Inclusivity in Marketing Matters for Your Autism Treatment Center

inclusive marketing

Forbes recently reported that 61% of Americans1 say diversity in advertising is important. And 38% of consumers are more likely to trust in and purchase from a brand that promotes diversity in their marketing campaigns. At the same time, 66% of Black and 53% of Latino and Hispanic Americans say the advertising portrayals they see of their culture are stereotypical.2 

So what does this mean for your autism treatment center and your digital marketing strategy? 

The expectations we have for marketing campaigns have changed drastically, even from just a few years ago. Today, 71% of consumers expect diversity and inclusivity in advertising.3 These demands have been supported by consumers who aren’t afraid to publicly call out all types of companies that haven’t been responsive. That negative attention can be swift, damaging, and unforgiving.4

Taking a hard look at your autism treatment center, does your current digital marketing strategy measure up to today’s standards of diversity and inclusivity?

Inclusive Marketing Matters

When we discuss who your marketing is intended for, we use words like “ideal client,” “target audience,” and “patient avatar.” While these are accurate descriptions, they don’t tell the whole story. Labels like these are a divide between your marketing and the truth: you create your digital strategy to attract real people. And those real people want to see themselves in your advertising. They say inclusive marketing matters, so it does.5

Your potential clients and their families have options, and they’re not afraid to use that power to shape what they see in advertising spaces. Everyone wants to feel like they belong. But, even more so, they want to believe they’ll be welcome at your autism treatment center. Seeing themselves in your advertising connects you with those future clients and strengthens your relationship with current patients.

Requiring Representation in a Diverse World 

Brands that don’t represent diverse populations in their marketing don’t only stop gaining new business, they actually lose out on business they already have. Marketing that only shows one race or age-range is off-putting to the diverse population that you know is looking for autism care services.

Individuals with disabilities make up just 1.1% of advertisements.6 But, according to the CDC, 27% of the U.S. population lives with a disability.7 In June 2023, the annual Advertising Visibility Index reported that, in a sample of 436 national ads from the top 10 advertisers, just 3% included LGBTQ representation.8 In contrast, a February 2023 Gallup poll shows that 7.2% of U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ.9 When marginalized populations like these don’t feel welcomed by your marketing and then see another autism treatment center marketing with diversity and inclusion, they will most certainly make a change.

Representation vs. Stereotyping

The goal of inclusive marketing is to connect with groups that have been underrepresented in the past. But you can’t just throw together a campaign based on what you think you know about that underrepresented group. That path is the quickest route from representation to stereotyping. You want inclusive marketing, of course. But a poorly executed inclusive marketing campaign can cause damage to even the most sterling professional reputation.

Consider this: the simpler the representation, the greater the risk of stereotyping. Humanity is complex, and all types of marketing have an impact on perception.10 If the message you’re communicating reinforces prevailing negative cultural stereotypes, you’ve not only alienated your current and potential clients, you’ve also caused further harm to an already marginalized population.

For many of your patients and their families, navigating the impact of negative stereotyping is a part of daily life. We live in a society that often doesn’t understand or take the time to learn more about autism spectrum disorder. Building trust with your patients begins with inclusive marketing that avoids stereotyping.

Stereotyping thrives in formulaic tropes and clichéd narratives. Your marketing campaigns aren’t just an opportunity to generate new leads. They’re also a chance to contribute to changing the narrative for those who’ve been made to feel “other” for generations. 

Fostering Relationships 

You’re nothing without your client relationships. Patients and their families don’t just leave providers that don’t show inclusivity in their marketing. Fifty-nine percent of people say they consciously choose to work with those that do.11 And those relationships are stable with 59% of people confirming they’re more loyal to brands whose marketing reflects the reality of our multi-faceted society.  

Whether purposeful or not, the choices you make for your marketing campaigns create a personality for your autism treatment center. That personality sends a message to your potential clients about who will be welcome and who will thrive in your programs.  

Ready to Make Your Marketing More Inclusive? 

If your autism treatment center was a person, would they be someone you would trust and want to spend time with? Inclusive marketing can help you achieve that goal. Contact Dreamscape Marketing today at 888.307.7304 to schedule a strategy session and learn more about creating your program’s inclusive persona.



For a list of references, please contact us.