How to Define and Apply Inclusive Marketing Principles to Your Organization’s CRM and Marketing Automation Strategies

Julia Rose
May 21 · 7 min read

Inclusive marketing is more than a trending topic among industry leaders today. It’s an emerging style that not only makes good business sense but good moral sense. Inclusivity is commonly defined as the practice of including people who otherwise may be marginalized or excluded as a result of tired social norms and anti-diversity perspectives. Inclusive marketing, then, aims to extend opportunities to and address the unique lives and experiences of diverse groups.

The concept of inclusivity has a goal to exclude no one. Inclusivity is equality plus compassion, and, when it comes to emerging business, culture mustn’t be ignored as one of the top qualities incoming employees look for in a prospective employer. In this post, we will teach you how to apply inclusive marketing principles to your CRM and Marketing Automation strategies to affect positive change internally and externally as a work culture.

Defining Salesforce’s 6 Principles of Inclusive Marketing

Before we dive into the “how-to”s, let’s review Salesforce’s six principles of inclusive marketing for good measure. Salesforce defines the principles of inclusive marketing as follows …

Image Courtesy of Salesforce

1. Start with Tone

Tone refers to the style, characteristic, or sentiment of a piece of content. Salesforce reminds us that, often, when people are offended or turned off by a piece of content, tone is at the center (as the culprit). Tone helps us consider how we’re portraying the subject, topic, message, and overall impact of our content.

2. Be Intentional with Language

As Spiderman’s Uncle Ben would say, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Certainly, this applies to language. It has great power to either strengthen or weaken our relationships, not just with our customers, but in life. To be intentional with language, we must carefully consider our words, symbols, and phrases with our audiences. Messaging should be clear, and not too open to interpretation where it might be negatively misconstrued.

3. Ensure Representation

Is there a visible diversity represented in the content you’re promoting to your audiences? Whether in an image, video, or other production, Salesforce reminds us there is incredible power in representation. It helps audiences identify with and relate to our brands. It helps them feel like they’re a part of the story and truly seen and heard. Representation allows organizations to illuminate opportunity for people of all backgrounds, experiences, nationalities, sexes, orientations, etc.

4. Consider Context

Some marketers may find this concept tricky when first introduced and practicing it, but it’s one that’s worth becoming close to in the field. Context may refer to when ads are promoted that wrongly reflect cultural context, for example, like with racial or gender equality. Current events play a big part when it comes to context. Be mindful of and sensitive to current events as you evolve your marketing strategies through the principles of inclusive marketing.

5. Avoid Appropriation

Appropriation means taking an aspect of a minority culture without knowing or honoring the meaning behind it. This could reflect a minority culture’s traditions or personal experiences. Appropriation, Salesforce reminds us, may be subjective and sensitive. How do we avoid appropriation? By being respectful and aware of other cultures, we can take the right measures to ensure diversity is properly reflected and not misappropriated.

6. Counter-stereotype

To counter-stereotype, we must think outside the bubbles and social norms that strive to marginalize groups of people. Marketers have the power to break outside of these boxes and show more developed, comprehensive, and multi-layered views of groups or individuals others may have not considered due to tired, outdated, or plain wrong outdated past concepts.

Salesforce teaches us more about these principles here.

With this awareness and knowledge, we can begin to apply these principles to our own practice.

Use Cases for Each Inclusive Marketing Principle

Let’s imagine, for this piece, we’re a skincare brand that wants to promote a NEW healthy skin cleanser for all skin types. Already, as a marketer, you may be tossing in your seat. In that sentence alone, we may already be experiencing problems. Will one skin cleanser, for example, really suit all skin types? Will one skin cleanser suit a man or woman of all nationalities? How will we, as this brand, properly convey that this is an inclusive skincare line that could help men and women of any nationality get clearer skin?

