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What Comes First…Diversity or Inclusion?

When the subject arises, managers and CEOs often speak of diversity and inclusion in the workplace together. Diversity and inclusion have come to represent two sides of the same coin, as they should. But all too often, too much emphasis is placed on the diversity aspect with the assumption that inclusion will follow. But is this really true? Does diversity in the workplace naturally lead to an inclusive culture? What about inclusion-focused managers? If the attention is on inclusion, does diversity organically develop? Few would argue that both diversity and inclusion in the workplace are important. However, examining which one is the greater priority can help businesses better position themselves for success.

What is Diversity and Inclusion?

Let’s start with diversity. Diversity simply means a workplace that has diverse members with different characteristics. These characteristics can be group together based on demographics, experiences, and even individual perspectives. For example, demographic diversity describes people of different races, ethnicities, gender, socioeconomic backgrounds, age, and other personal attributes. Diversity in experiences involves the different paths that people have taken through life. And varied perspectives can include diversity of thought, beliefs, and opinions. Why is this important? Because research shows team diversity in the workplace can boost performance by as much as 35 percent!

Defining inclusion is also fairly straightforward. Inclusion is simply a workplace that makes everyone feel included in business activities. They feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute and express their own views and opinions. Having an inclusive workplace has powerful effects also. Studies show that inclusion doubles your business’ chance to reach its financial targets. Likewise, inclusive businesses are 8 times more likely to achieve their goals. Clearly, diversity and inclusion are both important to businesses in today’s marketplace. If nothing else, the performance statistics cited drive diversity and inclusion as key attributes that managers want in their firms.

Diversity Without Inclusion

While diversity and inclusion are combined goals for businesses, achieving these goals can be elusive. For many businesses, managers and CEOs assume a diverse workplace will naturally foster an inclusive one. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true. Certainly, diversity brings heterogeneity and variety to the table. But without an inclusive attitude, staff may be hesitant or even fearful to contribute new ideas and views. Being diverse is one thing, but being accepted for one’s diversity is another. Both diversity and inclusion are essential to realize business success in today’s industries.

Too many businesses today focus on achieving diversity numbers in an effort to boost performance. Diversity simply becomes a targeted cost center for the firm rather than a means to develop a creative culture. Other firms seek diversity as part of their compliance objectives or public relations goals. These firms are missing the point, too. Having employees from different backgrounds, thoughts, and experiences is important. At the same time, a business environment that invites sharing these differences is essential. Diversity and inclusion should go hand-in-hand to maximize a business’ potential. But simply investing in diversity alone does not mean an inclusive workplace will follow.

Inclusion Without Diversity

When pursuing diversity and inclusion, managers may find it easier to hire diversity than achieve an inclusive environment. However, some businesses do achieve inclusive cultures without focusing on employee diversity at all. These situations can cause major problems. In workplaces that lack diversity, groupthink can become commonplace. The “group” makes decisions by consensus, and individuality is never expressed. In time, the same approaches are used over and over again, even if they are not entirely effective. And in the process, business performance and the firm’s competitive advantage decline.

Managers who create workplace environments where everyone feels included and respected is important. This encourages employees to be engaged and participate. But when barriers to diversity exist, the same ideas and perspectives resurface over and over again. No creativity, no innovation, no challenge to the status quo. This is why managers must focus on both diversity and inclusion in the workplace. When both diversity and inclusion exist, employees and the firm enjoy tremendous opportunities to grow and excel.

Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace – A Whole Greater Than the Sum

When examining diversity and inclusion, identifying which one should come first is difficult. It is clearly a chicken and egg sort of problem. Diversity without inclusion is like a champion fighter locked in a room unable to attend the fight. Inclusion without diversity lets the fighter out of the room only to find the fight doesn’t exist. Diversity invites differences that foster innovation and creativity through conflict and resolution. Inclusion invites the opportunity for these differences to be shared and expressed. When both diversity and inclusion are present, the results are incredible. But one does not guarantee the other. To reap the rewards, businesses must focus on both diversity and inclusion simultaneously.

