Lenora Billings-Harris

Article Summary:

One of the main benefits of diversity in the workplace is taking advantage of emerging markets thanks to your diverse staff.

The Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace: Emerging Markets

Robert, Faheem, Tracee, Kewal, Lois, Hernando, and Dorothy are account executives for a small but rapidly growing company. Their ages range from 23 to 59 years old; two are single, two are married; two have domestic life partners; three are child-free, three are parents; one is gay and one is blind; one is caring for a parent and two children; two are single parents. There are four languages, and six religious faiths represented by this group. This is diversity!

The word, diversity, simply means differences or variety. As used when referring to the American workplace and market, diversity refers to the many differences present among people today that were not recognized in large numbers in the past. In addition to targeting the "mainstream" market, the following suggestions will help you creatively develop a presence within the "emerging marketplace."

It is important to build your knowledge and understanding of different groups, so that you do not rely on biases are stereotypes that exist due to lack of information. Additionally, you don't want to offend people simply because you were not aware of multicultural behaviors. For example, the American "bye-bye" gesture means "come here" to some people from Southeast Asia. Some Koreans can interpret smiling during business transactions as frivolous behavior. Do your homework by conducting research on the Internet, talking to people in the group you which to reach, and getting involved in organizations whose members are representative of the group with whom you wish to do business.

The most effective marketing techniques help you build a lasting relationship with your prospects and clients. This is especially true for emerging markets. The decision makers are interested in knowing whether you are interested in them as people or if you just want their dollars. Developing relationships is a long-term process, and has big pay-offs. Whether you own a motorcoach company, or sell financial services the opportunity for a win-win relationship is limitless. Theses suggestions are targeted to emerging markets, however the concepts work with any market. Start today by selecting at least one of the ideas below and implementing a plan.

  • Write articles for trade publications that target the markets you want to reach.
  • Buy ad space and use it to write quick tips and techniques.
  • Give fun million dollar bills to prospects, network friends etc. with your contact information on the back. (Source www.milliondollars.com)
  • Create a postcard size newsletter with fun information and send it to your database quarterly.
  • Create ad banners for the athletic websites of HBCU's and their athletic conferences.
  • Hire a marketing intern to research segments you wan to reach (ethnic, Gen Xer, Millenials, seniors, etc.) assignment: research and document contact information of special interest groups, media outlets, publications etc.
  • Contact Division I - athletic conferences for Historically Black Universities and Colleges (HBCU's): Mid-eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) 336-275-9961; Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC) 205-251-7573 Sponsor events, hire interns, place ad banners on their websites etc.
  • Become a guest lecturer at local educational institutions, libraries, and civic organizations whose student attendees are your target market.
  • Offer your own course through community colleges and programs for non-traditional students.
  • Send customized (include logo and your contact information) thank you notes to everyone for everything.
  • Send unique holiday cards that arrive the day after Thanksgiving. Continue this action every year to develop an identity with the receivers.
  • Place your photo on your business card to help prospects remember you. (Source: www.daicolocard.com)
  • Sponsor quarterly or yearly "champagne teas", held in an intriguing location to target women for your product or service.
  • Sponsor/support athletic and student group events (eg. ethnic sororities and fraternities).
  • Join specialized chambers of commerce: African- American, Hispanic, Asian, and women.
  • Create an award/list, patterned after the Fortune 500 lists that relate to your product or service. Examples- America's 50 Best Companies for Minorities; Reidsville's Top 10 Most Creative _______. Develop a process for nominations, and selection, including a media event to announce the winner.
  • Offer or sponsor a free teleclass to discuss aspects of your product or service, or sponsor a speaker who will reach your target market. (Resource: www.teleclass4u.com)
  • Put free information on your website that will draw new market segments, then let everyone know about this service via your business card, voicemail and anything else with your contact information listed.
  • Sponsor segments of conferences and conventions held for your target market.
    • Buy the desert for one day for meetings held at your convention center if your product is food.
    • Supply the centerpieces with your contact information on the bottom.
    • Place creative ads, or fun coupons in the conference program.
    • Sponsor the music one evening for an event for the Asian, African-American, Hispanic or women's chamber of commerce. Contact your state chamber of commerce for information and listings.

Management guru, Tom Peters says in his book, The Brand You 50, "You are the C.E.O. of your life." Take charge of your personal and business branding through shameless marketing. Have fun while you grow your success!

Lenora Billings-Harris, CSP is an internationally recognized speaker, performance improvement consultant, and author with more than twenty five years experience in the public and private sectors. As a workforce diversity specialist, and performance improvement consultant, Lenora has developed a unique way of presenting sensitive topics in a high-energy, fun-filled, yet thought-provoking way. Her interactive style, and immediately applicable "how to's" have caused clients to invite her back again and again. She works with Fortune 500 companies as well as several professional associations, and non-profit organizations. She also served as an adjunct professor for Arizona State University. Lenora has presented to audiences in South Africa, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Ukraine, and Mexico and Canada. More information on the topic of diversity, Lenora Billings-Harris, and her book The Diversity Advantage: A Guide to Making Diversity Work can be found on her website, www.lenoraspeaks.com.

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