Marketing and advertising organizations need to take effective measures to encourage diversity in the industry

Advertising and marketing organizations are infamous for the lack of inclusivity and diversity in their ranks. For years, executives have been talking about the need and benefits of having a diverse workforce. Technology leaders have similarly stated the need for increased representation of minorities and the black community.

Diversity in Advertising Impacts the RoI Positively

As per a study by, only 3% of the ANA member organization CMOs are African- Americans, only 4% of the member organization CMOs are Latinos/Hispanics, Asians comprise of 5% in the ANA member organization CMOs. In contrast, whites consist of 85% of ANA member organization CMOs.

A diverse team can be created only with intention

Executives have stated that lack of inclusion is due to an upstream “pipeline problem”. CJ Bland, Minority Professional Network Inc., stated that the issue is not as simple as it sounds.  Multiple factors are a cause of the lack of inclusion. CMOs and the rest of the members of the C- suite need to make conscious efforts to hire and retain diverse team members. In a survey conducted by McKinsey consisting of racial and ethnic leadership teams has stated that organizations with diverse teams perform much better as compared to same ethnicity teams.

CMOs need to accept the fact that the majority of the executives, trainers, suppliers, and managers are white. They must take steps to rectify the situation. For firms to practice “true” diversity, especially related to the inclusion of brown and black people and they must be equally willing to invest in the related domains instead of putting up a façade.

This includes an organizational and financial investment to improve diversity. CMOs have to take steps to improve the DE&I recruitment and outreach programs. Most firms have accepted that investment done by them is smaller or transactional, versus financially strategic, significant or sustainable.

Mandatory companywide training

CMOs need to ensure that transparency is practiced right from top-level professionals. Practicing inclusion and diversity is not a responsibility solely for the Talent Acquisitions department. Company goals regarding increasing diversity should be transparent. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) training should be implemented for all employees, starting with the team which actively interviews the candidates.

CMOs need to identify that unconscious bias exists within most organizations. Many have taken steps to hire more women or a diverse workforce, but hesitate to engage colored or black employees.

Diversity – Women Accounted for 43% of CMO Roles in 2019

C-suite accountability and commitment

Senior professionals in the organization must be committed to hiring, retaining, promoting, and developing minority and Black representation across all levels. CMOs should be aware that customers engage more with organizations that are racially and ethnically diverse.