Does The Gay Consumer really exist?
No. THE Gay Consumer does not exist. There are at least as many groups within this demographic as there are among straight consumers: rich, old, single, hip, stingy. But: gays are álso consumers, so the gay consumer certainly exists. And is definitely interesting!
Fun Fact: certain gay portals or magazines have advertisers who opt for this medium because the target group is "men 20-34”. The sexual identity is of lesser importance to them.
A higher income? No. Gay men on average earn less than a straight guy, while lesbian women make a little more than their straight counterparts.
A higher education? No, on average their education level is the same. The obstacle of “stigma” and “coming out” that they may find on the way of their development is compensated by over-achievers.
Trendsetters? For sure there could be gay trendsetters, but in absolute numbers not more than straights.
Fun fact: straights more often consider gays to be trendsetter, than gays do themselves. But it could also become a self-fuliling prophecy: “My gay neighbor only wears red clothes this summer. It is probably all the rage.”
LGBT or just gay?
The politically correct term is LGBT. However, politics play a minor role in Marketing. It concerns four quite different groups of people, with different spending patterns. The "B" is practically invisible - still - and the "T" is a very small group, so for marketing purposes it suffices to talk about the “L” and the “G”. These can be summed up by “gay”.
Fun fact: to be véry politically correct, the organisation of the Toronto Pride named their festival “LGBTTIQQ2SA” (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/Questioning, 2 Spirited, Allies) for a while. And still, some people would feel excluded.
For whom is Marketing the Rainbow interesting?
Not every company, brand or organization is able to successfully address the gays. You should have something to offer. This was especially evident in the travel industry: countries, regions and cities have successfully positioned themselves as gay-friendly. But also car brands, real estate agents, insurers, health clubs, alcoholic beverages and cosmetics have succeeded in binding the gay consumer. And because of a higher brand loyalty: keeping them.
Fun fact: the gay tourist travels more often, longer and spends (much) more. On top of that they are not bound to school holidays and can travel out of season. The ideal customer!
How does Marketing the Rainbow work?
It's a strategy, not a tactic. A one-off campaign - for instance during Pride - will be seen as opportunistic and as 'pinkwashing', more than as a well-meant support of, or real interest in the target group. This can seriously backfire. It is important to show sincere interest, appreciation or even support.
Where do I find the gay consumer?
That is somewhat more complicated. They are not registered as L, G, B or T, like women would have an F-marker, or like elderly people can be identified by date of birth. Judging by the looks is dangerous. In the Netherlands they do not live in gayborhoods, so you cannot use billboards or door-to-door advertising, or hand out flyers on the street. Even the largest lifestyle magazines have a limited circulation. Nightlife has greatly diminished due to the surge of metrosexuality, the Millennials and the internet. However, they do form "communities”, unite in associations of hobby clubs, have an LGBT platform at work or visit web portals that have something to offer.
Why is the gay consumer intersting?
Apart from the fact that most of the LGBT are childless, so have a higher disposable income en more free time to spend it, it has been proven that gays are brand loyal. They are prepared to pay more or travel further if the supplier is supportive. After all, many will have had a somewhat 'misunderstood' youth while plenty of grownups are still having a hard time - so when they are being recognized, acknowledged and appreciated, this will have a positive efect on their patronage and loyalty.
Fun Fact: Absolut vodka has been the absolute champion in gay marketing for decades, because they have consistenly sponsored, advertised and supported the community and issues like same-sex marriage. Because gays are often seen as trendsetters, this helped them become the worldwide number 3 brand in vodka.
What is the secret?
KIDS! Or rather the lack thereof: in 90% of LGBT households there are no kids (as opposed to 20% vin straight circles). Kids cost a LOT of money and a LOT of time, two factores that make that a consumer without children is very interesting.
Fun fact: the same applies to childfree straight people, but these are very difficult to find!