Marketing to the LGBTQ+ Community | ASK Answers | All MKC Content | ANA

Marketing to the LGBTQ+ Community


 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. 

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 anaAIMM.net, or

Best Practices and Trends 

  • How to Resonate with the LGBTQ+ Community. ANA, February 2023.
    The LGBTQ+ community is the fastest growing minority segment in the U.S., with an estimated $1.4 trillion in annual spending, according to a DISQO/Do the WeRQ report. However, despite their spending clout, the LGBTQ+ community is still viewed as niche, the report says, as opposed to the general market. Ultimately, an annual nod during Pride Month is no longer adequate acknowledgment. A sample finding from the report:

  • LGBTQ+ and the Future of Consumer Expectations. ANA, November 2022.
    Do the WeRQ and DISQO have partnered for two years running to benchmark receptivity to LGBTQ+ advertising content. This year they also looked at consumers' expectations as related to brand purpose and social activism. Marketers have long discussed that addressing the LGBTQ+ audience with relevant and authentic messaging is imperative for brand growth.

    However, the bar for authenticity is getting higher as consumers look beyond rainbow washing in June and the echo chamber of targeted advertising for real impact within their community. In this conversation, Do the WeRQ and DISQO presented highlights from their findings over the last two years and explored how the marketing community can further enhance LGBTQ+ marketing inclusion.
  • An LGBTQ+ Cultural State of the Union for Brands. ANA, November 2022.
    As marketers, we all aspire to connect with culture, to celebrate it, or even create it — but most trail behind it. Cultural strategy pioneer Nic Allum and Kate Wolff, Lupine Creative CEO, introduced Do the WeRQ, a rising platform for queer advocacy and share-of-voice in marketing.

    They outlined a cultural State of The Union for brands in a climate that's both narrowing and expanding the definition of Pride and queer culture itself. The speakers offered data and insights to help brands make strategic decisions about queer cultural marketing and suggest ways to balance metrics with true community support.

  • Successful LGBTQ Outreach Strategies Are Built on Research. ANA, September 2022.
    Tom Roth and David Paisley from CMI discussed the recent 16th Annual LGBTQ Community Survey (n=15,000 LGBTQ Americans), as well as advertising and marketing best practices to reach and serve this important segment. Some key takeaways:
    • Take binaries out of marketing where it isn't necessary.
    • Relationships aren't binary.
    • Don't forget older LGBTQ+ people.
    • Terminology evolves and changes.
    • Stereotypes hurt marketing.
  • 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 explores ways for brands to foster growth and inclusivity internally and externally, along with campaign examples.

  • 20 Years of LGBTQ+ Marketing and Community Engagement with Target 10. ANA, January 2022.
    The marketing world got a little bit bolder — and a lot queerer — when Target 10 first opened its doors in 2002, and twenty years later, the agency is a leading independent and certified queer-owned LGBTQ+ marketing firm for major advertisers. Experienced in both targeted and inclusive marketing as well as consumer segment consultation, Target 10 partners with some of the best-known brands in the world, from Johnson & Johnson to PepsiCo to HBO, demonstrating to LGBTQ+ consumers that they "get it and get me. Founder and president Matt Tumminello and VP Matt Wagner shared learnings from Target 10's two decades of experience and best practices on how to engage with this vibrant, growing audience in 2022 and beyond.

  • 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. A few highlights from the report:
    • Half of the respondents indicated that they ran ads in the past year featuring identifiable LGBTQ+ casting.
    • Forty percent of respondents actively market to the LGBTQ+ community via targeted LGBTQ+ media for at least one brand over the past year.
    • Almost all (96 percent) of respondents who actively market to the LGBTQ+ community via targeted LGBTQ+ media 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 of respondents said they believe their employer is very or somewhat LGBTQ+-supportive.


  • How Chevy Promoted Authentic Voices of Pride. ANA, April 2023.
    Chevrolet is helping Americans find new roads forward in LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion in an informative, genuine, and entertaining way. Further, the company is trying to find a media-led approach that encompasses the right tone, talent, topics, and points of connection to represent the "Best of American Spirit" while engaging the LGBTQ+ community and allies in a way that feels authentic to Chevrolet.

