Gay Marriage & New Market Opportunities

The U.S. Supreme Court just made a major decision to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry throughout the country.

It is pretty big news here in the U.S.

Most people I know personally are pretty happy and celebrating. Some are really disappointed. What’s no longer up for dispute is that gay marriages will now be happening a lot more often.

What hasn’t yet been discussed is the market opportunity such a change (or any change of this magnitude) creates.

In my consulting work, I’m often asked how I sometimes seem to be able to “see around corners” to anticipate future customer or competitive actions. It’s not magic. It takes some common sense, a bit of logic, and some extrapolation.

For example, now that gay marriage is legal through the United States, it's reasonable to anticipate that there will be more of them.

This means there will be more gay weddings, gay marriages, gay adoptions, gay marriages in trouble, and gay divorces.

Over time, there will likely be a major structural increase in demand across all things related to the intersection of marriage and people who are gay / lesbian.

The second order implication of this is that there’s an opportunity for service providers to fill that demand.

Here’s a laundry list of opportunities that come to mind:

  • Wedding coordinators that specialize in gay/lesbian weddings
  • Wedding registries for gay/lesbian couples
  • Adoption services for gay/lesbian couples
  • Marriage counseling for gay/lesbian couples
  • Divorce attorneys for gay/lesbian couples
  • Burial plots for gay/lesbian couples

I know, I’m probably such a cynic.

Everybody is celebrating love and weddings, and here I am doing the math...

Well if there are 1 million more gay/lesbian weddings each year, and we assume the divorce rate for gay couples is similar to straight couples (yes, I am doing an estimation exercise), that means that eventually there will be 500,000 more gay divorces each year.

Now I don’t know the markets that I listed above very well. It may very well be that such service providers already exist in states where gay marriage was already legal. Maybe the fact that it’s legal across all of the United States doesn’t really change the number of gay/lesbian marriages in some states.

My point isn’t to predict future market trends, but rather to illustrate how one can look at change — any kind of change (legal, regulatory, social, cultural) -- and start noticing the ripple effects of these changes.

If I had clients in these fields, I would be advising them today to investigate these opportunities further.

Stock market investors often say “The Trend is Your Friend.”

That may not be true all of the time. But what is true is that if you learn to notice the trend and thinking ahead a little, you can have an advantage.

This is true whether we’re talking about your clients, your employers, your career or your personal life. Every aspect of your life is subject to trends and outside forces. Learn to notice them and the direction they’re heading in... and if it’s appropriate for your situation to get slightly ahead of them.

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3 comments… add one
  • Lawrence Ellis Jun 27, 2015, 3:29 pm

    Victor,
    I usually appreciate and value what you have to offer. With that as backdrop, your timing below was really off — detracting from the value of what you offer, and also painting you in a less-than-favorable light.

    Sometimes the gravity of the human dimension of affairs is so great that it needs to be given its own space, to honor the magnitude of shifts in human hearts/minds/bodies. One of the largest civil rights events in US history deserves such. Your marketizing it less than 24 hours after the historic Supreme Court decision is hugely inappropriate. There’s something of a parallel with carpetbagging — so focused on opportunism that you overlook honoring any kind of decorum around giving space to a human tragedy (though in this case it’s opportunism linked to a positive tidal shift in laws, mores, etc. – no a tragedy).

    Had you waited a few days, or a week, you could have made the same point — and been seen as a human being who cares about the weal and woe of others, the larger cycles of human affairs; or, who, at the very least, has the savvy to know when the narrative/symbolic dimension of human affairs dictates the timing of market activities.

    Regards,
    Lawrence

    • Victor Cheng Jun 27, 2015, 9:04 pm

      Lawrence,

      I respect your feedback and your taking the time to voice it. To a fair extent, I agree with it. I did give the timing decision some considerable thought, and decided that since it was a celebration I erred on sending my note sooner rather than later.

      I understand this may paint me in an unfavorable light, along the lines you described. At the same time it is also true that in probably all consumer facing Fortune 500 companies, the conversation I described is taking place literally as we speak. That conversation takes place anytime there is a major societal change.

      Because timing was an aspect of what I was describing and trying to reveal to my readers, I opted to take the risk and send it in the moment while the behind the scenes dynamic was actually taking place in real time.

      I took a risk. Honestly, I may regret it.

      Thank you for voicing your opinion. I do respect it.

      Victor

  • Cynthia Nguyet Jul 19, 2015, 2:41 am

    Good

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