical constructs, symbols, and ways of using language or advertising. When your marketing team includes people with varied ways of seeing the world, you’re more likely as a group to achieve a better understanding of how your own culture may vary from those you’re trying to reach, and how to tailor your messaging for other audiences.

When your team includes ethnically or nationally diverse members, it also contains more personal connections to a variety of cultures. This can prove an additional potential perk for creating international connections. When trying to establish larger international presences, poll your team and you might be surprised how many personal experiences or professional connections they may have with those audiences.

Both can be incredibly helpful for your marketing team and create new opportunities for you to gain exposure, get help evaluating how an ad or piece of copy might sit with local audiences, and more.

Building for Diversity Maximization

Has your team ever completed a diversity assessment? If not, that is a great place to start when initiating action steps concerning diversity. If your team currently doesn’t contain a high diversity quotient across many demographics, you could benefit from installing a diversity recruitment strategy.

Once you’ve determined that you would like to increase your team diversity, the process needs to begin by securing a more diverse pool of applicants for your next job openings. Successfully recruiting diverse team members first requires assessing your status quo. Current processes and hiring history have resulted in the team makeup that you have today. To attract a more diverse team, what might you have to change?

Think about posting job opportunities in different places than you normally do in order to interest people you might not have accessed in the past. Look for job boards that cater to specific demographics that aren’t yet represented in your team. Work with recruiting agencies or job placement services that might have access to a more diverse group of individuals.

Look at your job advertisements and think about how the copy might appeal to some demographics more than others. What types of individuals would read your job advert and know it applies to them? What individuals would read it and think it applied to someone else or wouldn’t assume they’d fit in your team or organization?

Many teams that are interested in increasing their representation try to change their hiring techniques and assume that will create the diversity they’re looking for. However, to achieve long-term success, an effective diversity strategy needs to touch more than onboarding new team members.

Your team culture as a whole needs to make room for a diverse spectrum of individuals to all feel safe, included, and valued. This means that diversity has to become an embedded value within not just written policy, but the ways the members of your team interact with each other.

This requires modeling inclusive behavior from leadership, making space for open communication, asking for feedback, and implementing a zero-tolerance policy for bigotry, exclusion, and prejudice. Instituting these steps makes it possible for diverse individuals to not only get jobs within your team, but feel welcome and want to stay.

Developing a diverse marketing team takes intentionality, time and effort. However, it can hugely benefit your reach, effectiveness, and performance and create a wealth of opportunities for your team, your brand, and your organization.