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Advancing customer diversity, equity, and inclusion: Measurement, stakeholder influence, and the role of marketing


Customer diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is an increasingly important societal issue that is intimately linked to the marketing function and yet under-explored in the marketing literature. We draw on DEI literature from related domains and theories-in-use to build a multilevel conceptual framework that identifies external and internal antecedents to an organization’s customer DEI outcomes. Evolving societal norms lead to dynamic and divergent stakeholder priorities that influence customer DEI outcomes over time. Market-based assets and marketing actions play key roles in determining customer DEI outcomes. We implement a novel approach to estimating customer characteristics and test the hypothesized relationships using a dataset featuring over 1.9 million households executing 18 million transactions at 24 nonprofit performing arts organizations over seven years. The results confirm central roles for diverging, dynamic stakeholder priorities, market-based assets, and marketing actions in driving customer DEI outcomes, resulting in increased participation for people of color but not for lower-income households.

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They wish to thank SMU DataArts and TRG Arts for providing data and Texas A&M’s GeoServices for providing geocoding services.

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Park, Y.W., Voss, G.B. & Voss, Z.G. Advancing customer diversity, equity, and inclusion: Measurement, stakeholder influence, and the role of marketing. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. (2022).

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  • Customer diversity
  • Equity and inclusion
  • Stakeholder theory
  • Racial inequality
  • Income inequality
  • Social responsibility
  • Nonprofit marketing