First of all, this sounds like a miracle cleanser if it truly addresses the needs of multiple genders, nationalities, and skin types — science to the rescue! That’s a whole other anecdote to convince buyers of, but, let’s start with tone. Look at the woman (below). She is happy, with clear skin. How will we write a social media caption that properly promotes our skin cleanser and represents her without marginalizing her while also addressing the needs of our expansive audience?

Image via

For tone, let’s think about the style or characteristic of this image. She looks happy. She looks natural, and not over-produced. This is something we want to convey. The topic will focus on promoting our skincare line. What if we caption the photo: “Healthy and clear skin for all. (Brand name) is meant for you. (product link)”?

While this seems okay, one might see the image, and wonder, if they don’t look like that, if it really applies to them. What if we include other ethnicities and genders in the image to emphasize our point? What if we feature a lineup of men and women, enjoying a healthy skincare routine through a series of portraits placed side by side, much like Dove does with their “Real Beauty” campaigns? We could let them influence and share their stories to convey an authentic message. We could create a dynamic Facebook slideshow and set up targeted ads to get our messages across.

This also hits on principles two and three. We were intentional with language. We were clear, but open-ended without using confusing metaphors. Upon rethinking, we ensure all of our target audience is represented.

Collage Created with Images from

In our new image (above), more genders and diversities are represented. In our language, we haven’t taken anything out of context, hitting on principle 4. Minority cultures are fairly represented in our ad, hitting on principle 5, and, finally, there are no stereotypes. Our brand remains open and welcome to all through our messaging and imagery.

How these Principles Can Be Applied to your CRM and Marketing Automation Technology

So, now that we know how to market with the principles of inclusive marketing using the example of a common social media campaign strategy for an emerging skincare line, you may wonder, how you can apply these principles to your CRM and marketing automation technology? Where do the technological and analytic components come into play when we consider inclusive marketing?

Think about it … everything is tied together, right? We study, analyze, and link our social traffic to our website to our CRM to develop higher quality leads and close deals faster. The sales and marketing funnel flows through.

The highest correlation is with data analysis. When your team is cross-departmentally trained on the principles of inclusive marketing, not only does your advertising and content stand to improve, but your culture does too. You not only are building a more positive brand identity with your audiences externally, but internally among your team members. This makes individuals and HR very happy.

In CRM, your sales team may decide to create more profile attributes to document between your systems to develop fuller personas to help your marketing team speak more concisely and with care to your target audiences. When you apply inclusive marketing principles to the technical side of your culture, you marry humanity with technology to promote your services or products and address your audiences with the compassion and understanding they deserve.

Everything comes full circle to help you be successful inclusive marketers and develop a holistically inclusive organization.

Technological and Cultural Takeaways that Follow …

What does it all mean?

Bersin reports that “inclusive companies are 1.7x more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.”

HBR confirms that “Diverse companies are 70% more likely to report that the firm captured a new market.”

Representation matters across the board! Forbes reported earlier in 2019 that companies are putting a huge focus on inclusive marketing advertising, as well as the creation of inclusive products.

The effect of inclusivity undeniably positively ricochets.

As target audiences desire to be a part of our brand stories, we must desire and strive to be a part of theirs. As brands and marketers, we must evolve and adapt to become active listeners with our audiences. There is new psychology to marketing today that starts with the principles of inclusive marketing and expands as we learn and grow in the field.

Inclusive marketing helps us drive change, communicate more effectively, become culturally competent, and much, much more. It’s not a way of the future, but a way of life and business that just makes sense. Plain and simple. The affinity for care is the underlying attribute that makes inclusive marketing so relatable to so many. It is instilled within our nature, and, once we fully pick up on it, so wonderful to apply in our professional and personal actions.

There is incredible value in these principles that help to create and promote value everywhere they are applied.

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are completely my own, and not a reflection of Ledgeview Partners, Salesforce, or any other entities of my association.

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Julia Rose

Written by

Digital Marketing Specialist, @LedgeviewCRM | Pro Writer/Editor | Health & Equality Advocate | Please Support the #WiInsulinPriceCap:

Inside the Salesforce Ecosystem

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