by Chuck Colbert
Community Marketing Inc.’s annual LGBT community survey undoubtedly provides useful data for editors and publishers. Accordingly, Press Pass Q reached out to a dozen publishers, editors, and sales and marketing directors of gay media outlets to learn more about how the information will be used and just how helpful it is. Here is a sampling of more ways the outlet-specific demographic data assists LGBT media professionals in securing ad sales and determining editorial content.
“When I receive the survey results, I create two different Power Point presentations,” said Dan Calhoun, director of marketing and advertising for Philadelphia Gay News (PGN). “One Power Point is pulled information from the survey that would be of specific interest to our editorial team.”
That info, he said, prepares Calhoun to meet with PGN editor Jen Colleta to review the results. “Analyzing the demographic and spending patterns allows her to develop our 2014 editorial calendar,” Calhoun said.
Specifically, how is such data helpful?
“For example, this survey showed that we have higher male readership than female,” Calhoun explained. “Jen can then decide if she would like to cater content to our higher male readership, change content information to better attract female readers, both or neither.”
In his role at PGN, Calhoun wears two hats, one editorial and one marketing. “Putting on my sales and advertising hat,” he said, “the second Power Point pulls survey data that would be of interest to our sales team. We can use survey data as a sales tool by giving advertisers specific information that would be of interest to them.
“For example, every year we have a pet issue. When the sales team is calling prospective advertisers for that issue, they can tell them one-third of our readers own a dog and another third of our readers have a cat. Divide our readership by those numbers, and we can tell the advertisers that 16,500 of our readers would be of specific interest in their business.”
Dallas Voice publisher Leo Cusimano said his publication uses CMI’s data “to look at a company's marketing efforts and make sure they are on target. If their marketing efforts are on target, the investment they make with us is more effective. In marketing, target audience is very important. We participate in the CMI community survey to gather more information on our target audience, our readership. The more we know about our readers, the better we are at reaching them. Our editorial staff's job is to have their finger on the pulse of our readership, and these studies help us analyze the market we serve.”
Bay Area Reporter publisher Michael Yamashita said CMI’s survey is invaluable on two fronts. Without CMI’s survey results, “It would be challenging, to almost impossible, for us to quantify the current state of our community and our readers. Besides, the national LGBT community is made stronger by gathering statistics that combine our responses with those of other publications.”
Like Yamashita, Boston-based Rainbow Times editor Nicole Lashomb shares a similar viewpoint. “Being a part of this readership survey has provided us priceless information, not only for our advertisers, but readers alike. The information received is vast and really helps us understand what we are doing effectively, what could be improved upon and how best to reach the community we serve, be it digitally, in print or a combination of both. By understanding our readers, we are better able to provide our advertisers the best possible return on their investment, thus creating a win-win situation across the board.”