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Gender Differences—Market to Women without Excluding Men
Posted on 09/03/2012
Peruse the aisles at the local liquor store and you’ll notice a curious (or clawed, or cold-blooded, or canine) trend. More often than not, winemakers market their vinos with labels featuring animals. They’ve built their brands around the cute and cuddly or the fierce and furry because they want to attract attention. More specifically, they want to attract female shoppers’ attention, since more women buy groceries than men.
It’s too simplistic to say that all wine-drinking women prefer to sip from a bottle with an animal printed on it. Winemakers need to master the delicate balance between connecting with their target prospects (women) without alienating others (men). And so do you.
The importance of creating marketing campaigns tailored to suit prospective customers is obvious. You can’t offend by fixating on or simplifying gender—but you can’t ignore it either. Here’s our advice for effectively marketing to women without alienating men.
Right & Wrong
Marketers and small business owners often make a fatal marketing mistake: they underestimate female consumers. Demographic studies show that in almost every market women make most buying decisions. Even in stereotypically “male” product categories, like cars or televisions, women sway purchasing decisions. Don’t exclude women in your marketing materials. Appeal to them instead.
Trends & Truisms
To start with, work from a few basic trends among female consumers. (But remember that these features aren’t true for every prospect.) Most female consumers won’t hesitate to ask for input or advice. Make sure your sales team and customer service reps have expert answers ready for them.
Most women also do their homework before buying. Is your presence on review sites like Yelp positive? Will your website answer their questions—or raise more?
Pay special attention to social media too. Women consistently outnumber men on social sharing sites. If you want your product to appeal to women, your business better be active on Facebook and Twitter. Finally, eco-friendly products and environmentally conscious businesses fare particularly well with female consumers. Highlight any green business practices.
Your Final Takeaway
Avoid any marketing campaign that relies on clichés or stereotypes. A direct mail piece in a pastel envelope won’t win you new female customers. Ad campaigns that speak exclusively to men will alienate women, and vice versa. Aim instead for gender-neutral design and packaging like Apple’s. Steer clear of insults, don’t oversimplify consumer preferences and avoid generalizations about your customers.
Increasing your market share involves designing marketing pieces that appeal to women as well as men. Set out to create a campaign that speaks to both sets of buyers.