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Refreshing Your Marketing for Inclusivity

As the motivational fire kicks up with the new year, you might be considering a marketing refresh to switch things up and increase brand awareness. But what does that mean? How does a “refresh” look, and how can you ensure an effective change?

Any adjustments to your marketing strategy must align with the market’s pulse, so it’s best to research the core values and motivations driving your ideal clients. 

Photo courtesy Lindsay King Photography

A push for inclusivity is a prime example. As society evolves to prioritize diversity and inclusion, all businesses should adapt their messaging accordingly. This is particularly prudent for those in the hospitality industry as Gen Z ages into the special event market.

Having grown up over the past couple of decades, Gen Z has become the most racially and ethnically diverse demographic ever. According to Pew Research, 25 percent of Gen Zers are Hispanic, 14 percent are Black, 6 percent are Asian, and 5 percent are of another race or multi-racial (Pew Research Center, 2019).

Additionally, Gallup reports that one in six adults in Gen Z identifies as LGBTQ+, presenting a critical case for inclusive marketing (Gallup, 2020). 

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But it’s not just underrepresented communities seeking for businesses to step up. Those who are white, cisgender, and hetero consider it essential to work with event professionals whose values align with their own. While they may not be in the minority, they have friends and family members who are, and they want to be certain that their guests are treated with respect and compassion. 

If your marketing could use an inclusive facelift in 2022, here’s what you need to do.

Begin by auditing your current messaging.

Before tossing everything in the bin, start by going through all of your existing marketing materials. This includes your website, social media profiles, printed brochures, client documents, and anything else used in your sales, marketing, and client experience workflows. Ask yourself: “If I was LGBTQ+, BIPOC, Latinx, or AAPI, would this messaging feel reflective of who I am?”

If the answer is no, don’t feel discouraged. You’re already taking the first steps toward inclusivity, so keep looking ahead. Over time, you’ll begin seeing your language, imagery, and overall messaging strategy through a new lens. For now, it’s about identifying the areas that need to be adjusted to support a sustainable marketing strategy.

Step into your prospects’ shoes.

One of the best ways to evaluate your current brand experience is by stepping outside of your business and seeing it through the eyes of your ideal client. It’s easy to get tunnel vision when looking at the backend, but a new perspective can help you determine what you need to change.

Photo courtesy Lindsay King Photography

Walk through your sales process as a prospect would go from inquiry to booking. Here are some key questions to ask:

  • Do the photos I share showcase diversity?
  • Is the language I use gender-neutral? (e.g., “couple” instead of “bride and groom”)
  • Does my contact form have non-binary options? (e.g., including Mx. as a title)
  • How often do I post inclusive content on social media?
  • Is my contract gender-neutral?
  • Do my auto-response emails use inclusive language?
  • Is my staff trained on inclusive practices? 

It’s vital to review every element of your business, as each step of the sales journey can influence how a prospect views your company. For example, if a lesbian couple sees an LGBTQ+ couple on your website but later must choose who signs on your contract’s “Groom” line, it shows you haven’t put forth a fully inclusive effort.

Be authentic in your inclusive efforts.

While diversity should be ingrained into every facet of your business, it must also come from a genuine place of respect and inclusivity. Performing lip service and other insincere gestures in an effort to appear inclusive is considered performative tokenism. Inclusivity must be an intentional shift that comes from the heart. If you talk the talk, you must walk the walk.

Photo courtesy Lindsay King Photography

For example, if you post a photo of a gay couple on your website but your language speaks to hetero couples, the effort to open your business to LGBTQ+ couples is inauthentic and misguided. You must put forth the time and effort to continually educate yourself and grow as an advocate for underrepresented communities.

While inclusive values are communicated through marketing, they start in the heart. You must align your mindset and your values before addressing your messaging; otherwise, it will feel unnatural and forced rather than intentional and meaningful.  


Brittny Drye

Founder & Editor in Chief | Love, Inc.

Brittny Drye is the founder and editor-in-chief of Love Inc., one of the leading equality-minded wedding blog and digital publication. Her inclusive efforts have been celebrated by the New York Times, The Advocate, OUT Magazine, Refinery29, NY Daily News, Cosmopolitan, and more. She serves on the 2018-19 North American Advisory Board for the International Academy of Wedding & Events.