Marketing the Rainbow...
A few years ago I was invited by 3 separate friends to the ceremonies of obtaining their doctorate degree. These were 3 rather different occasions: Lucette (Leiden, "Technology Assessment of Assisted Reproduction"), Bert-Jan (Utrecht, "Erectyle dysfunction in primary care, The ENIGMA-study") and Piet (Amsterdam, "Stuivertje Wisselen"). Their achievements, and the ceremonies, inspired me to think about a PhD degree myself.
During the marketing projects I have done in the last decade, I discovered that many companies hardly have any idea who their customers are. They change marketing "strategy" (meant to be long term) every couple of years, hoping to hit the right spot.
Marketing, instrumental in the activities of practically every organization, has developed from Mass Marketing (60s), via different forms of Direct Marketing (70s & 80s) and Dialogue Marketing (90s) to 1 on 1 marketing (00s): the company wants to get as close to the customer as possible. At least in theory. Many segments are defined as possible targets. On different occasions "gays" were one of these segments.
I am gay, I am a consumer, but am I a gay consumer? Am I worth a special approach by the companies who want my patronage? Besides, how are they going to find me? The circulation of the gay press is quite low, and we don't live in special areas. We are not as visible as other minorities, or recognizable through registers like certain age brackets. Yet, there are 1 million gays (men and women) in this country, and around 20 million in the USA.
Living in the Netherlands, I feel that society is quite integrated, the legal situation for gays is completely equal to that of others since the opening of marriage in 2001 (first in the world, through the change of 251 laws!) and the completion of adoption regulation. As a result, the sense of community is not very strong any more. In the USA, however, these aspects are quite different: there is a strong sense of community, because there are still battles to be fought. This phenomenon proved instrumental for my research.
I would like to know if The Gay Consumer exists. If so: if and how companies can reach them - and should they? How does the gay consumer see himself, what are his loyalties. In short:
Marketing the Rainbow,... is there a pot of gold at the end of it?
Does The Gay Consumer really exist?
Find out more. I did.
These are all (print) ads, used to target LGBT customers/employees.
Click the images for a larger picture and comments.