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5 Lessons from Vibes' Women's Leadership Panel on Inclusive Marketing

In honor of Women’s History Month, Vibes hosted a Women’s Leadership Panel to discuss inclusion and representation in modern marketing. Joined by three women leaders in marketing, the panel explored what defines inclusive marketing, trends in modern marketing, how to measure success of inclusive marketing campaigns, and advice for women pursuing careers in marketing and technology.

For those who missed this exciting session, here is a recap of the event and highlights on each topic.


Meet Our Panelists

Quyen “Q” Chang

Quyen (aka "Q" similar to the James Bond reference) is a leader with 15+ years of experience focused on scaling, mentoring, and enabling successful teams.

She started her career at Salesforce, where she spent 8 years in a variety of roles, including consulting, IT program management, and enablement for the Sales and Solution Engineering communities. Since her time at Salesforce, Q has led Sales/SDR onboarding and assisting with marketing programs at Zenefits and then led global field enablement at FinancialForce. She now leads global revenue enablement at Airbnb.


Jenny Fernandez

Jenny Fernandez is a marketing leader, executive coach, startup advisor, and marketing professor at Columbia and New York Universities. With over 20 years of experience managing, launching, growing brands, Jenny brings incredible expertise in the fields of marketing, strategic growth and leadership transformation. She has managed multi-million-dollar businesses in Mondelez International, Kraft Foods, Accenture, Merlin Entertainments, andLoackerUSA.


Michele Rast

Michele is a professional direct to consumer marketing executive with 20+ years experience in Direct Marketing, Retail Marketing, and Web Marketing. Michele has deep experience in leading Marketing across major brands like Aerosoles, Liz Claiborne, and Urban Outfitters. She currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing for Ralph Lauren Polo Factory Stores.


What Inclusive Marketing Is

Jenny Fernandez kicked off the discussion by stating inclusive marketing starts with the consumer. Every brand needs to know its audience to have a clear understanding of their needs. “Inclusive marketing is providing marketing communication that delivers on your product and delivers on the needs of the consumers,” Fernandez said. Another important note is to ensure consumers are reflected in marketing efforts. She added, “consumers need to see the solution to their needs and see themselves in your marketing.”

Quyen “Q” Chang concurred, adding, brands need to center the consumer and answer what is the value and impact you can provide to them. Regarding what inclusive marketing is not, Chang suggested focusing on “thinking outside of the box rather than checking off a box.”

In today’s marketing, a brand must be inclusive and real. Often, there is a gratuitous element to inclusivity that can create an unauthentic message, stated Michele Rast. It’s important for brands to lean into authenticity and realness to drive the brand story and keep in mind what the consumer wants to see.


Trends in Modern Marketing

Rast reflected on previous marketing strategies, where models of similar races were often paired together, and marketers were careful to appeal to all consumers. Nowadays there is more authenticity in inclusive marketing, with brands focusing on who they are in terms of diversity. The evolving media landscape likely influenced this shift, as marketers found new opportunities to reach consumers across digital marketing channels, according to Fernandez. Marketers must tell the brand story throughout a consumer journey and build relationships with consumers, instead of overwhelming them right away, added Chang.


Measuring Success of Inclusive Marketing Campaigns

When it comes to measuring an inclusive marketing campaign, it is important to start with the objective before identifying KPIs and metrics. Fernandez discussed her test-and-learn approach: brands create several concepts and creative of campaigns to test in order to optimize plans and adapt strategies. Rast emphasized, “Social sentiment is a huge measure. The consumer is in charge. They are constantly creating…that’s where you learn how they react to what you put in the market.” Rast agreed test-and-learn is crucial and discussed the importance of using data to include the consumer in the right way.


Advice for Organizations Looking to Improve Inclusive Campaigns

Panelists agreed it starts from within, with brands and organizations working towards a diverse team, in terms of culture, gender, and generation. While organizations have made strides, it can be difficult to achieve a diverse headcount, and in that instance, organizations can look towards partners, ambassadors, focus groups, and internal diversity councils to provide the needed insights and recommendations. Chang advocated for more empowered creative thinking time in teams to generate innovative ideas and having more conversations to think differently.


Advice for Women Growing Careers in Marketing & Technology

“Be flexible and keep asking questions,” Rast said. She advised auditing meetings and getting involved in projects outside a day-to-day routine. Fernandez mentioned the value of a growth-learning mindset and building relationships internally and externally. “Drive value for the organization instead of expecting the organization to provide value for you,” said Fernandez. Doing your job and doing it well is the baseline to earning a salary, but to grow a career one must go beyond that, according to Fernandez.

Women should also stick to their core values, focus on the details, and have empathy, as added by Chang.


Thank you to those who joined and participated in our Women’s Leadership Panel. If you missed our panel, you can watch it here

Follow our panelists for more on their work in marketing and inclusion and stay tuned for upcoming events from Vibes. Want to stay in the loop? Follow us on LinkedIn.