In Part 1, we talked about defining who you’re looking to market to and what your target audience is. In this post, instead of looking outward, we’ll begin looking inward; to what makes your business your business, what your current strengths and weaknesses are, and how you can maximize your marketing effectiveness while turning your weaknesses into your opportunities. An effective assessment is a brutally honest one – if you see problems, don’t try to minimize or ignore them; figure out how to work through them quickly and effectively! This is advice that applies for all businesses, not just those oriented towards the LGBT community, but in reading this article you’ve already taken a step in the right direction and realized an opportunity for growth and business.
Having addressed some of these concerns in a previous article, this post will focus on the recent changes in marriage equality, and how effectively utilizing a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) can help you navigate a crowded marketplace and establish yourself as an LGBT friendly and supporting business.
What does your company offer the community around you? If you used some of the tips presented in Part 1 of this series, you should have a pretty good idea of whom your core base of customers is and what they’re interested in. Do you provide consultation? Live service? Sales and events that will help drive your target market and keep them interested? Remember, a key to good business is filling a service people didn’t have or didn’t know they needed. If you’re in a state that has equal marriage laws, can you show your customer base you support their rights and help fill business opportunities same-sex marriage entails? And if not, can you provide a bastion of hope and solidarity to your community while not alienating anyone? Look for what your local community needs, LGBT and otherwise, and capitalize on what you already do well to stay robust.
Admitting faults is never easy. But to improve, you have to know where and what to work on, and trying to figure out where you can do better is key for any growth. If you’ve had previous marketing or advertising ventures that were underwhelming in effect, go back and do an autopsy on them, figure out what went wrong! Lack of foresight, target audience, or simply not understanding the data in front of you are all ways even the most ambitious plans can go awry. In preparing ways to go forward, don’t forget to go back and revisit the things that need improvement.
I put these together because often, they act as two sides of the same coin; where opportunities exist comes the inevitability of competition, and where threats and weaknesses exist, the opportunity for business always lurks. If that sounds too zen for you, let me put it straight; an opportunity for your business can quickly become a threat, and a supposed weakness can be a blessing in disguise. For example, the recent Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality is certainly to be lauded and an excellent opportunity for business, but simply slapping an HRC sticker (For more information about the HRC, listen to Liz Cooper’s interview for “30 days – 30 voices”) on your business marketing and trying to cash in on the LGBT community can come across as hollow, vapid, and turn many in the LGBT community off to your business. Conversely, if your business is in a place that isn’t as LGBT friendly, establishing yourself as a supporter and ally of the community can help your business gain a strong and fiercely loyal customer base, something highly coveted in business.
These are just some very broad ways you can use a SWOT analysis for your business. In preparing any analysis, be sure to talk to as many people as you can and from as many different angles and viewpoints as you can. Talk to your coworkers, your customers, even your business rivals as you start formulating a strategy for moving ahead. And most of all, if you’re marketing to the LGBT community, talk to the LGBT community. As we’ve previously discussed, LGBT people are just as diverse and have just as many concerns as any other group of people, and by having an open, honest dialogue, you can create business opportunities you may not have known even existed.
Check out Part 3 of this series where we talk about taking your first step into marketing to the LGBT community.
Looking for the other parts of this series? Catch up on them here.
- Marriage Equality is HERE: What does your marketing say about your company? (A special 6 part series)
- Part 1 of 6: Who am I trying to market to?
- Part 2 of 6: How will I set myself apart?
- Part 3 of 6: How do I take the first step in marketing to the LGBT community?
- Part 4 of 6: What steps will I take in building networks and relationships?
- Part 5 of 6: How do I measure my success and progress along the way?
- Part 6 of 6: Bonus: The good, the bad and the ugly of LGBT Marketing.
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