Why aren’t communicators engaging with LGBTQ consumers?

by | Mar 29, 2018 | Public Relations

New research from INTO and Brand Innovators finds that marketers and media agencies today are missing key opportunities to more authentically engage with LGBTQ consumers—a market that commands more than $5 trillion in global and $965 billion in domestic spending power, according to LGBT Capital.

The report, The LGBTQ Marketing Disconnect: Missed Opportunities and High Rewards, An INTO and Brand Innovators Report, finds that brands’ budgets and approaches to reach this market are not aligned with the market share, significance and scale of LGBTQ consumers worldwide.

Brand Innovators, a leading producer of conferences for the advertising and emerging technologies industry, and INTO, LGBTQ-focused social network Grindr‘s millennial-focused digital news outlet, partnered to survey thousands of individuals who identify as LGBTQ as well as hundreds of brand marketers from around the country to explore the gap between LGBTQ consumer power and brand outreach between Jan. and Feb. 2018.

LGBTQ market at a glance

LGBT Capital estimates the global LGBTQ population is about 480 million individuals with an aggregated spending power of more than $5 trillion and $965 billion in domestic spend in 2016.

Why aren’t communicators engaging with LGBTQ consumers?

LGBTQ budgets not reflective of market power

While major brands have shown much progress in demonstrating inclusivity in their marketing and advertising efforts, the survey found that there is still room for improvement.

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

That said, marketers admit they do see improvements in brand health scores when focusing on marketing to the LGBTQ community—32 percent of marketers surveyed said they’ve seen improved health scores and 22 percent said they have seen improved KPIs.

Why aren’t communicators engaging with LGBTQ consumers?

Media plans still ignore LGBTQ consumers

When asked about their current advertising and marketing plans for LGBTQ outreach, the survey found media agencies still largely ignore this community. According to the survey, only 18 percent of brand respondents are currently working on an LGBTQ-focused campaign, and 32 percent said they don’t include LGBTQ in their media planning and do not plan to do so. Of those who do not include LGBTQ-focused advertising in their media planning, nearly one-third (32 percent) said they do not include LGBTQ-focused advertising in media planning because other demographics are a higher priority.

LGBTQ consumers are receptive when ads are seen

When brands do talk, though, LGBTQ consumers listen. The survey found that not only do LGBTQ consumers pay attention, they often respond positively when brands advertise in LGBTQ media.

  • 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 brand’s 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.

Marketers must target LGBTQ community regularly

With 20 percent of millennials today identifying as LGBTQ, according to GLAAD, marketers should expand their marketing efforts to be inclusive throughout the year, not just on a seasonal basis.

According to the survey, nearly one-third (32 percent) of marketers polled said they run campaigns targeting LGBTQ consumers at least once a quarter; 17 percent noted they 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.

Why aren’t communicators engaging with LGBTQ consumers?

Consumers surveyed, however, said they respect brands more when they maintain outreach: 30 percent of individuals surveyed said they were slightly or somewhat positive toward a brand when they regularly or continually include LGBTQ themes in advertising, while even more (40 percent) said they felt very positive about that 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.

INTO names top brands LGBTQ consumers believe are the most LGBTQ-friendly

INTO polled 1,500 of its readers to find out which brands they view as the most LGBTQ-friendly, and the top findings show that there are some well-known brands who have made great impressions with LGBTQ consumers. Here’s a few of the top brands named, in alphabetical order:

  1. Absolut
  2. Apple
  3. Calvin Klein
  4. Google
  5. H&M
  6. Ikea
  7. Levi’s
  8. Nike
  9. Starbucks
  10. Target

Honorable mentions: Amazon, Disney, Gap, Grindr

Why aren’t communicators engaging with LGBTQ consumers?

Download the full report here.

All data unless otherwise noted is attributable to a survey fielded in the U.S. in January and February 2018 by Brand Innovators among 278 senior level marketing and media executives from across an array of industry verticals including retail, travel, auto and entertainment.

Grindr and INTO polled 2,600 Grindr users and 1,500 INTO readers in the U.S. in January and February 2018 to assess their views on being marketed to as LGBTQ consumers.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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