• Diverse marketing teams are vital
  • Diverse marketing teams are vital

    Marketing must remain diverse if its to reach new markets with new ideas

    On the surface diversity in technology marketing looks healthy. The number of women and those from ethnic backgrounds is far higher amongst technology marketing leaders than it is within the enterprise technology customer base. Technology marketing cannot rest on its laurels though, as there remain major challenges to diversity.  

    "I've learned that diversity in the workplace is an asset for both businesses and their employees, in its capacity to foster innovation, creativity and empathy in ways that homogeneous environments seldom do," said Vijay Eswaren, a CEO to the World Economic Forum.  "Yet it takes careful nurturing and conscious orchestration to unleash the true potential of this invaluable asset." 

    Fortunately, the business world is well aware of the importance of good diversity. With many sectors, including technology marketing, facing skills shortage, the understanding that women make up 50% of the world's population is helping to improve attitudes towards diversity even further. 

    "In this era of globalization, diversity in the business environment is about more than gender, race and ethnicity. It now includes employees with diverse religious and political beliefs, education, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientation, cultures and even disabilities. Companies are discovering that, by supporting and promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace, they are gaining benefits that go beyond the optics," Eswaren said.

    Technology marketing teams are focusing on improving diversity for good business reasons too. Business and technology analyst Dan Bieler of Forrester Research writes: "Diversity injects fresh ideas into a conservative and stagnant environment. New perspectives help tackle challenges and opportunities from unconventional angles. This approach also boosts innovation capabilities aimed at generating new revenues from untapped target groups in different geographies and cultural settings." 

    Fresh ideas are important, but for technology companies, relevance is vital and the majority of research shows that diverse businesses are able to connect with and remain relevant to new audiences. Technology marketers looking to reach the important Generation Z will need to be diverse as Forrester's research finds diversity and inclusion is more important to them in their purchasing and employment choices than with previous generations. 

    "Young consumers expect to see the same diversity they experience in their homes and communities reflected in the businesses they support. Brands that have not yet absorbed this reality should develop a diversity and inclusion strategy or risk irrelevance," advises Jack MacKinnon an analyst with Gartner. His colleague Venecia Liu adds that diversity enables organisations to develop perspectives on alternative customer values. 

    Those alternative customer values increase revenue, according to research by the Boston Consulting Group. The global research and advisory business found that organisations with a diverse management team have 19% higher revenues and Boston Consulting Group state this is due to an increased level of innovation.  

    "Diversity is not just a metric to be strived for; it is actually an integral part of a successful revenue-generating business," writes the Boston Consulting Group. 

    Fellow research and analyst business McKinsey agrees and in its Delivering Through Diversity report it discovered that gender diversity on an executive team led to organisations being 21% more likely to deliver an above average profitability. 

    "They also had a 27% likelihood of outperforming their peers on longer-term value creation. Different perspectives on customer needs, product improvements and company wellbeing fuel a better business," reports McKinsey. 

    It's not only the revenues that are healthy, the Pew Research Centre finds that having more women in leadership positions improves the ability to compromise, be an honest and ethical business, pay its team members fairly and provide mentoring. 

    "It has been estimated that closing the gender gap would add $28 trillion to the value of the global economy by 2025 - a 26% increase. Put simply, companies and societies are more likely to grow and prosper when women gain greater financial independence," Eswaran said.

    Standing up to the challenge 

    Speaking on a STEMConnext panel at the Women in Technology event in the UK women business leaders were frank with each other on the challenges they face and what they can do. 

    "We don't trust ourselves enough, we see an opportunity and we are pulling back from it instantly," leadership coach Susie Ramroop said. Payal Rawat, Director of Operations at telecoms firm Three UK agreed: "We don't just go for it, we make sure that we can do it really really well," she said.  

    Despite their strident honesty, Ramroop and Rawat told a busy conference room that the power is in women's hands. They advised their peers on how to seize opportunities to guarantee that organisations recognise them.  

    "The majority of the power is with us, so don't give it away," Rawat told the STEMConnext forum. Leadership coach Ramroop added: "Find a support system, we all have down days. So find people, a colleague or a coach to to lift you up on those down days. Its important as we women don't ask for help enough." 

    STEMConnext organiser Gill Cooke, Head of Digital Planning and Delivery at Three UK agreed and added: "Share the workload and that includes the emotional workload." 

    By taking the advice of the STEMConnext speakers women technology marketing leaders will not only benefit their careers, but improve the organisations they work for. 


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    About Mark Chillingworth

    Mark Chillingworth is Contributing Editor to Tech Marketers and one of Europe's leading CIO Editors


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