Dreamforce 2018: Do Diversity and Inclusion Practices Apply to B2B Marketing?

by Shany Seawright

Each of us has a different story. It may start with your heritage and cultural background; it may start with your age, or your gender. Perhaps it centers around a struggle that you’ve overcome. Regardless, of how your story evolves, its likely different than the story of the person you are sitting next to. Diversity can mean so many things. But it is important to understand that regardless of what makes you unique, you want to feel like part of a community. In the world of marketing, diversity and inclusion practices are critical to connecting with customers, whether you are in business, technology, government, consumer, or any other variation of marketing.

If you ask the question: “Is there a place for equity and diversity conversations in the marketing and technology world today?” the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

At Dreamforce 2018, equity and diversity was not only a topic of conversation, but had a dedicated Equality Summit, where leaders of the B2B marketing and technology community, along with activists and celebrities, focused on the importance of representation, workplace equality, and inclusive leadership.


As a marketer, primarily in a B2B, B2G technology space, these same values and best practices apply and require a concerted effort to ensure that we take a thoughtful approach in marketing to understand and connect with our customer and to build strong relationships built on trust. It requires us to dig deeper, address biases, and think beyond our own perceptions to ensure our messages are delivered with the understanding that our audiences are changing and are diverse.

When looking to connect with customers and improve the customer experience, consider the following:

Evolution of the Customer: Today’s workforce is changing drastically and the customer you have today, may not be the customer you will have tomorrow. Millennials have emerged on the scene, making up the largest population in the workforce; they bring with them new attitudes and ideas of how to connect. Even if millennials are not the current buyer, they absolutely have influence over buying decisions. Marketers must know how to connect and engage with this generation of customers.


Diversification of Workforce: As marketers, we know that if we all thought the same way and communicated in only way to our customer, we’d be missing a major opportunity to connect with new customers. Embracing diversity in the workforce from gender to race to age and more, opens the door to communication and helps us understand how to connect to a broader audience.


Representation Matters: In nearly every industry, it is critical to see yourself represented and reflected. If you don’t see diversity in leadership, then the natural assumption is that only a certain type of person can be a leader. This isn’t true. At Dreamforce’s Equity Summit, one speaker said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, then bring a folder chair!”  Diversity matters. Including many voices from different experiences help you look at problems, solutions, and issues differently. If everyone in the room is speaking the same language, what do you learn? How can you connect with customers who may have a different outlook?