  • Getty Visual LGBTQ+ Storytelling. ANA, March 2023.
    Getty Images developed an LGBTQ+ collection of images and a guidebook for its use with GLAAD. The company shared best practices for visual storytelling to help marketers and creators identify and leverage imagery that accurately reflects the LGBTQ+ community in all aspects of their identity.
  • Beers and Queer History. ANA, January 2023.
    Since the very beginning, America's queer bars have played a critical role in the modern gay rights movement. But since 2007, 37 percent of them had closed — taking with them an important piece of LGBTQ+ history and depriving communities of vital, safe gathering spaces. As a longtime fixture in these spaces, as well as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community long before it was trendy, Miller Lite understood the stakes. In 2021, they took their commitment to the community to the next level with Open & Proud — an initiative to create safe and inclusive spaces at bars nationwide. In 2022, it was time to take that commitment even further.

  • Pantene Hosts a Quinceañera for 44-Year-Old Trans Woman and Her Family. ANA, December 2022.
    To recognize the International Day of Trans Remembrance, P&G's Pantene hosted a Quinceañera for 44-year-old transgender women, allowing her to finally "come out" as a woman in the Mexican tradition and surrounded by her family and friends.

  • HRC Flies the Reality Flag for LGBTQ+ Americans. ANA, December 2022.
    In 29 of 50 U.S. states, it's legal to discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans. The Equality Act would change that, providing protections for every LGBTQ+ individual in every state. The act passed the House of Representatives but now needs the support of key lawmakers in the Senate to pass into law. However, most Americans don't know these outdated laws still exist. In fact, 60 percent of Americans incorrectly assume LGBTQ+ individuals have the same protections as any other American.

    The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group in the country, needed to grab Americans' attention and urge them to contact their senators. The American flag, with its 50 stars representing 50 states, is the ultimate symbol of freedom in the U.S. But 29 states aren't living up to their promise of freedom for every American, so 29 stars had to come off the flag. The HRC created "The Reality Flag," an American flag with 29 stars stripped away to represent the 29 states that still deny LGBTQ+ Americans basic freedoms. The Reality Flag is a stark symbol that exposes the current reality for millions of LGBTQ+ Americans.

  • How Ponysaurus Brewing Leveraged a Governor's Hate to Drive Support for the LGBTQ+ Community. ANA, December 2022.
    North Carolina Lt. Governor Mark Robinson made some offensive remarks about the LGBTQ+ community including calling them "filth" and saying, "at least dung has a purpose." But Ponysaurus Brewing believes in the goodness of everyone. So, the brand helped him do the right thing by creating "The Lt. Governor's Fund for the Fabulous." A portion of profits went to support LGBTQ+ rights in North Carolina, including sending LGBTQ+ teens to summer camp — all in his illustrious name. Ponysaurus Brewing also wanted to shine a light on the topic and get people actively protesting Governor Robinson's attack on his constituents. The biggest goal of the initiative was to ensure that he doesn't become governor in the next election.

  • Absolut Continued Support to the LGBTQ+ Community. ANA, December 2022.
    After more than 40 years of LGBTQ+ allyship, Pernod Ricard's Absolut launched "Out & Open" to bring awareness to community bars and restaurants. Moreover, to highlight the importance of protecting the future of LGBTQ bars and restaurants, the brand partnered with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to make the organization's training programs around succession planning more accessible to more LGBTQ+ business owners.

Webinars and Videos

  • Virtual Diversity Fair: Meet LGBTQ+ Owned Companies. ANA, February 2023.
    The ANA has curated a list of diverse suppliers. To extend the value and reach of the list, the ANA holds a series of Virtual Supplier Diversity Fairs. These fairs focus on a particular type of ownership and will be held on a regular basis. February 2023's Virtual Supplier Diversity Fair highlighted LGBTQ+ owned companies, including media companies, agencies, and marketing solution providers. Representatives shared an overview of their company and the ways they can help grow your brand and drive business results.


  • 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 LGBTQ+ Forum meets virtually every other month. To join the committee, select it from the list found here.

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 Research Service 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. 

"Marketing to the LGBTQ+ Community." ANA, 2023.