Marketing Planet

Gay Marketing - difficult segmentation

Identification of a new market

With Gays becoming more visible since the nineties, a new market has started to develop. As most of the times, the trend of the gay-market started in the United States and came only years later to Europe. Even in Europe big discrepancies exist in the way the gay market is been seen and being accepted. If you ask someone in the street what will be the stereotype of gays, they will or be shocked about the question, or they will probably say: "a very trendy man, dressed in the latest fashion and very keen on shopping, beauty and partying."

Where do those gays come from and who are they really? Many marketing agencies and advertising companies have been created as to reply to the increased demand on marketing activities for this new segment. The problem we can notice however, is that all those agencies mainly focus on one type of gay population: the trendsetters who are benefitting of a more than average income.

One segment or a multitude of segments?

In the marketing approach two voices are heard. The first one states that all those eagier to take market shares in the new identified market may seem to make one mistake. Not all gay are alike! It is impossible to treat them all like identical consumers. Companies might one day wake up and find all in a mess.

On the other hand, some ask why, with all those possible market studies, the gross of marketing is still focusing on 1 homogeneous segment? There can be two answers to this question:

  • Marketing departments are not yet very well at ease with this new population. They have not yet found the variety of products that can be sold. There is no other way - probably - of selling milk to gay than to other segments, the same goes for many other current products. Few really "gay" products have yet been developed [1].
  • The gay population is still not fully accepted in society. As stated earlier, people are still often shocked when they are being confronted to the gay-world. Very few brands are willing to risk theire image and market position in order to advertise clearly on the gay market. Keep in mind that the acceptation of this population is still very recent and one doesn’t change a society and its beliefs in one night [2].

How to identify the opportunities and avoid the risks?

This multi-segment will continue its development and will reinforce its place in society. As always in new segments, there is an interest of being there in the beginning and create customer-loyalty. Right now will be the moment of trying to sort out the various sub-segments and identify the most appropriate for your product or future products. Besides the "partying gay", there will also be sub-segments with different profiles, different leisure activities and different incomes. Still few companies focus on those, and so everything is still to win. In the companies’ marketing approach you don’t need to express that violently to gay segments. Finding your segment’s habits and approaching him directly will probably be much more efficient. Go to the places they visit, read what they read and create their profil. Besides, the less visible ones may be very happy to be approached in a more discrete way [3]...

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[1Some products like insurances, clothing, accesories or traveling exist yet.

[2Some gay are not always looking for pure publicity for themselves neither. There is still a huge number of gays not admitting themselves or not at ease with possible reactions

[3Remember the difficulties gays have (had) in politics and society affirming themselves. Any gay approach can easily be seen as having a second thought or create discrimination problems.