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Not All LGBTQ Marketing is the Same
Marketing campaigns to the LGBTQ community have traditionally featured one predominant group: gay, white, cisgender men. And while brands may think they have LGBTQ covered as long as they have one queer person represented, they're actually failing to tap into some major buying power by restricting their efforts to this particular demo.
Lesbians, trans people, bisexuals and other groups are underrepresented in and under-targeted by marketing campaigns. Which means your business has an excellent opportunity to stand out.
Here are a variety of unexplored opportunities to consider when marketing your business to LGBTQ consumers.
Earning Visibility Among Lesbian Consumers
Businesses often neglect to market to lesbians because of limiting stereotypes about their preferences and interests. They're routinely grouped together with queer men in corporate messaging, which doesn't work.
It's also unnecessary. There's plenty of consumer research available which can inform your efforts to personalize your marketing.
For example, by taking a look at this report from Accenture, you'd discover that 67 percent of women in same-sex couples would like to have kids in the future as compared to 32 percent of men. You might consider making family-related topics a focus of your messaging to lesbian consumers and add them to the range of customers featured in your advertisements about family-friendly products and services.
Where you reach your base is just as important as what you say. Lesbian and bisexual women are more than twice as likely as heterosexual consumers to be adults who grew up with mobile devices and can't imagine life without them. With that data in mind, your company might decide to focus on reaching lesbians using mobile-first marketing campaigns.
Formal market research isn't your only source. Review the blogs and publications aimed at lesbian readers, such as Autostraddle, AfterEllen and Curve to identify potential advertising opportunities, learn more about the topics of interest and understand how to better contribute to the conversations these consumers are having.
The takeaway here: To reach lesbian customers the right way, tailor your messaging to their experience as a consumer and share this marketing on the channels where they are most active.
Marketing to LGBTQ People of Color
According to The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, there are more than 1 million LGBTQ African Americans, 325,000 LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islanders and 1.4 million LGBTQ American Latinos in the U.S. And yet they are vastly underrated when it comes to marketing campaigns.
While this presents a significant opportunity for your business, take heed and avoid placing all LGBTQ people of color in the same bucket. Instead, take the time to understand the culture, interests and passions of a particular group and how their gender expression and/or sexual identity intersects with their race.
One way to start is by finding out where they live. For example, according to The Williams Institute same-sex couples with an African-American householder tend to be concentrated in the southern U.S., California and across most of the states on the east coast. Targeting LGBTQ African Americans across the entire country, then, would be far less effective than focusing on the areas where a majority of this demographic resides.
Organizations that support LGBTQ communities are another great resource. Consult with them to better understand a particular group's interests and challenges. For instance, there are multiple organizations that support the LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander community and could provide information on how to best engage with them. These include the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, the Gay Asian Pacific Support Network, Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York and many others.
These groups not only provide valuable guidance on reaching your target consumers, but can also help you find ways to become involved in events and demonstrations of support, which will in turn raise your profile within these communities.
Building Trust with the Trans Community
The transgender community is one of the most dynamic of the LGBTQ demographic, and has had a major impact on improving inclusivity for all LGBTQ people — yet its received the least amount of credit.
Some 700,000 people in the U.S. identify as transgender. That's 0.3 percent of American adults. While corporate advertising and an upswell of activism have helped sink legislation restricting trans rights, there's more to be done.
For brands to reach the transgender community they need to understand their interests and experiences, but above all, be willing to take action and use their platform to support trans equality. You can do this by including transgender customers in brand advertising, hire trans models, actors and staff for marketing campaigns and drive necessary attention to leading issues facing the community, like lack of access to healthcare and discrimination in the workplace.
Building trust across your potential customer base is important, but showcasing that your organization is interested in understanding LGBTQ people — of all walks of life — is the first step towards connecting with them in a significant way.