Why diversity is good for engagement
Listen to our full interview with Safiyyah on Engage Your Tribe:
Most marketers are women.
64%, according to a 2019 study by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).
And, according to the ANA, there are more women than ever in leadership marketing roles.
Yet the majority—53%--of CMOs are men (down from 55% in 2018).
So, insofar as marketing leadership opportunities for women are concerned, things seem to be trending in a positive direction, even there's still a way to go.
But why does this matter?
Because as Safiyyah Khan, VP of Marketing at BlueWave Solar, notes, diversity of all kinds is good for business. “Study after study has shown that diversifying your leadership and your staff bring you more profitability,” she says.
For example, according to a study by SCORE, gender-diverse small businesses “are 21% more likely to outperform; diverse teams make decisions 2x faster with ½ the number of meetings, and their decisions deliver 60% better results.”
When it comes to engagement, Khan says, having more women in marketing leadership positions can make a significant difference, insofar as women, on average, are known to be more empathetic compared to men.
“It doesn’t just mean you care,” Khan says. “It means you can sit in another person’s shoes and understand what they care about. And if your job is to get an audience passionate about and loyal towards your brand, and if you’re able to truly and authentically be empathetic, then you’re more likely to succeed at your job.”
Men are also capable of empathy, of course. And not all female marketing leaders are necessarily more empathetic than their male counterparts. The point is that a style of marketing leadership that foregrounds the ability to intuit and understand the needs and desires of an audience is advantageous.
“I keep hearing from people we don't want to hear catchy statements anymore,” Khan says. “We just want really transparent products. We want really transparent language. Younger generations are not looking for anything to be sugar coated. The more diverse your marketing team and the more diverse your organization, the more you can be successful at [engaging your audience] using those different elements of power that you have.”