Diversity or Inclusion? Which Comes First?

Amazon Sponsored Ads – Bold Plans for One of its Most Important Formats

E-commerce giant Amazon has been on a roll diversifying its services in the past few years. It has launched Amazon Prime, Amazon Prime Air, Amazon Echo, and even acquired Whole Foods, all within the last three years. In an attempt to grow the reach and revenue of Amazon, and to compete with Facebook and Google this year, it plans to dramatically widen the space for its Amazon Sponsored Products. The company will allow brands to run Amazon sponsored ads across the internet, and not just within its own website.

Retargeting Audiences

Amazon has been making changes to its marketing and advertising strategies. It is also changing how it collaborates with brands. They encourage smaller advertisers to approach agencies to arrange their ad buying campaign instead of using only Amazon’s in-house service.

Amazon is currently in talks with different companies to pilot test the scope of its sponsored ads. These Amazon sponsored ads would then appear in various websites beyond Amazon.com. When a person checks out a product on Amazon and doesn’t make a purchase, Amazon then targets the potential customer. Soon ads of the product will be visible on different ad spaces online. This essentially brings the ad unit off Amazon and retargets them to return to Amazon for purchase.

Amazon Sponsored Products is one of the company’s main ad formats. These sponsored content bookend a customer’s search. For example, when you search for cameras on Amazon, the results will contain sponsored brands of the same category at the top and the bottom parts of the page. Brands can then run campaigns that adhere to the search keywords of consumers.

Amazon Sponsored Ads on smartphone
Will Amazon, with its Sponsored Products, outshine Microsoft and Verizon’s Oath in the coming years?

Although online users are usually inundated with ads, studies say there is still a better brand recall for targeted ads. These ads are active reminders for potential customers, consequently increasing traffic to the Amazon website.

These ads will also appear on Amazon’s advertising marketplace which leads customers back to the brand’s page on Amazon. This is Amazon’s advantage over Google as the latter is not an e-commerce site—while on Amazon, customers can simply click and purchase.

Revenue Building through Amazon Sponsored Ads

Amazon’s Sponsored Products makes up 88% of their ad revenue earned through search-based advertising. This is according to Merkle, a marketing technology and data firm. The rest of the revenue is generated by headline search ads—those that appear at the top of search results. Amazon also continues to display banner ads and video ads all around the website, as well as through its marketplace for outside publishers.

The company is beginning to grow its ad business and is poised to compete with Facebook and Google. These two are the top ad revenue-generating companies in the US, according to eMarketer.

Amazon generated more than $2 billion in ad revenue during the first quarter of this year. It is also primed to surpass the target of $3.7 billion ad revenue by the end of the year. In two years, experts say Amazon might outshine Microsoft and Verizon’s Oath as ad sellers, ultimately landing as the third best ad seller in the US.

Merkle also reported that Amazon Sponsored Products ads are highly lucrative, and compare favorably -to Google’s shopping ads. Advertisers pay Google on a cost-per-click arrangement. On the other hand, Amazon’s Sponsored Ads and Headline Search ads are three and a half times the rate of Google shopping ads.

Amazon will roll out its Sponsored Products Ads out all over the internet in the coming weeks.

The Amazon Differentiator, Amazon Sponsored Products

What sets Amazon apart from Facebook and Google is that it’s an e-commerce site. While Facebook and Google can track a potential consumer all across the web and show them ads, that is, unfortunately, the extent of their participation. Amazon does the same, but it receives the conversions from ad clicks to purchases.

Currently, Google is at the top of online advertising. It would be difficult to beat a $90 billion ad business, even with Amazon’s ad business valued at about $3 billion. However, this is a transformational era for Amazon.

If 50% of Amazon’s revenue would come from advertising over the next ten years, it could earn a 20-40% margin, and perhaps even give Google a run for its ad money.

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