This post is part 2 of a 3 part series that explores the reason why you are interested in marketing to the LGBT community. In part 1 I gave you a few things to think about and even provided a worksheet to help you through the process. You can go back and see part 1 and get the worksheet here, if you missed it.
I explained to you that the very first questions I ask any potential customer is “What’s your why? Why do you want to market to the LGBT community?” Depending on their response will usually guide whether or not I feel like we are a good match to work together. The majority of the time I hear some great whys, some very heartfelt, genuine, sincere and authentic reasons why the LGBT community matters to them. The whys have ranged from “My daughter is gay and I want to support her in my business” to “I have a lot of LGBT employees and I want to make their work environment a place where they don’t have to worry about who they are.” These are the whys I like to hear and make helping these folks much easier because they are authentic.
With that being said I do come across whys that are terrible. I am going to share with you a poor example of a why and show you how it becomes a dead end in your business. In part 3 we will dive into how you can take your authentic why and turn it into part of your company story that will resonate with the LGBT community.
Let me set the scene for you to have an understanding of how this event transpired.
Often marketing or advertising agencies reach out to me when they have a client who wants to incorporate an LGBT marketing initiative into a larger marketing plan. I am usually called in to aid in the development of this one piece of the plan because I bring the LGBT marketing expertise to the table for them. I am then just considered part of their team, which I enjoy doing – it’s fun work!
In one case I had an advertising agency reach out to me for this exact reason. They had a client who was interested in the LGBT community and asked if I would be a part of their discovery meeting. The advertising agency was smart and asked them to provide a sheet in advance that asked them what made them want to reach out to the LGBT market – brilliant on their part. Having this information at the meeting was critical.
So I walk into this meeting with a 100% open mind already having brainstormed how I can help this ad agency and their client in reaching the LGBT market. I sit down with the owners of the ad agency and the owners of what I now know to be a financial firm. The two gentleman who owned the financial firm were white men in their late 60’s to early 70’s.
We begin talking and I look at the sheets they had prepared in advance as to what their whys were and I immediately knew this wasn’t going to be an easy conversation. The number one reason they cared about the LGBT community was because research shows they have a higher disposable income with less children to spend their money on. In marketing lingo they are commonly referred to as DINKs, Dual Income No Kids (click here for more info on what DINK’s are.)
Let’s be clear – you are reading this because you want to know more about how to reach the LGBT community and subsequently make money. Yes, building your business, gaining LGBT market share, increasing your bottom line are your primary objectives – however it is the way in which you go about it that is the KEY piece here. These two gentleman were very blatant in their lack of understanding or care to understand the LGBT community. It is one thing when a person has a tough time articulating why the community matters and it is an entirely different thing when a person really doesn’t care to. This case was the latter.
The conversation really did seemingly get worse over the 90 minutes we spent together. They were both using the term ‘homosexual’ as if it were no big deal. If you are unfamiliar with why using the word homosexual, in any context, is a major faux pas, read this blog post.
At the end of the day, I chose not to do business with this ad agency or their client. It would have been a nice piece of business but ultimately my reputation is worth much more. I did not want to align myself and be known as someone who was helping this inauthentic company reach the LGBT community. Whether or not they are reaching out to the community, I don’t know. But what I do know is, if they are, they are going to hit a dead end. The LGBT community is a loyal group of people and will see right through this company’s inauthentic ways without a doubt. Why waste your money marketing to a group that you don’t care about? It doesn’t make much sense to me. And hopefully now you know a little bit more so it doesn’t make sense to you either.
For more info on LGBT brand loyalty check out this post and check out part 3 of this series where we go into taking your solid why and transforming it into your company story to reach the LGBT market in an authentic way. It’ll be worth coming back for, promise!