ORLANDO — For corporate America, “diversity and inclusion” rose up the imperative ranks in 2018 like probably no year previously.

But those qualities are not just nice-to-haves or boxes to tick – they also lead to natural uplift in business effectiveness.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Mastercard chief marketing and communications officer Raja Rajamannar shows how adequately balancing the gender of his team produces positive results.

“Seventy-five to 85% of all purchase decisions in the world are made by women – how strange would it be to not focus on them as the primary target audience?,” Rajamannar asks. “Who can sell things better and communicate things better to a woman than another woman?”

The trouble is, women are not necessarily as equally well represented at the levers of marketing power as they are in the general buying population, Rajamannar says.

So, five years ago, MasterCard began a program to more adequately represent females in senior echelons of Rajamannar’s marketing and communication team. Now more than 70% of that team is female, including at senior level, he says.

But diversity goes beyond gender.

“You need a diversity of thinking,” Rajamannar adds. “That comes from people with different cultural backgrounds, different mindsets and that’s what you have to bring to that if you have to be successful.”

Similarly, the very role of the marketer itself is becoming diverse.

“Marketers are no longer specialists,” Rajamannar says. “They have to be general mangers. They need to understand PR. They need to understand technology. They need to understand numbers. You have to be a consumer advocate.”

The interview was conducted at the annual ANA Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando earlier this week.

This segment is from CMO Growth Council presented by the ANA and Cannes Lions.  Beet.TV coverage is sponsored by the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video.   Please find more videos from the series here.