IBM Corporation: Targeting the LGBT Segment

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG217
Case Length : 26 Pages
Period : 1997-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : IBM Corporation
Industry : Computers, IT and ITeS
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"GLBT consumers tend to be more brand loyal than the average consumer. It makes a very compelling business argument that if you spend with the GLBT community, they will spend with you."1, 2

- Irwin Drucker, director, IBM LGBT diversity program, in 2007.

"The nature of the gay community is strong networks, based on personal contacts, that extend through peer companies and customers. What we're trying to do is create a buzz, to make people want to spend their money with IBM -- or to work here." 3

- Jim Sinocchi, spokesperson, IBM, in March 2004.


In April 2009, the Armonk, New York-based International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), one of the leading information technologies (IT) companies in the world, ranked 4th in DiversityInc.'s4 list of "Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees" in the US.

The ranking was based on criteria such as strong diversity training programs, benefits to same-sex partners of employees, and recruiting LGBT people (Refer to Exhibit I for Diversity Inc.'s list of top 10 companies for LGBT employees).

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1] LGBT (or GLBT) is an acronym used to refer collectively to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
2] "IBM: Supplier Diversity Pioneer,", 2007.
3] Patrick K Jiger, "Diversity Aside, Does it Pay to Search for Gays?", March 2004.
4] Founded in 1998, DiversityInc. is a leading publication on business and diversity. Its mission is to bring together clarity and education on the benefits of diversity (Source:

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