In 1990, a young entrepreneur named Andrew Isen had a vision. He was a successful man who felt like corporate America was not speaking to him.
“I was openly gay, had a large disposable income and I was not on anyone’s marketing list.” Isen saw an opportunity in the making.
Working off his kitchen table with nothing but an IBM and a phone, Isen started WinMark Concepts, a full-service marketing and communications firm targeting the ‘gay and lesbian community’. He is based in Washington, D.C.
Today he runs WinMark Concepts, a gay and lesbian marketing firm celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Isen says he does not use LGBT in their marketing materials because “in the business world, companies aren’t seeking to reach bisexual and transsexual consumers.”
Earning a BBA and MBA from George Washington University, Isen gained experience in multiple media platforms, all of which now encompass services his company
WinMark offers. “From strategic planning, program development, experiential and field marketing, on-line marketing and consumer research, Our firm reaches out to businesses.”
Isen began with his company with a cooperative advertising campaign called Direct Male, which targeted gay men. The highly successful campaign caught the attention of tobacco-maker, Philip Morris, who signed on with the firm. “They were my first client and the first company I sent an invoice to.”
Philip Morris hired WinMark to conduct a survey regarding the smoking habits of gay men. It was printed as a feature story in the New York Times. From that first day with Phillip Morris, Isen has now provided services to over 700 companies trying to target the gay and lesbian community.
“We discovered in our very first year the tremendous buying power of the GLBT market. Gay and lesbian consumers can be very loyal to specific brands that appeal to them, and they show their support in buying goods and services from these companies,” continues Isen.
WinMark has worked with many Fortune 500 companies that embrace the idealsof employee’ domestic partner benefits, non-discrimination policies, and financial support for organizations supporting equality.
In fact, Isen says that WinMark was the first company to work with the British Tourist Authority to launch a gay and lesbian marketing initiative. “It raised hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the British,” Isen said.
Statistics bear out the worth of marketing to the gay and lesbian community.
According to marketresearch.com, the buying power of U.S. gays and lesbians is expected to exceed $835 billion by 2011.
Advertising indicators verify that gays will reach out to companies who advertise to them, even willing to pay higher prices for premium products and services. Those reviews also reveal twice as many gay and lesbian Americans are to have graduated from college; twice as likely to have an individual income exceeding $60,000; and twice as likely to have a household income of $250,000 or more.
Amongst other charities, Isen is a large supporter of the Point Foundation, an organization that provides, mentoring and leadership training to meritorious students who are marginalized due to sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Named one of OUT Magazine’s “OUT 100,” WinMark’s Isen has made a lasting mark on the gay and lesbian community.
For more information, please visit: www.WinMarkConcepts.com