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Working with Diverse Suppliers

In the past few years, an increase in desire and awareness towards the support of diverse suppliers has spurred clients to pursue diversity in who is working on their marketing & advertising initiatives. Diverse suppliers in the marketing space refers to agencies, media companies, production companies, and research companies owned and ran by groups historically left out or under-represented in this line of work. These under-represented groups include women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ individuals, veterans, disabled individuals, and small business owners. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has provided a helpful set of tips and resources to aid in effective collaboration with diverse suppliers. Of the 20 provided tips from the ANA, below our team at Nativa highlighted and summarized what we believe to be the 7 most valuable. See our findings below.

#1 – Supplier Diversity begins with Leadership Support

To achieve change within an organization, commitment from leadership is mandatory. Increasing supplier diversity is not possible unless the push is initiated from the top of the organization.

#2 – Finding Diverse Suppliers

When making an effort to work with diverse suppliers, there are several resources at the client’s disposal to help make the search easier. Helpful directories include those from the ANA, the 4 A’s, and AIMM. It is essential to be diligent in using these tools for ALL marketing projects.

#3 – Providing Internal Visibility

Internal divisions within an organization must collaborate to establish relationships with diverse suppliers. Communication is vital, and transparency allows for a greater chance of securing and strengthening these business relationships. All departments must know the diverse supplier resources available to them and how to contact diverse vendors quickly.

#4 – Incentivize Behavior on the Client Side

Achieving successful relationships with diverse suppliers should be incentivized within organizations. Motivating clients to meet these goals is crucial to ensuring that the organization as a whole will meet them.

#5 – Diverse Suppliers may have Smaller Staff

Expectations should be reasonably adjusted to accommodate staff volume when working with diverse suppliers. When choosing to work with diverse suppliers, it is essential to consider that the workload may require a more extensive timeline due to the smaller staff size.

#6 – Optimize the RFI/RFP Process

Consideration of working with a diverse supplier should be on the table before project goals have been drafted. As we all know, working on RFIs and RFPs can be an onerous task that may tax diverse suppliers with little staff to dedicate to this effort. It is an excellent idea to meet and discuss with diverse suppliers before starting the RFI/RFP process so that there is a mutual understanding of whether or not the supplier is a good fit for the job.

#7 – Finding Diverse Content Creators

When portraying diversity within content it is vital to consult the voices of those groups to ensure respectful and accurate portrayals. Several resources are provided that highlight people of color working in various content creation and “behind the camera” talent positions, including blkCreatives, Women who Create, and Latinxs who Design.

Check out the article on selecting diverse suppliers from the ANA and the full PDF to read in-depth about ANA’s tips for working with diverse suppliers.

Like this article? Read our 8 reasons why multicultural marketing is important.

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