ORLANDO, FL: Target, the retailer, is actively pursuing "Gay Marketing 2.0" – an approach that moves beyond the ad industry's typical focus on white male couples to reflect the true diversity of the LGBT community.

Michael Abata, Target's Manager/Multicultural Marketing, discussed this subject at The Market Research Event (TMRE), a conference held by the Institute for International Research (IIR).

And he reported that the company is reaching out to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender consumers in new ways – and used a comprehensive research programme to formulate its positioning and strategy.

"When we started to think about where gay marketing has been, it's really been in the '1.0' state, focused on just gay white men," he said. (For more, including creative examples, read Warc's exclusive report: Target taps into "Gay Marketing 2.0".)

"And we really wanted to make sure that we were talking to the community. So we kind of refer to that as 'Gay Marketing 2.0.'"

In elaborating on this approach, Abata noted that Target, too, had fallen into the white male trap when running its first ad featuring a same-sex couple in 2012.

This cohort is very valuable for the brand, but is only a small part of a much wider audience. "That's only about 36% of the total LGBT population, so [there is] a really big opportunity to look at the community more broadly," Abata said.

As evidence, he cited data points showing that LGBT consumers boast a combined spending power of approximately $1 trillion in the US and make 16 more shopping trips a year than the industry average.

Members of this group also over-index in categories such as health and wellness, organic and eco-friendly products, all of which are of growing importance to Target.

"The reality is that the LGBT consumer demographic is really attractive," Abata said. "But, in order to be successful in this space, we really needed to dig deeper at Target to truly understand the nuances of this community."

Its "Take Pride" campaign, which launched in mid-2015, drew extensively on this research programme and has delivered extremely strong engagement and return on investment for Target.

Data sourced from Warc