LGBTQ+ Consumers

 How can I reach the LGBTQ+ community in a meaningful way?

Reaching any audience authentically is always going to be a challenge in a fast-paced environment. For LGBTQ+ consumers, this is especially crucial — as this demographic has been historically underrepresented (if at all) and/or stereotyped in mainstream media. 

This has been proven true, even today, by the ANA LGBTQ+ Marketing Inclusion Survey, which found that 60 percent of respondents "said they do not actively market to the LGBTQ+ community via targeted LGBTQ+ media for any brands."

Of course, many brands have positive intentions when marketing to the LGBTQ+ community, but may have concerns about creating meaningful ads and conversations; ANA's LGBTQ+ Marketing Inclusion Report addressed this, citing three major concerns, which are "a general concern of getting it wrong (50 percent); making sure the messaging appears in brand-safe environments (44 percent); and budget limitations (44 percent)."

The report went on to say that "a majority (64 percent) of respondents do not use a specialized agency for their LGBTQ+ marketing. Of those who do, we asked if their agency was a certified LGBT-owned agency, and 75 percent of respondents indicated they were." Creating and fostering inclusive messaging isn't just about the external ads, but starts with working with LGBTQ+ partners, influencers, and internal employees to understand trends — and thus, create compelling, authentic, and sincere discourse. 

This demographic, according to the report, consists of approximately 18.5 million U.S. adults with a spending power of about $1 trillion in purchasing power, which also includes 980,000 same-sex couple households. These numbers reflect the very need to better understand this demographic, which includes their musts and wants. This can be done through strategic research, hiring, and partnership practices.

The report included recommendations, stating: "One approach is to work with your media agency and identify sites where you do not want messaging to appear. You may also want to limit your media buy to premium inventory, employ contextual targeting, or otherwise optimize your media buying to ensure the messaging appears in a brand-safe environment."

Further, AIMM stressed the importance being truly inclusive at every level, identifying four significant challenges and subsequent actions to combat them as a way to "to carve out the future of marketing to a more diverse consumer base":

    • Organizational structure ("assess how different organizational structures have affected business and campaign results")
    • Total market ("develop a playbook that brings clarity to the broadly accepted and widely used Total Market approach")
    • Metrics and measurement ("enhance representation, projectability, overall reliability and access to multicultural segment data")
    • Talent and education ("create a system that helps elevate the level of multicultural knowledge in corporations and agencies through the creation of webinars and educational platforms")

Rob Smith, founder of and CEO at Phluid, succinctly put it best: "It's about actions, not ads."

Below are resources on LGBTQ+ consumers below. For more information on LGBTQ+ in advertising, marketers can visit or

Best Practices and Trends 

      • LGBTQ+ Marketing Inclusion Report. ANA, December 2021.
        This report from the ANA is an initial look at the state of LGBTQ+ marketing inclusion and representation among client-side marketer members. As more brands enter public conversations on societal movements, they are highlighting how to authentically support the LGBTQ+ community through their marketing campaigns. Some findings:
        • Half of the respondents indicated that they ran ads in the past year featuring identifiable LGBTQ+ casting.
        • Forty percent actively marketed to the LGBTQ+ community via targeted LGBTQ+ media for at least one brand over the past year.
        • Almost all (96 percent) actively market to the LGBTQ+ community via targeted LGBTQ+ media and do so year-round.
        • Brand awareness and brand perception were cited as the most important key performance indicators of success when measuring LGBTQ+-inclusive marketing.
        • The three biggest challenges to LGBTQ+ inclusive marketing cited were: a general concern of getting it wrong (50 percent); making sure the messaging appears in brand-safe environments (44 percent); and budget limitations (44 percent).
        • Eighty-six percent said they believe their employer is very or somewhat LGBTQ+-supportive.

          This video also discusses the results of the survey:

      • 20 Years of LGBTQ+ Marketing and Community Engagement with Target 10. ANA, January 2022.
        Matt Tumminello, founder and president, and Matt Wagner, VP, both from the agency Target 10, shared learnings from Target 10's two decades of experience and best practices on how to engage with the vibrant, growing LGBTQ+ audience in 2022 and beyond.

      • Embracing Gender Fluidity in Advertising Internally and Externally. ANA, June 2022.
        Influence is a powerful tool and using that influence for good is invaluable. While many brands are embracing LGBTQ+ inclusivity in their marketing, tackling gender nonconformity authentically can still present a challenge or missed opportunity for some. However, this is a necessity for brands existing in the now and moving into the future gracefully. This provides ways for brands to foster growth and inclusivity internally and externally, along with campaign examples.

      • 5 Inspiring Quotes on LGBTQ+ Inclusive Marketing. ANA, June 2022.
        Being inclusive should be exciting for brands; it's another avenue to tell stories, another community to celebrate — and for some, to learn about. Telling all kinds of stories, and how we tell those stories, should be fun and innovative — and is at the crux of what makes marketing so universal. This article collects quotes from industry leaders on LGBTQ+ marketing.

      • 15th Annual LGBTQ+ Community Survey. Community Marketing and Insights, June 2021.
        This report offers survey results as a market study on LGBTQ community members who interact with LGBTQ media and organizations. CMI views these results as most helpful to readers who want to reach the community through LGBTQ advertising, marketing, events, and sponsorship outreach. The annual survey asks about areas such as non-binary identification, preferred terminology used in the community, financial status, car ownership, impact of advertising in LGBTQ media, and more.

