Marketing to Diverse Customers

We asked Annica Kreider, vice president of brand development at Mellow Mushroom to discuss the role of diversity in the company's marketing department and in its marketing strategies. Here's what she had to say.

Marketing to a diverse consumer base is something we not only discuss often among our team, but something we also embrace internally from a talent management standpoint. From a leadership perspective, I'm a huge believer in having a very diverse team in terms of demographics, psychographics, and lifestyle. If everyone on a team looks alike, dresses alike, and does the same things on the weekend, I think you're missing the boat in terms of creativity and brand advancement.

With most elements of our creative we like to push the envelope and be as provocative, interesting, and engaging as we can. This is particularly true of the digital space. Our team creates a lot of original exclusively for digital consumer engagement. For example, at our biweekly editorial meetings we have some very lively discussions about what the art and messaging might look like in an email message. The individual diversity our team possesses has allowed us all to free our minds a bit and see unique perspectives on how the message we want to give the consumer may end up being designed and articulated.

We also have a great diversity of backgrounds and core competencies within our brand development team. Some of our team members came from traditional, franchised marketing backgrounds, some started out as servers and advanced through the ranks of our company, some came from restaurant operations, and others from government entities or large retailers. This diversity of workplace experience allows us to capitalize on best practices with both our competitors as well as other industries. Sometimes as marketers we tend to breathe our own fumes in terms of how we think consumers view our brands, and I think it's important to do anything you can to open your perspectives.

In regards to consumer marketing, diversity is really the name of the game for our brand. We are a purposefully unique brand, with no two locations having the same exterior signage, interior design, or décor package. We are also able to be successful in a wide variety of environments, ranging from urban to suburban, big city to small town, and everything in between.

We have some great demographic reporting about the consumers surrounding our restaurants that allow us to really hone in on what the most common lifestyle attributes are for the guests of a specific We approach almost all of our marketing on a community-based level, so our target can be almost anywhere on the spectrum of demographic attributes, depending on the location. We're very fortunate in this way, in that it makes marketing a whole lot more fun and interesting when you get to dive into all these different consumer purchasing behaviors.

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