How DAM Systems Can Make People Feel Seen


The Gist

  • Critical importance. Inclusivity and diversity in marketing are not just ethical imperatives but also crucial for business, particularly in the beauty industry.
  • Metadata matters. The quality and depth of metadata in digital asset management systems play a significant role in personalizing and making marketing feel inclusive.
  • ROI analysis. Advanced analytics can provide insights into the effectiveness of inclusive marketing strategies, helping brands align better with diverse customer needs.

In commerce worldwide, there’s a complicated and evolving debate about diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). Brands are criticized regularly for doing too little, doing too much, or doing DE&I the wrong way or for the wrong reasons. DE&I wins and blunders have moved stock prices, sales and cultural norms.

Let’s take a look at inclusivity and diversity in marketing. 

We believe that inclusivity is both a matter of ethics and smart business — and that martech systems like digital asset management (DAM) determine how inclusivity and diversity in marketing is experienced. In few industries is this issue so important and so visible than in beauty. 

We’ll start with an exploration of why inclusivity became critical but difficult in beauty. From there, we’ll explore how DAM systems can connect shoppers to content and products in which they see themselves, and how you might measure the ROI of that. 

Diversity in Marketing: 40 Shades of Fenty 

Beauty is a $430 billion industry, according to consulting firm McKinsey & Co., and is tracking toward $580 billion by 2027. The industry encompasses makeup, skincare, haircare, fragrances and more. The challenge for beauty inclusivity is not just the product or its audience but how people shop. 

A vibrant assortment of makeup foundation products, showcasing a spectrum of colors to cater to every skin tone and complexion, empowering self-expression and beauty and suggesting the importance of inclusivity and diversity in marketing.
Beauty is a $430 billion industry and growing and with inclusivity and diversity in marketingbeing a key growth factor. Kishore Newton on Adobe Stock Photos

Growing up, Gen Y and Gen X people of color in the US rarely saw themselves in beauty marketing. Cosmetics were designed mostly for light skin tones, and hair products were designed around longer, straighter hair rather than curlier and kinkier styles. This forever changed when Fenty Beauty, founded by pop star Rihanna in 2017, launched with 40 foundation shades — which sold like crazy through Sephora and later, Ulta Beauty. Fenty is now worth at least $2.8 billion

Arguably, physical stores cater to inclusivity and diversity in marketing. Just by seeing customers, sales associates can infer what products they may need. It’s also easier to test and compare 40 shades of foundation in person. 

Between 2019 and 2022, though, ecommerce beauty sales grew 21% thanks to COVID-19 and remain the fastest-growing channel. Unlike human salespeople, ecommerce sites can’t see users. Rather, users must identify themselves to the brand. What search terms, browsing categories and filters would shoppers use to do that? What are people comfortable telling a brand, or being told by a brand, about their appearance? 

Related Article: 5 Ways Diversity and Inclusion Impact the Customer Experience

Metadata’s Role in Inclusivity 

Research makes clear that inclusivity and diversity in marketing matters to buyers — especially younger ones. In one survey, 40% of Gen Z and 31% of Gen Y respondents ranked diversity and inclusion as the top brand value they consider when shopping for beauty products. How they perceive inclusivity comes down to the content brands create and the technology they use to distribute it. 

The images we discover by searching, browsing and filtering online are surfaced based on metadata tagged to them. Search “black hair” and Google image results will be varied. Google doesn’t know whether you’re searching for images of any hair that is black in color, or hair representing black women and the culture of black hair. The aim is to define metadata such that a user from anywhere finds their hairstyle, skin tone and cultural heritage in the results.


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