This post was first published on LinkedIn.
Avenue loves our collaboration with Alexis Braly-James and Construct the Present. Working together has enabled our company to create a safe, open and inspiring space to learn, share, get uncomfortable and connect in a powerful way on our personal and shared anti-racism journeys. Not only do these experiences empower us to build shared knowledge and understanding around anti-racism, they also facilitate vulnerable connection, trust-building and rapport. The sessions with Construct the Present and our internal, team-led anti-racism meetings are consistently noted as the meetings our team most looks forward to each month.
We have been particularly uplifted by the work we’ve done with Construct the Present to launch an anti-racism initiative aimed at combating digital bias. Together, we gathered information via this survey to identify pain points experienced by businesses owned by members of marginalized groups. You can read more about the project in this article on A JEDI Approach to Redistributing Power in the Digital Landscape.
In this post, we’ve shared a summary of the survey results and insights.
Combating Digital Bias Survey Results
Another data point that inspired Avenue to launch this project was the work we do with approximately 8-14 women and BIPOC entrepreneurs each year in partnership with Prosper Portland and Mercatus. On an ongoing basis, Avenue provides digital marketing consultation and business coaching to BIPOC business owners. Through this work, we have witnessed the barriers and pain points experienced by business owners from historically underrepresented communities and have been inspired to take action.
With this initiative, our goal is to start to democratize knowledge rather than gatekeeping it, as so much of the industry does, knowingly and unknowingly. Avenue will use the data and insights from this survey to create free, accessible and customized resources and blog content to help historically underrepresented business owners succeed.
A summary of the survey questions we asked and the insights we garnered are below. You can also visit this page to view the full infographic, survey results, find our future digital marketing resource library and view our Combating Digital Bias Series content on our blog.
Which of the below identifiers best resonates with you as a business owner? Over 50% of respondents identified as Black-owned or BIPOC-owned, while 17.4% identified as LGBTQ+-owned and 4.3% as Other.
What types of digital and/or social media marketing activities do you do now? Overwhelmingly, business owners cited Social Media and Organic Search as their primary digital and/or social media marketing activities.
How would you categorize your business? Approximately two-thirds of respondents identified as Retail or Personal Care & Services businesses. The next two largest categories of respondents were Advertising/Marketing/PR businesses at 13% and Food & Dining at 8.7%. Consulting, Influencer/Content Creator and Other all came in at ~4.4% each.
What challenges have you faced competing for organic visibility on social media, search engines (Google, Bing, etc.), or paid digital advertising (Facebook Ads, Google Ads, etc.)? The top two challenges that business owners reported facing are Challenges Understanding Analytics at 73.9% and the High Cost of Advertising at 69.6%. AI/Algorithmic Bias and Lack of Access to Consulting were the next highest at 39.7% and 39.1%. Shout out to Prosper Portland’s Digital Marketing Program and Xxcelerate’s coaching program that both address this challenge (lack of access to consulting).
What’s Next for this Data?
Since concluding our survey, Avenue has begun developing free educational content to help BIPOC and LGBTQIA+-owned businesses succeed. Topics are guided by the survey insights and range from introductory learning content to advanced resources on analytics, shadowbanning and more. We are sharing these insights and resources publicly via our Combating Digital Bias Series on Avenue’s blog. Stay tuned and follow along as we roll out more free content to address these pain points.
Please feel free to share your questions and feedback with us in the comments!
And finally, a BIG thank you to the team at Construct the Present for empowering and collaborating with us to do this work. 💛
For additional reading, please check out these resources from Avenue on combating bias in digital marketing: