Marketing to Women
How we got lost in the shuffle
By Barbara Schmidt
“Who is your target market?” We ask this question at the top of every strategic brief. Most of the time we get a muddy answer that is so broad as if includes everyone. The reaction is, well, we don’t want to leave anyone out.
What’s the strategy to communicate to the universe? Here’s where women get lost in the shuffle. By increasing the actual target audience to include everyone, specific strategies to target women are left out of the plan.
Time and time again, research shows that women make anywhere from 86 – 95+ percent of purchasing decisions in virtually every category. Especially in the home category, that can even include building materials such as windows, doors, siding etc.
Over the past few years, I’ve sat in meeting after meeting where large amounts of dollars to be spent on advertising were misdirected to the wrong target audience. Even if there’s a builder, architect or partner involved, the woman is the deciding vote. Yet, marketers are still focused on messaging and platforms that do not reach her.
For some reason, marketing to women seems to be a stumbling block for a lot of branding firms and marketers. Even if you are business-to-business, here are some things to consider:
Make sure that your brand messaging is appealing to women. We speak differently and often times more conversationally than men. At the very least, have your messaging edited by a woman and/or test the copy with your target audience.
Example: Are you telling or explaining or sharing in your messaging? Women share and that is why social media is so very important. Authenticity is perhaps the most important selling message to women.
Don’t cover up the story. Keep photography clear and consider the look and feel of your graphics. Do the graphics have a purpose, and how does that communicate with your target audience?
Example: Ask yourself what your graphics connote, such as lines layered across photos. Are you trying to hide something? Refocus on something? Maybe it just makes the story harder to see and that message will reach women.
Are you selling big box? Or luxury? Or somewhere in between? This subtle style difference is a gray scale that women know well. Understand that every single story element whether it be layout, copy, video or an event where messaging appears communicates to women.
Example: Do you know the difference between a look from Free People, Anthropology and Target? We do and that’s one-way women communicate to other women - through style.
A lot of marketers say they are telling the emotional story, but research proves otherwise. Great campaigns are few and far between. The best storytelling for women is emotional without being false. There’s a fine line there.
Example: Layered emotional story content should be reconfigured for various platforms. Knowing how much to tell and when to stop and edit is just as important as tugging on the heartstrings.
Where is your target audience? Do the research because general statistics do not always fit your messaging. She can be on twitter, at a ball game or the builder’s tradeshow so make sure you really know where she is shopping and purchasing.
Example: No matter what product or service, she is researching and shopping online. She is very influenced by other women sharing so that is where you need to tell your brand’s story.
Contact us for case studies and how we can help you target and hybrid market your brand to success!