Monday, April 14, 2008

Gay Marketing Equality

Do you know how much progress your company has made in LGBT marketing?
Probably not much as you may think.

Whereas it’s true that more than half of all Fortune 500 companies are now speaking to our market – and that’s a GREAT thing – most communications come in the form of sponsorships of worthy organizations like HRC, GLAAD, NGLCC, Matthew Shepherd Foundation and more.

Brands are advertising by association, which is certainly progress. But achieving true equality means actually being treated equally. What would that look like in terms of your marketing department?

First, your Marketing Director and Brand Managers would understand the awesome buying power of LGBT consumers. Lesbian and gay Americans are projected to spend $800 Billion in 2008, and no marketer (except perhaps the brand manager of Fox News or the American Family Institute) is going to ignore that number.

Then there would be a business expectation for the LGBT market, just as there is one for the general marketing, Hispanic, African/American, Asian, and others. Accompanying that objective would be marketing strategies – advertising, direct, sponsorships, PR – to achieve the goals.

Finally, marketing dollars would be apportioned according to the opportunity.
Fairness means you treat LGBT like any other marketing segment. THAT’S equality.

And here’s the bonus your company will want to know: Treat LGBT like any other segment, treat it like a business, and it will perform like one.

To achieve equality, LGBT Americans must simply keep pushing. We’ve made progress, but our company’s marketers need to more fully understand that addressing our market isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s good business.