Workplace Guides: Marketing

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The Business Case

In this chapter:

Really successful marketing is when businesses identify, anticipate and satisfy customer needs better than their competitors. Understanding consumers, communicating  effectively to them, and providing products or services that meet their needs are all integral to a successful business.

Why implement marketing strategies that target gay people?

Businesses stay ahead of their competitors by targeting niche markets. Nearly 1 in 16 consumers across Britain are lesbian, gay or bisexual - this is a sizeable niche market that is often overlooked. Gay consumers make up a powerful and lucrative consumer group, estimated to be worth between £70-81 billion in Britain alone.

There is evidence that ethical consumerism, where purchasing decisions are based on ethical reasons such as a business's behaviour, has grown rapidly across Britain over the last ten years. According to research carried out for The Co-operative Bank, half of UK adults purchase some products primarily for ethical reasons. Three in five choose some products or services based specifically on a company's behaviour.

Polling evidence from YouGov has found that three in five lesbian, gay and bisexual people - over two million British consumers - are more likely to buy products if they think a company is gay-friendly. Nearly half are more likely to buy products that use images of gay people to sell their products.

Pioneering businesses are seeing the benefits of marketing to gay consumers - Absolut, a vodka brand, detected a measureable uplift in sales as a result of their targeted, multifaceted and consistent campaign in engaging gay audiences.
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What do these initiatives look like?

Gay marketing refers to marketing strategies targeted strictly at gay consumers, such as advertising in media aimed at gay people or offering tailored products or services. However, increasingly gay consumers are being incorporated into businesses' mainstream marketing campaigns, which reach out not only to gay people but to their families and friends, and to cutting-edge consumers who make purchasing decisions based on their ethical lifestyles. Marketing to gay people can also mean businesses aligning themselves with high profile lesbian and gay initiatives.
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The benefits

Businesses that get their marketing and communications strategy right can win the loyalty of lesbian, gay and bisexual consumers, who between them spend £70-81 billion annually.

Marketing to gay people demonstrates a business's commitment to being fair and inclusive, building their reputation as a leading and progressive employer among gay consumers, their friends, families, and the business's employees and client base. Gay people feel like valued members of the brand vision when incorporated into a business's marketing strategy - something they have not often felt before, which significantly enhances consumer confidence and loyalty.

Half of UK adults purchase some products primarily for ethical reasons. Three in five choose products or services based specifically on a company's behaviour. Lesbian and gay consumers, their family, friends and those who simply care about the behaviour of businesses have the power to take their disposable incomes to those companies who appear to treat gay people fairly.

Businesses that market their products, services and themselves as employers to gay people send a clear signal that gay people not only exist within the business but that they are valued and included. As a result, businesses benefit from being able to recruit and retain the best people from the widest pool of talent.

At a time when the efficient use of public sector resources is under scrutiny, public service providers are becoming increasingly concerned to demonstrate that all taxpayers are targeted by their services. Marketing to gay people is a clear indicator of an organisation's commitment to considering the needs of their gay service users and employees.
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