        You can watch a webinar discussing the findings here.


      • These Campaigns Genuinely Portray the LGBTQ+ Community. ANA, June 2022.
        Stereotyping can be painfully real for the LGBTQ+ community, especially when brands create ads or content that may be well-meaning, but ultimately miss the mark. To truly address this spectrum, brands need to collaborate with LGBTQ+ influencers and organizations, create storylines that are inclusive for campaigns, and most of all, be unafraid to celebrate all life and lives — with all the complexities that come with them.

      • OREO Showcases Long-Time Allyship. ANA, May 2022.
        OREO recognizes that families are a place where fears can play out, including feelings of loneliness and anxiety. The feelings of fear can be especially acute in the case of families with tensions between straight and LGBTQ+ members. Knowing this, OREO has focused much of its purpose-driven work on supporting the LGBTQ+ community and its allies to make the world a more accepting place where all families belong.

      • J&J's Pride Campaign. ANA, January 2022.
        As more brands seek to engage with LGBTQ+ consumers, many are leveraging the same LGBTQ+ themes, time periods, nonprofits, celebrities, media, and activation channels primarily because this is where the cultural competency of many advertisers and agencies begins and ends. Contrast that with the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health Care with Pride program. This 10-year LGBTQ+ initiative, including 12 participating Johnson & Johnson brands, has succeeded with its understanding of queer culture, enabling it to go beyond the usual suspects and engage with LGBTQ+ consumers in unique and unexpected ways: emerging talent, localized partnerships, custom employee engagement, opportunistic micro-grants, and more.

      • Discussing Citi's Chosen Name Campaign. ANA, February 2022.
        As part of Citi's commitment to helping drive an equitable and inclusive culture, Citi, in partnership with Publicis, developed a new feature that enabled trans and non-binary customers to use the name that reflects who they truly are — even if that name is different than their legal name.

        Peter Viento, head of creative for Citi Global Marketing and Andrew Vollmer, SVP group account director at Publicis, discussed the insights that ignited this new feature, the pitfalls, and triumphs of bringing it to life both on the backend, in marketing and producing during a pandemic. They also discussed the role of partnerships in getting this groundbreaking work across the finish line, and the unique collaboration between internal and external agency teams to ensure real LGBTQ+ representation in-front of and behind the camera.

      • Cheers to a More Colorful Future. ANA, January 2022.
        Smirnoff has a long legacy of proudly supporting the LGBTQ+ community. At an ANA 1-Day Conference, Smirnoff and its agency partners presented a continuation of these efforts with its 2021 "Color the Future" campaign. Key stakeholders shared in detail how the campaign was ideated, constructed, and activated across key media to engage and show support.

      • How Jägermeister and The Lesbian Bar Project Helped Support Lesbian Bars. ANA, December 2021.
        Jägermeister and The Lesbian Bar Project created a short documentary highlighting the struggles of bar owners, community activists, archivists, and patrons in three cities to drive much-needed funding for lesbian bars across the country.

      • Going Beyond the Rainbow: Jack Daniel's Family of Brands and the LGBTQ+ Consumer. ANA, October 2021.
        Fabricia de Silva shared how Brown-Forman's LGBTQ+ employee resource group, which she co-founded in her first year at the company, led a decade-long effort to align the Jack Daniel's Whiskey brand with the LGBTQ+ community, using a mix of experiential and digital content activations to help the brand "come out."

      • How This Brand Spoke to the LGBTQ+ Community. ANA, August 2021.
        John Frieda Haircare leaned into its brand purpose to celebrate Pride Month and leveraged retailer programs to help further amplify their partnership with GLSEN and voices in the LGBTQ+ community.


      • Resource List of Certified Diverse Suppliers for Marketing/Advertising. ANA, June 2022.
        This list has been created to support marketers who are interested in starting or upgrading their supplier diversity program, a proactive business program which encourages the use of women-owned, ethnic/minority-owned, veteran-owned, LGBTQ+-owned, disability-owned, and small businesses as suppliers. The ANA and our Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) have been active on this issue for some time.


      • LGBTQ+ Forum. ANA.
        The LGBTQ+ Forum exists to educate marketers on best practices for inclusion of LGBTQ+ in advertising, provide support for LGBTQ+ marketers, and drive more meaningful community-brand connections. As more brands embrace targeted advertising to the LGBTQ+ community and feature community members in their advertising, it is more important than ever that the industry learn how to meaningfully engage the LGBTQ+ community and their purchasing power.

The Marketing Knowledge Center actively connects ANA members to the resources they need to be successful. You can visit the ANA website to engage with the MKC in three ways.

              • Explore content to access best practices, case studies, and marketing tools. Our proprietary content includes Event Recaps, which share actionable insights from conference and committee presentations.
              • Connect with our Ask the Expert team in real time for customized answers to your specific marketing challenges.
              • Stay on top of trends with Marketing Futures Pulse issues, which explore how new technologies and innovations will affect marketers and consumers alike. 

Submit a request to Ask the Expert here.


"LGBTQ+ Consumers." ANA, 2022.