Marketing to the LGBT Community

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It’s Just Good Business

If you need evidence that the LGBT community is a legitimate market segment, you need not look any further than the brilliant commercial Amazon did for the Kindle Paperwhite with the attractive man & woman on the beach – both were using a tablet to read. The gentleman was fighting glare on his I-Pad. The attractive woman suggested the Kindle Paperwhite. He clicked to order one and suggested they celebrate! She replied that her husband was bringing her a drink right now. He smiled and said, “so is mine”; the camera turning to show the 2 men at the bar.

Perhaps you are a fan of numbers. How about $790 billion? That is the spending power of American LGBT households.

More and more advertisers are reaching out to LGBT consumers with ads that are specifically targeted to them. Most of these products are not at all LGBT specific, but the key to their effectiveness is that they are LGBT inclusive without obvious pandering.

Punch lines, stereotypes and clichés don’t sell.

American Airlines, JC Penney, Crate & Barrel, and Cover Girl are just a few savvy marketers who “get it.”

We want to see the message, but without the Pride Flag. Just include us.

In a recent article published in the Huffington Post, Mark Elderkin, CEO of the Gay Ad Network, which focuses on the LGBT niche market, said mainstream gay messaging has “passed the tipping point, where there’s more to gain than there is to lose” for advertisers.

“It seems to be moving quickly forward. It’s companies that want to be more on the leading edge, more for the next generation of this country,” Elderkin said. “It’s not your parents’ brand anymore. It’s your brand and your kids’ brand.”

If you think about your product or business, chances are good that it isn’t so exclusive or niche that it is targeted only to households with a mom and a dad and 2.5 kids. More likely, it is a brand like Cover Girl that is targeted to women, or the Kindle, which is looking to reach people who read. Sexual orientation is really beside the point.

Research has shown that LGBT consumers tend to be very loyal to companies that stand by them but they are also pretty vocal in protesting those that go out of their way not to.  (A certain pasta brand has most recently felt the sting)

The “risk/reward” of advertising to the LGBT consumer is now almost completely tilted to the “reward” side. There really is no risk. Look at the pretty much universal love for Ellen DeGeneres. Her show is a wonderful example of the kind of advertising that will most effectively reach the LGBT audience – her show happens to have a hostess who is a married lesbian – but it’s not a show “about” lesbians. It’s just…normal.

By Leslie McMurray, a member of the LGBT community and content creator at Forward Push.


By Marc Apple

Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.


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