Over the past several years, the advertising and marketing industry has been making strides to include more diverse workforce representation. Multicultural advertising and marketing spending was estimated at $27 billion in 2019 and has risen year over year, with increases projected for 2022 as well.  

Diversity and inclusion in marketing is not limited to the types of individuals represented in public-facing ads and social media posts. Diversity initiatives also include efforts towards equitable hiring and representation across the supply chain. This includes the procurement of diverse vendors, suppliers, and contractors and the establishment of supplier diversity programs.

As many as 85 percent of U.S. companies have a supplier diversity program, but the real measure of how marketing agencies are prioritizing diversity and inclusion is looking at their annual spend for diverse representation. In other words, are marketers putting their money where their mouth is?

In a recent survey, 30 percent of marketers said they were allocating spend toward vendors and publishers with diverse leadership, with more than a third dedicating more than 60 percent of their marketing budget to these efforts. 

According to the Association of National Advertisers, about 90 percent of marketers say that their focus on working with diverse suppliers has increased over the past year, and nearly 60 percent said that increase has been significant. Several large corporations are leading the charge, making commitments to increase diversity spending. For example, the Coca Cola Company vowed to double its advertising spend with minority media companies, while General Motors committed to double their spend by 2024 and again in 2025.   

As marketing and advertising companies move towars more diverse representation in their supply chain and across creative campaigns, one of the major challenges will be finding vendors that meet their criteria. About 42 percent of marketing firms said they are not effectively constructing vendor lists, and another 12 percent said they are struggling with the process.

To increase diverse representation spending, it is not enough to allocate the funds, there must also be methods and processes in place for finding, screening and hiring the appropriate suppliers. 

Datalou is the only supplier diversity management system with over one million suppliers with specific capabilities in advertising, marketing, communications, and media. Our robust tracking and reporting system helps you document spending and sourcing efforts, manage certifications, and share data with stakeholders.