One of my biggest expenses in my own business is apps and software, so it makes sense to me that I try, wherever possible, to use my tech budget for apps founded by feminists or founded and led by people of non-dominant identities.
That’s how I turn my apps and software into deliberate feminist decisions and feminist marketing tools.
It’s one of the ways we invest in and grow our feminist community (and an inclusive future!).
Feminist Marketing isn’t simply about wrapping external messages in a pink empowerment bow; it’s about our daily business practices — from what tech we use to which copywriting tactics we choose.
For me to choose these tools, the companies don’t need to be flawless (none are; this is capitalism; I’m trying to make the best choices possible in the system we have, not perfect choices) or tick off every single one of my desired social justice boxes…
…but they’re often so much better than their alternatives, both from a functional and community-impact perspective.
In the selection process — eg when I’m thinking I need an app or a software to solve a problem in my marketing or make it better — I use my diversity & inclusion criteria
(is the team diverse? are there people of colour in executive leadership positions? are the founders and/or CEOs people with non-dominant identities? what are their labour policies?)
as some of the ‘features’ I’m looking for in a product.
I use a Selection Matrix to compare functions of the products/services I’m considering; it includes my inclusion criterion so I can make the best, most culture-making choice.
As with every purchasing decision, I might not get every feature and function I’m hoping for, but the more the better.
Side note: This is a sample Selection Matrix that I use. I regularly share it with my clients so they can implement this feminist business practice in their platforms, too.
If you’d like to get a customizable, form-fillable pdf version of my Selection Matrix so you can use it to evaluate YOUR apps, you can download it here.
Often my social justice criteria helps me find an app that I wouldn’t otherwise have discovered, that has the features I need, and so I can choose it — and in so doing, make an investment in an inclusive present and a fairer future.
So here are a few of my core feminist marketing tools that are also founded or led by women, POC, WOC…
1) When you teach and sell online courses…
Namastream is an online teaching platform where you can store your courses AND sell them.
Cool feature: it integrates with Zoom so after a live class, you don’t have to manually upload your recordings, which has been the bane of my existence.
Namastream is founded by two feminists, Jennifer Barcelos in the USA and Sandy Connery in Canada. Sandy and Jenni declined Venture Capital from investors because it was going to distort their business model in ways they thought were destructive. So now, when they need to raise capital to finance the next round of product features, they hold low-cost workshops where they teach business skills to their user base and use that cash to cover development costs.
NOTE: Namastream is where I host my 1o week Feminist Copywriting Certification Program
2) When you want to schedule social media…
MeetEdgar is a social media scheduler that saves and then republishes your posts so you’ve got an ever-growing archive of reusable media. Massive time saver.
MeetEdgar is founded by Laura Roeder (who cofounded B-school with Marie Forleo back in the day). The MeetEdgar team includes people of color in leadership positions and the team 60+ people is substantially diverse.
3) When you want to make it easy for clients to book time with you…
Calendly is a scheduling app that integrates with your calendar. You give people a link and they can see when you’re available and book that time with you. (No more back and forth by email!)
Calendly is founded by Babatope (Tope) Awotona, a first-generation immigrant to the US from Nigeria; his company offers medical and dental coverage, flexible hours, work-from-home options, and “inclusive parental leave”.
4) When you want to create great-looking images…
I don’t have a lot of graphic design skill (none, really) and Canva makes it easy for me to put together polished images that I can quickly resize for the various platforms I use.
Canva is a bit of a unicorn, meaning it’s a company with a billion dollar valuation. Other unicorns include Google and Facebook — they’re so rare that they’re mythical creatures.
Even rarer in the realm of the unicorn: companies founded by women of colour. Women founders receive a paltry 2.2% of Venture Capital investments; the ratio is even worse when you break out the figures that apply to women of colour. According to reports from #ProjectDiane, in the last decade, startups led by black women received only .0006% of Venture Capital investment and Latinx founders received a paltry 0.32%.
Which makes the success of Canva, which was founded by Melanie Perkins, a young woman of colour from Australia, a truly remarkable story.
5) When you want to host events and sell tickets…
I use Eventbrite frequently, mostly for in-person events but also for online events. It hosts an event description, collects payment, allows you to have applications/surveys, and sends reminder emails to registrants.
Eventbrite is cofounded by Julia Hartz who is also the CEO; Eventbrite won awards for having great workplace practices and culture.
6) When you want to STOP wasting paper on printed programs for your events…
This one is a new discovery (h/t Misha Gallagher). Yapp is an app that attendees of your event/conference can download on their phones and follow the conference agenda, get additional notes/slides/resources and even connect with each other. You can also poll and survey people to get feedback on presentations and your event.
I like this a lot because it pains me to see 200 paper booklets left behind on tables after an event. That environmental waste can be prevented by using Yapp,
Yapp was cofounded in 2012 by Maria Seidman.
7) When You Want to Sell Your Creative or Digital Products Online…
Gumroad is especially good for artists and makers, but I’ve used Gumroad for Virtual/Online Summits where I’m offering tiered packages of virtual services.
For me, the great thing about Gumroad is that it does preorders. The person places their order but their card doesn’t get charged until the day of the event.
Gumroad was founded and is led by Sahil Lavingia, who was born in the US to immigrant parents from India and grew up mostly in Singapore. He founded Gumroad when he was 19 and it was originally funded by VC; since then he’s changed his business model and bought out some of his original investors so he could pursue a path of organic growth rather than striving to become a monopoly that dominates an industry. He also donates 8% of his profits to social causes, including hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico, relief efforts for floods in Kerala, funding the Presence-of-Blackness project in speculative fiction, and a Mexicanx publication.
8) When You Want to Build an Online Community but You Hate Facebook…
Mighty Networks is pretty robust, functionally, and way less addictive/noisy than Facebook so it’s a great place to host online groups, which is what it was specifically designed to do. Mighty Networks is founded and led by Gina Bianchi.
Want to use my Selection Matrix to evaluate YOUR apps and subscriptions?
One more thing…
If making sure your MARKETING PRACTICES are feminist is a non-negotiable for you…
then you might find the Feminist Copywriting Certification Program REALLY USEFUL.
It’s a 10 week course that helps you build a new copywriting foundation on informed consent, shared values, vision, and deliberate ACTION. (Quite a change from the status-quo copywriting that presses pain points, manufactures authority, fakes scarcity, leverages privilege, and deliberately triggers unconscious buying.)
You might also like these related posts:
- Feminist Marketing Tip #1025: Invest In Your Community
- Hire them When They’re Hungry. Hire them On Their Way Up.
Are Feminist Marketing Tools useful in your business? You can find more, here.