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How Traditional Marketing Can Expand Your LGBT Reach
Let's get one thing clear: Traditional marketing isn't dead.
Sure, digital ads can be less expensive and come with the advantage of analytics and ROI insights, but billboards, commercial broadcasts and print ads still have a unique edge, particularly with LGBT consumers.
In cities, there are often higher concentrations of LGBT people in certain neighborhoods, which means traditional media can be more effective than it is with a wider audience. By taking advantage of this opportunity, marketers can show an exceptional commitment to both their product or service and the LGBT community. Here's how.
Take It Outside
When you blow up your ad and post it somewhere like Times Square, your company is making a huge statement that millions of people will see. Take Calvin Klein, for instance. The fashion brand debuted its first same-sex ad in the heart of Midtown Manhattan and received an abundance of positive feedback from the community and mainstream media. “Same-sex couples wear jeans too, and so it's great to see this represented," LGBT advocacy group Stonewall told The Huffington Post. New York Magazine added, “[It's a] step forward for a company that just last summer was still relying on Kate Moss nostalgia to sell its products."
This doesn't mean you have to fling a billboard up on 42nd Street to market effectively. But when you're thinking about outside ads, take into consideration where your target audience travels and how frequently they will move through your chosen space. You'll want LGBT consumers to see the ad regularly, so it sticks with them.
Think about placing your ad in LGBT-centric areas, like a billboard in West Hollywood or subway cars in Hell's Kitchen. Keep these posters image-driven with few words, opting for a simple hashtag or tune-in to take your customer from outside to online.
Go On the Air
GLAAD's annual “Where We are on TV" report found a record-breaking 278 LGBT regular and returning characters across all shows in 2016-2017. Meanwhile, networks such as Logo TV air programming geared specifically to the LGBT community, while channels like Bravo and VH1 run popular shows of LGBT interest. The bottom line: As television grows increasingly more inclusive, there's an unprecedented opportunity to capture the attention of LGBT viewers.
Now, however, an additional benefit exists with on-air marketing. According to eMarketer, “146.9 million Americans will browse the web or use internet-connected apps on their phone (including chat apps) while they watch TV." Many of these users identify as LGBT. Marketers can capitalize on this hyper-connectedness by adding a call to action in their television ads, either encouraging LGBT viewers to visit a homepage or connect via social media. Both Bud Light's pro-marriage equality commercial and H&M's autumn collection video featuring transgender model-actress Hari Nef are examples of ads that employ a smart strategy for viral success.
Put It in Print
There's been plenty of hand-wringing over the supposed death of print media, but the fact is, print magazines are still alive and well. National publications like Out and The Advocate are two of the largest LGBT magazines, with a circulation of 203,000 and 175,000 respectively. By placing a print ad into an issue, you can tie your product either to a relevant article or, perhaps even better, a significant moment in history.
Tiffany & Co. offers a prime example of the latter. The jewelry company placed its ad of an engaged gay couple in a 2015 issue of Out, when discussions of marriage equality were at the top of readers' minds. “The campaign projected sentiment, emotion, and romance," wrote ReferralCandy. It also directed readers to watch online videos of couples preparing to tie the knot. “The videos were viral successes, reaching millions of eyes, and generating similar levels [through] word-of-mouth," the article continued. Many of these views were first generated from—you guessed it!—smart, in-print ad placements.
While national magazines have exceptional reach, regional publications provide marketers with the ability to target specific LGBT communities. GO, Next and Hot Spots are examples of smaller prints that are often given out for free at LGBT bars. If your product can capitalize on nightlife events, or if your demographic is LGBT urbanites who like to go out, then in-print ads in regional publications could be an effective—and cheaper—way to grow your brand within a subset of the LGBT community.
If you're looking to connect to LGBT consumers beyond digital ads and emails, look to traditional marketing as a way to demonstrate your interest in and dedication to the community. Remember, you don't always need Wi-Fi to forge powerful relationships with your audience.