The LGBT Community: A Possible Target Market?

Gay entrepreneur, and owner of The Omyx Club, Edward Johnson explains why your small business should be targeting the 'pink pound'

The LGBT Community: A Possible Target Market?

Below I have outlined some reasons for targeting the ‘pink pound’, and as an owner of a gay-focused business myself, some key considerations that should be taken into account when doing so.

Purchasing power

It’s estimated that in the UK alone the ‘pink pound’ purchasing power is around £6bn every year. That’s a substantial market and one that certainly shouldn’t be ignored by businesses.

Over the past few years there has been a considerable investment into the drive for equality and diversity. The pink pound isn’t just about appealing to a more diverse audience though.

It’s about appealing to an audience with a higher than average disposable income, a highly trend-conscious audience and perhaps most importantly of all, a growing audience. The number of people who identify as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) is on the increase and has consistently increased over the past decade too. Now, more than ever, people feel they can be themselves.

Following suit

Recently, there have been several high-profile companies making the decision to include gay couples in their advertising campaigns. These companies reaching out to the pink pound include Tiffany & Co, Doritos, Absolut Vodka, Lloyds TSB and Calvin Klein, to name but a few. These brands can clearly see the value in doing so and it’s time other businesses do too.

That’s not to say that for your business to be visible and favoured in the LGBT community that your campaign must feature same-sex couples. However it does help in advocating appreciation of the LGBT customer.

The bigger picture involves campaign placement and ensuring that your marketing campaigns, if you have them, are being shared in relevant places. Where are you advertising, and who are you engaging? Is your message reaching the LGBT consumer?

Brand reputation

Having a diverse network of employees can help your cause too. As mentioned previously, that’s part of the reason some multinationals have been investing millions into their internal workforce diversity and equality programmes; word does spread and people find out.

As a gay man myself, I know which companies have a good reputation and which ones don’t. There have been times in the past where I’ve boycotted companies because of rumoured homophobia. You only have to do a quick search on Google to find cases of the LGBT community boycotting companies and products as a result of homophobic CEO’s remarks, political support and even country of origin.

Last year Russian vodka brands were heavily tarnished because of the increased homophobic attacks. It’s one of the reasons why Smirnoff invested so much money into promoting their drinks to the LGBT community and sponsoring gay pride parades – they understood how critical it was to win-over support again.

Choose Your Outlets Carefully

Creating an advertising campaign with same-sex couples, and promoting diversity in the workplace, isn’t necessarily as straightforward as it sounds.

If you’re a smaller company with a smaller marketing budget then you probably can’t afford to set-up a separate campaign focused on the LGBT community as, depedning on your business, it’s likely to be a smaller segment than your primary market.So, you’re left with working out the most effective places to advertise your campaign that will reach the pink pound.

Unfortunately, that’s a bit of a problem for a lot of companies. There are many pretty substantial apps out there for LGBT dating. One factor to consider though might be brand reputation. Some of these apps on the market are focused around hook-ups and instant gratification, rather than more serious dating. The idea of putting your advertising campaign next to a topless dating profile might not be right for your brand.

This isn’t your only option though. There are news websites and apps focused on covering LGBT stories, there are more serious dating websites out there and there are also options to target your campaigns through social media and other channels too. It’s worth doing; a market with the purchasing power that this market has, shouldn’t be ignored.

Part of the offering I’m hoping to build for businesses with new gay lifestyle club, The Omyx Club, is the ability to target a more discerning gay male market with the safety that your brand reputation will stay in tacked and the reassurance that you’re reaching an influential market with a larger than average disposable income.

Edward Johnson is CEO and founder of The Omyx Club

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