Many marketers are aware of the significant opportunity of the $790 billion dollar lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT or "gay") market.* LGBTs over-index in many categories (travel, spirits, automotive, among others) or have unique, often underserved needs (financial services and healthcare, for example) that make them a prime prospect for brand growth.
But what is the most effective way to advertise to LGBTs? Can you simply run your general market creative or add gay cultural "cues" to an existing ad? Do you need to create a gay-targeted ad? The surprising answer is all of the above...depending on your brand, category, competition, and what is relevant and motivating to LGBTs. An experienced LGBT-targeted advertising agency can help you answer these questions, and successfully add LGBTs to your roster of brand loyalists. At Prime Access, we've been doing that for 20 years. Here's some free advice to help you get started.
Become BFFs with LGBTs
A successful marketing effort begins with a deep understanding of the target. Work with an LGBT-focused agency to identify the right mix of research and build a solid strategic base for your LGBT effort. Find out how LGBTs experience the category. Discover their needs and perceptions of your brand and your competitors'. Is your brand's positioning and strategy relevant to a gay audience, or are adjustments needed? Answers to these and other questions will start you down the right path.
Gay for Pay
Now the question of creative. If you have a perfectly good campaign in the general market, can you run it in gay media? If the LGBT insights identified are the same as or similar to the general market insights, perhaps. Product-focused ads may work well in this scenario. If your ad features heterosexual couples or interactions, absolutely not. You might as well place an ad for your competition. Straight ads in gay media are disrespectful and noticed by LGBTs. They will turn off gay consumers from your brand. Carefully consider your current campaign and seek advice from LGBT advertising experts.
Over the Rainbow
As the gay market began to take shape over 20 years ago, brands used a simple device to communicate that they were gay-friendly-a rainbow. The rainbow is a symbol of LGBT pride and, in the early days of gay advertising, it was a quick, simple way to win over the market. Well, the market has evolved and hundreds of brands are courting gay consumers. Today, your LGBT efforts need to take a more sophisticated approach to winning over the market and capturing brand loyalty. A rainbow can still be used as a brief symbol of LGBT support, but it is no longer sufficient to differentiate your advertising or your brand.
The clearest path to a successful LGBT marketing effort is to use gay-targeted creative. Twenty-one years of Prime Access proprietary and client research has consistently shown that gay-targeted creative significantly outperforms general market creative among gay audiences in relevancy and intent to take action. LGBTs respond better when they see themselves and their sensibilities authentically reflected in advertising. If you are going to invest in paid media, your creative should maximize your investment by generating the strongest results.
The LGBT market is ripe with opportunity for brands that engage consumers in a strategic, authentic way. The sophistication required to be successful in this market demands an experienced, specialized agency. Prime Access is the leader in gay and multicultural marketing. Visit us at www.prime-access.com to get started.
*Source: Witeck-Combs Communications, 2012.
Angela Walker Campbell
VP, Executive Creative Director
345 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001