Black marketers in advertising—why diversity leads to increased ROI and authenticity

Marketing teams need look no further than our education system for the benefits that would emerge from hiring more Black marketers. Studies noted by both the Brookings Institution and The Washington Post show that having Black teachers improves long-term academic outcomes for Black students—and has a positive impact on non-Black students as well. Black teachers often advocate for Black students to succeed in their classes in ways that non-Black teachers do not; Black students excel when exposed to such instruction and leadership.

The same holds true for marketing: Even one Black marketing professional in the room can be an advocate for more diverse representation and inclusivity in ways that non-Black professionals cannot. This isn’t to ignore the allyship from non-Black industry professionals, but they don’t inherently know where to start.

To explore that point further, consider the disruption factor. Given their knowledge and background, Black teachers often disrupt harmful rhetoric in classrooms. They are more likely to tie social justice issues to class conversation that benefit not only Black students but the entire student population.

Similarly, Black marketing professionals can disrupt or challenge the advertising status quo in ways that might not even be visible to others. This can serve as a teachable moment for all marketing team members, who can then grow their own knowledge and leadership in improving diversity in ads. Data and insights are great, but when coupled with in-culture experiences, authenticity, resonance and the “realness” of executions is taken to the next level.

Hiring more Black marketing professionals means “walking the talk”—becoming a place where other professionals of color will want to work. Black employees can demonstrate that the organization is diverse and can become a pipeline to driving more inclusive hiring. Black professionals become a magnet for attracting more candidates of color, for whom they can serve as advocates, mentors and coaches.