As DE&I Grows in Importance, Where Are Marketers Facing Obstacles?

October 7, 2021

This article is included in these additional categories:

Brand-Related | CSR & Environmental

CMOSurvey Top Barriers Integrating DEI to Marketing Oct2021US CMOs say that marketing spending on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) has increased by an average of 10.6% in the last year. This is per the latest report from The CMO Survey, which also looked at the barriers of bringing DE&I into the core of marketing strategies and decision-making.

About two-thirds (68%) of the senior marketers surveyed say that DE&I is a priority for their company. However, fewer (59%) say that DE&I is a marketing priority for companies. In fact, when asked to rate the degree to which their company has developed an inclusive approach to marketing decision-making (on a scale of 1-7; 1=not at all, 7=very highly) results were middling, with a mean rating of 3.5 and only 5% rating it a 7.

With an average rating of 3.4 (based on the same scale), companies aren’t doing much better when it comes to changing marketing strategies to reach a more diverse set of customers. There is clear room for improvement, considering YouGov data which shows that about 4 in 10 US adults don’t feel represented by the people they see in ads.

Before improvements can be made in this area, many companies need to overcome some barriers to bringing DE&I into the core of their marketing strategy and decision-making. These barriers include difficulty accessing the value of DE&I-related opportunities (69.1%; top-3 choices), difficulty envisioning DE&I-related opportunities (68.6%), lack of good DE&I decision-making processes to drive strategy (50.3%) and difficulty designing effective DE&I-sensitive actions (49.1%).

On a more positive note, many respondents do report some success in improving DE&I of their marketing activities including communications (65%), training (57%), brand (54%) and marketing employees (50%).

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on an August survey of 282 top marketers at for-profit US companies, 94% of whom are VP-level or above.

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