Within the last five or ten years, eco-friendly marketing has become a staple in mainstream media.  Companies the world over rallied to the cause, added recycling messages to their containers and used the word 'green' until the new politically-correct meaning practically supplanted its reference to the chromatic hue.

Similarly, over the last 12 months or so, corporate recognition [and endorsement] of the mighty gay dollar has increased dramatically.  Nike publicly offered a very lucrative endorsement package for the first sports superstar who 'came out'.  American Airlines launched a website specifically designed toward LGBT travel packages.  Subaru has featured same-gender couples in numerous video and print ads.  And the list goes on.

Apparently in an effort to not alienate their gay customers [or to attract new ones], companies such as Xerox, GEICO and SkyTel Communications have all pulled their advertising from Dr. Laura’s radio show, while Procter & Gamble has pledged not to advertise on her upcoming television program this fall. This is further evidence of the significance of the LGBT market to even the largest of corporate advertisers.  

“Companies are more interested in the gay market than ever,” says John Aravosis, president of Wired Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based online marketing and consulting company and co-founder of StopDrLaura.com. “They’re treating gay and lesbian employees with more respect than ever, and they’re becoming more aware that anti-gay prejudice is wrong.

Although for decades, the standard assumption is that the LGBT market comprises approximately ten percent of the overall US market, precise numbers are hard to identify.  Many gay consumers may not identify in polls and surveys as part of the LGBT community, and the figures do not take into account the throngs of straight or bisexual allies who may be impacted by anti-gay [or insensitive] advertising. Recent sentiments regarding the
Supreme Court rulings on DOMA and Prop 8 underscore this concern.  In any event, the gay-influenced market is clearly a large minority and definitely worth factoring into any marketing plan.

Demographics aside, consumer loyalty is reportedly higher among the LGBT-supportive consumers than the general public.  Much like other minorities, gay consumers search out and support businesses that have favorable policies and actively target their community.  This alone is adequate justification for most advertisers since it is far more expensive to attract new customers, which is inevitable if your client base is not loyal.

The solution?  Remember how well-received the 'green' movement was and consider the LGBT market when it's time to review your advertising and marketing plans.  You'll be amazed at the response.

See www.Channel125.com or www.GayTVatlanta.com for examples of simple animated banners and slideshow ads. Or contact me at wowart@yahoo.com or www.theARTofHYPE.com/contact.php for additional information.
More blogs at www.theARTofHYPE.com/gimme-5.php and more thoughts on small business atwww.theARTofHYPE.com/ramblings.php.  Local Atlanta info at www.theWOWbiz.com and www.theWOWbiz.info