A message for advertisers that want to effectively reach the LGBTQ consumer

Todd Evans | Rivendell Media

It is all you hear about these days: authenticity. Everyone wants to be authentic in their advertising campaigns and efforts, yet why do so many fall short? Of course, I am focused on the LGBTQ market and consumer, but certainly it is the same with other niche markets.

We all want the same thing: to be accepted — as a customer, as a consumer and, well, as a person. We all want to be heard.

Everyone is a certain slice of the pie that companies want, and they want as many pieces as possible. They want the teenager, the senior, the Black consumer, the LGBTQ consumer, the new mom — you get the idea.

Everyone is something at some point, and the trick for any company is connecting with that consumer at the right time in the right place with the right message.

No matter your message or timing, it all starts with showing up in the right place. To reach the LGBTQ consumer, that means showing up in LGBTQ-specific media, LGBTQ-owned and -operated media in particular.

Makes sense, right? Show up in the most authentic place for the market, and no matter your market, there is always a media outlet by and for that slice of life.

With so much media today to choose from, you can’t always reach everyone in a community in the same way. Some LGBTQ consumers don’t have access to LGBTQ media, and so maybe they get your message through television or digitally. But without a doubt, any authentic campaign should be based in “the” community’s media and grow from there. By doing so, you know you are starting out on the right foot, and as everyone knows, a solid foundation is always the first step.

It all sounds so simple. And, really, it is simple. But the LGBTQ market’s own media is mostly local, and even our national media does not have the large circulations that other minority markets have — like People En Español or Essence. We also do not have any national radio or television networks, so it takes some digging.

I find that today so many don’t do the research necessary to base their campaigns in LGBTQ-owned and -operated media — because it takes work. Most of these media outlets are not listed in the same places other larger media properties are listed. But for those that do their homework, it gives instant credibility. When I see national ads in top local LGBTQ titles, I know immediately they have done their homework.

Also, for those less versed in advertising or marketing, the person seeing the ad knows immediately that this company, product or service is speaking to them directly. A friend told me once: “When I see a national ad in ‘our’ national media, I know they are reaching out to ‘us,’ but when I see that ad in my local LGBTQ media outlet, I know they are speaking to ‘me.’”

Folks, that’s what it’s all about.

So, if you want to be authentic, base your campaign in media by and for the community you are pursuing. First off, every media property of the community you are pursuing is going to want your efforts to be successful, so immediately you will know if you have your messaging wrong or something is off or even if it is wonderful.

Second, sometimes a campaign to, say, the LGBTQ community can be news itself, and if so, you may have your first free editorial and a basis for a conversation and a relationship.

Third, as you move to other venues, perhaps TV or Instagram, you have the foundational step of being able to tell your consumers your campaign is based within the community itself.

Authenticity 101.

This year, as Pride comes back in person and people are starting to carefully step out again into the world, I think everyone everywhere should be careful that their messages are based in the foundational media of the group they want to reach.

Even if a last-minute COVID surge or something equally disastrous were to happen, your messaging will still be in the right starting place. During these past two years when Pride was not in person, all LGBTQ media still had their Pride issues and still covered what was important to “us.”

The question now is: Will your messaging show up in an authentic way where your target is expecting it to be?

Todd Evans is president and CEO of Rivendell Media, America’s leading LGBTQ media placement firm which represents 95 percent of all LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS media in the United States and Canada. He currently resides in Mountainside, N.J., and can be reached at todd@rivendellmedia.com or 908-232-2021, ext 210.