Marketer’s Misguided Disconnect with the LGBTQ Community

Posted on by Patty Odell

Marketers and media agencies are missing a number of key opportunities to authentically engage with LGBTQ consumers, a massive audience about 480 million individuals strong.

Budgets are not living up to audience size and buying power: This community commands more than $5 trillion in global and $965 billion in domestic spending power, according to LGBT Capital.

marketing to LGBTQ
Media agencies still largely ignore the LGBTQ community with only 18 percent of brand respondents currently working on an LGBTQ-focused campaign.—INTO/Brand Innovators.

So what are marketers thinking? A new report from INTO and Brand Innovators has the answers:

• Media agencies still largely ignore this community with only 18 percent of brand respondents currently working on an LGBTQ-focused campaign
• 32 percent said they don’t include LGBTQ in their media planning and do not plan to do so.

Just over a third, 38 percent, said the reason they don’t include LGBT-advertising and marketing in media planning is because other demographics are a higher priority. Responses to the survey around budgets for LGBTQ marketing align with that thinking:

• 53 percent of marketers said they only allocate between 0 percent and 4 percent on LGBTQ consumers annually;
• 3 percent said they allocate 20 percent or more annually;
• 15 percent allocate between 10 percent and 19 percent of their budgets; and 29 percent between 5 percent and 9 percent.

Those small budgets proved out in the frequency of campaigns targeting LGBTQ. Thirty-two percent of marketers polled said they run campaigns targeting this community at least once a quarter; 17 percent y run campaigns targeting Millennials weekly—compared to just 3 percent who do so for LGBTQ.

More marketers surveyed (21.4 percent) said they run campaigns aimed at LGBTQ seasonally or annually than they do with other demographic segments—more than likely efforts that are tied to June’s Gay Pride Month, the survey said.

Despite the low dollars spent and lack of interest in this community, marketers did report that they do see improvements in brand health scores when marketing to the LGBTQ community. Not only do LGBTQ consumers pay attention, they often respond positively when brands advertise in LGBTQ media, The LGBTQ Marketing Disconnect: Missed Opportunities and High Rewards report found.

• 35 percent of consumers surveyed said they are more likely to purchase from the brand when advertising includes LGBTQ themes and people;
• 70 percent of respondents said a brands reputation as LGBTQ-friendly—or not—has directly influenced a purchase they have made;
• Nearly half (47 percent) of those polled said a campaign that is inclusive of LGBTQ people or themes has directly influenced a purchase they have made;
• And, 33 percent said that advertisements they’ve seen in LGBTQ media have influenced a decision about a purchase.

With 20 percent of Millennials today identifying as LGBTQ, according to GLAAD, INTO and Brand Innovators suggest marketers expand their marketing efforts to be inclusive throughout the year, not just on a seasonal basis.

Some 40 percent of consumers surveyed said they felt very positive about a brand when they see continual outreach; just 16 percent said they felt positive toward a brand when they see LGBTQ campaigns during Pride Week only, a signal that that marketing may be disingenuous.

Related articles:

Marketers’ Most Wanted: LGBT

The Importance of Diversity in Marketing Strategy

Marketing to the LGBTQ Community: How to Get it Right


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by Patty Odell

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