Inclusive Marketing

Colored Pencils

A message that everyone can relate to.

By Michael Connors, PT, DPT, PhD

In attempting to connect with a diverse client population, we have to be intentional about crafting messaging in our marketing communication to reach the widest possible customer base.

As individuals, we all have different ways in which a message connects with us and in how we opt to interact with the potential source of information. Tailoring a marketing message that accounts for all of these differences while also effectively disseminating the intended information to a diverse audience is a feat in and of itself. Through careful and deliberate planning, you can design an effective marketing message that will reach a diverse audience across age, gender, generation, and so on.

To best craft an inclusive marketing message, you need to have a working understanding of the terms diversity, equity, and inclusion. The APTA (American Physical Therapy Association), as part of its strategic plan, has a focus on enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our profession. The term diversity refers to the representation of all our varied identities and differences, collectively and as individuals. Equity seeks to ensure fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and parity in access to information and in resources. Inclusion builds a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people. Think of diversity as being asked to the party while inclusion is being asked to dance. By having a strong working knowledge of these terms, you can move forward with crafting a marketing message that best targets the intended audience without concern for potentially alienating a segment of the population.

To craft an inclusive marketing message, consider these steps:

First, establish the extent of the diversity of the intended audience. Ask yourself: How diverse is my intended audience? How much diversity do I want to attract with this message? Can I effectively put out a communication that is diverse enough to connect multiple demographic groups across an entire population? How do I craft the message to account for all of the varied identities and differences that exist in my target population? Once you have established the extent of the diversity of the intended audience, you can work to craft the marketing message to best connect with all of the various identities across the target population. There are a multitude of consultants who specialize in determining the best manner to develop and disseminate a message to maximize the diversity and outreach in your target audience.

Next, consider the equity piece of the marketing communication. In other words, will this communication ensure fair treatment and equal access to information and resources for all in the intended audience? Will the communication result in equal opportunities to interact with your products and services to potentially anyone in the target population? Will your communication be free of unintended biases that could serve to alienate a particular person or group? A marketing message that demonstrates a high level of equity will be one that connects with a large portion of the intended audience and sends the message that the product or services being highlighted in the communication are open and available to any member of the population.

Finally, a consideration of the inclusiveness of the message should also be carefully deliberated to ensure the communication resonates equally with everyone and provides the idea that everyone is welcome. Inclusion is an imperative portion of an effective marketing message to ensure that all potential clients/customers feel open to engage with your products or services. An inclusive marketing message can also help to build a solid brand loyalty and enhance trust with an organization that demonstrates its investment in the community.


Mike Connors

Mike Connors, PT, DPT, PhD, is a PPS member and regional director of therapy for Greater Therapy Centers in Bedford, Texas. He can be reached at mconnors@gtc-pt.com and @mconnorspt.