blogPosted on: April 03, 2012 by: Jason Kallen
Targeting the LGBT Market
Targeting niche markets can pay off in spades. Done properly, a business can create a connection with that community so that it is top-of-mind when they are shopping for your product or service. Businesses that are seen as supportive of a specific market segment enjoy endorsement and patronage from its members. Done poorly, however, and the results can be embarrassing or even disastrous.
The LGBT (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender) community is a controversial market segment that many businesses have gone out of their way to support with targeted advertising. Examples include Kimpton Hotels, Subaru, Apple, and Levi’s. These advertisers risk alienating a certain percentage of the population with their gay-friendly policies and advertising, so why do they do it? The advantages are many:
- Gay consumers are extremely loyal to brands they see as gay-friendly. In fact, 68% of gay and lesbian consumers say they are more likely to buy from a company they consider gay-friendly - a perception based on advertising and word-of-mouth.
- Brands that feature gay imagery in their advertising are looked upon more favorably by the LGBT market. 71% of gay and lesbian consumers said they have a more positive impression of companies that run gay-themed advertising.
- Gays and lesbians are early adopters when it comes to embracing new products and trends. Since they are also more than twice as likely to seek advice from their friends and peers, a new product offering can benefit greatly from the LGBT market.
- Gays and lesbians spend over $600 billion every year.
- The LGBT community over-indexes in categories such as affluence and education level. The average annual income for a gay household is $61,000, 20.4% higher than in a heterosexual household. And 83% of gays and lesbians have attended and/or graduated from college.
- Research shows that gays and lesbians absorb more media than heterosexual consumers - especially TV and print.
Interested in marketing to the LGBT community yet?
Great! But be sure to avoid these common mistakes:
- It’s not necessary to be flamboyant in efforts to appeal to gay consumers. The market will appreciate subtle gestures, such as including “partner” in a print ad.
- Advertising need not be overtly sexual to be effective... however, as with any advertising, sex sells.
- Don’t think that running a few print ads in the local gay newspaper will change your brand image overnight and get people talking. Consider an integrated advertising plan, including several different types of media vehicles and sponsorship of gay events, to get viable brand visibility.
- Embracing the LGBT market must go deeper than advertising. There’s nothing more disappointing to the community than a feeling of unwelcomeness after being invited to a supposed gay-friendly business. An in-house diversity training program goes a long way to bolstering a gay-friendly advertising campaign.
So don’t be afraid to be fabulous in your advertising - but be sure you have a supportive business environment to back it up!