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No prospective customer left behind

By Lisa Goldsberry

13904614_sIf you ignore the gay market, you may be doing so at your company’s peril

There once was a time when companies didn’t go out of their way to attract African Americans or teenagers. To ignore these markets today seems almost unthinkable.

Today, some companies have come under fire for creating policies and crafting campaigns that appear hostile to the gay community. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to ensure that your messages are inclusive and that the gay market feels welcome doing business with your company. You can adopt these strategies immediately to make sure you’re not unknowingly excluding any prospective gay customers.

Why the gay market is important to your company:

  • The gay market is estimated to have more than 800 million dollars of buying power. If this were a state, it would be the fourth largest. Some research also suggests that this market tends to have more disposable income.

  • By marketing to the gay community, you attract not only these audiences, but those who support them, as well.

  • There are more than 15 million gay adults in America, which means they comprise about 7 percent of the population and more people than the state of Pennsylvania.

  • According to research from Simmons Market Research Bureau, gay customers are more likely to own vacation homes, home theater systems and advanced technology than their heterosexual counterparts.

  • The influence of the gay community is steadily growing and it has proven to show fierce loyalty to brands that support and cater to its market.

How to make sure your business is perceived as welcoming to gays

For some companies, it can be a delicate balance to market to one community without alienating another. On the other hand, your company may be completely welcoming and even have policies which make it clear that gays are accepted. No matter which side you fall on, there are things you can do to attract the gay market.

Post signs created for this purpose, such as those which read “If you’re buying, we’re selling.” You can develop your own signage to be placed on your door or around your offices.

Include gay and lesbian people in your PR materials, on your website and in both internal and external publications.

Find ways to speak to the gay market. It isn’t necessary to be overt or blatant. For example, Subaru once ran ads which read “It’s not a choice. It’s the way we’re built,” in a nod to the gay community. Other methods include using openly gay celebrity spokespeople like Martina Navratilova, who is more famous for her superior athletic prowess and strong work ethic than for being gay. You can also look for corporate social responsibility opportunities that this market will notice.

Your policies must be well-communicated throughout your organization and all employees should receive anti-discrimination training, even if they don’t come in direct contact with customers on a daily basis. Also, make your staff more diversified, including gay and lesbian employees.

Locate news outlets that target the gay market and find out which ones may be a good fit for your company to have a presence.

Outreach efforts to the gay community should not be a one-and-done campaign, but instead you should adopt them as an overall part of your company culture.

Hire the right PR firm to handle it for you. At Axia, we can help your company be inclusive while still maintaining the brand image and customer base you’ve worked so hard to build. Using the latest PR tools and technology, we will develop campaigns that target your efforts for maximum success and profitability. Register today for our  60-Second Impact to learn how we can help you clearly demonstrate your company’s values and reach every prospective customer.

Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter @axiapr.

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Topics: public relations

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