The recent COVID-19 pandemic has turned consumer behavior upside down, but in recent days we have seen states begin to devise and, in some cases, implement their strategies for slowly reopening. Although this will surely be a long and tedious process, it is important that your company develop a marketing strategy to get ahead of the curve, for lack of a better phrase.
During a normal year, corporations compete for LGBTQ buyers using traditional and sometimes antiquated methods, such as gay Pride events and circuit parties. However, this year many of those larger events have been canceled or postponed. And even if a Pride event is now scheduled for October/November, chances are that attendance will be lower than in previous years.
With more than $1 trillion dollars of buying power and a lot of disposable income, the LGBTQ community will most likely come out in force when the country reopens for business. History and research have shown that this community is one of the first to resume travel and shopping after periods of uncertainty. Without large scale events as an advertising vehicle, your business needs to think outside the box to reach these customers.
Here are some ideas to make your organization top of mind for LGBTQ community:
Start Marketing Now!
If everyone waits until the country is fully operational, your business will be competing with hundreds of others for the same customers. Why not be one of the first movers in the space and gain a bit of an advantage over the competition? Start your marketing and public relations efforts now, especially since you cannot count on a Pride event to reach LGBTQ consumers. Advertising in local LGBTQ media [like this paper] is relatively inexpensive and a great way to support the community. Yes, people still read print publications, especially in niche markets.
Support LGBTQ Charities
Sponsoring a gay Pride event should not be your ultimate LGBTQ marketing initiative for the year. Yes, these events are particularly important to the community, however over the past decade or so, many LGBTQ individuals have noticed that corporations sponsor one event, one time in an effort to entice them to open their wallets. Savvy consumers have taken note and now would rather patronize a business that makes an authentic and long-term effort to support the LGBTQ community, all year round. National charities are great to support, but there are also many smaller LGBTQ charities in your city that need help as well. You may get more bang for your buck donating to local organizations. Trust me, the community will notice, especially in times like these.
Designate an LGBTQ Liaison
Some companies are lucky enough to have a person on staff who specifically works with the LGBTQ market. If your organization does not have this luxury, find someone on staff who identifies as LGBTQ or reach out to a few community leaders who can serve as a point of contact for the LGBTQ community. Better yet, create an advisory board which meets quarterly to discuss local community involvement. You would not have a Hispanic person talk on behalf of the African-American community, nor should you expect a straight person to understand the wants and needs of LGBTQ people.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it is important for your company to stay active and relevant. The companies who show support to the LGBTQ community during times of crisis will be the ones who will benefit the most when things return to normal.
Joey Amato is the owner of Agency33, a consulting firm specializing in LGBTQ marketing and public relations. He has spent over a decade in LGBTQ media and has implemented LGBTQ campaigns for numerous travel destinations, celebrities, corporations and small businesses. For more information, visit agency33pr.com.