The business benefits of overcoming bias in your marketing
Where do our unconscious biases come from?
Bias is not something any of us can avoid. That is, it is built into how we are brought up, what surrounds us, the culture and society we are part of and our personal views. However, what we can do is to become much more aware of the unconscious biases we may have and the negative impact those biases may reek our business marketing. While this can sometimes be an uncomfortable exercise, the results are far reaching, opening up new methods of marketing, new target audiences to engage with and, therefore, more business opportunities and potential for growth. Overcoming bias in your business marketing is a win win.
Assumptions about your target audience not based on marketing research
Marketing research should be present at each step of our marketing strategy. The gathering and analysis of data from marketing activities helps to hone future campaigns, focus sales and enhance the services we offer. But, as with any data, interpretation is key. This is where unconscious bias can creep in, skewing marketing data and sending activities in wrong direction.
Take time to consider the different angles of the research and data you are being presented with. Is there anything missing? Has any negative attention developed from your marketing activities? Have any of your existing clients dropped off the radar? Are your competitors marketing differently or presenting new offerings to your own? All of these questions can help you to see if there are any signals from your marketing research that are being missed through unconscious bias.
Retaining and growing clients through overcoming bias in your marketing
When marketing operates through the tinted lens of unconscious bias it can be costly for a business. Not only can it turn off your existing customers, but it can also mean you lose out on attracting new target audiences.
Unless the bias is overt, most of the time you will not see the loss of clients until it has happened. People don’t like conflict, but they also don’t like to feel as if their personal views are being questioned or insulted. In this situation, they are more likely to move away quietly.
The other issue that can greatly affect future business growth is never engaging with new potential clients in the first place because the audience has been disregarded or not thought of at all. Creating marketing discussions throughout your wider team can be a great way to overcome this and see new potential opportunities of your business.
Positive observations vs negative criticism – approaching marketing in an election year
Business marketing has become much less formal and much more personal since the advent of social media. Now, the people in the business need to be seen and heard to put a face to the brand and to understand exactly what the business is about. Riding this line is not easy and there are countless examples where business owners and managers have put their foot in it by coming out with comments they may consider completely innocent because of their unconscious bias. In this situation, honesty, empathy and apology is the best policy. For wider reaching issues, diversity training is an effective option.
What is also important to understand in today’s marketing climate is how overcoming bias and approaching communication more openly and empathetically through your marketing will gain you (and your brand) integrity and respect in and beyond your business community. This is the difference between thoughtful or positive observations and negative or offensive criticism when it comes to giving your personal opinions. And in an election year this approach can be even more appreciated and engaged with if approached well.
AI and unconscious bias
Many businesses are already turning to AI for various marketing activities. Yet, while this has many potential benefits, machine learning can only be as good as its source data. Human and systematic bias are present in AI. So, if you are relying on AI for and content creation or data analysis, you will need to be aware of this and manage it. While this is an issue that is currently in its infancy, we can already see this becoming more prevalent problem for marketing as time goes on.
The benefits of overcoming bias in your marketing
Overcoming bias in your business marketing can have incredible benefits for your brand. It can help develop a personal and empathetic touch to your business that helps it to stand out against your competitors. It can open up new potential audiences to your offerings, while helping to retain your existing clients. And it can keep your business relevant and growing through times of cultural and political change.