My theory is that if you can sell something to a woman, you can probably sell it to a man but not vice-versa. I am not alone in this thinking. This is an interview with Lisa Witter, the COO of Fenton Communications. She and her co-author, Lisa Chen, wrote The She Spot: Why Women are Market for Changing the World and How to Reach Them.
Question: Are men now a niche??
Answer: Women make 83% of the consumer decisions, are the majority of voters, give more to non-profits, and volunteer more than men. Men are indeed a minority to market to. So, in that case, yes - men now are a niche. We wrote The She Spot because we want marketers to ditch the women niche and understand that women are the market for making the world a better place.?Many people have a hard time not thinking of women as a niche though. If they recognize women as different they feel it translates to treating women not as equal. Just as we wouldn’t want to go through a color blind society, we don’t want to go through a gender blind society.
Question: Why isn’t gender-neutral marketing enough??
Answer: New research on the brain tells us that men and women are cognitively different which requires a tailored marketing approach. The interesting thing is that if you market successfully to women you get men. But if you only market to men, you don’t get women. However, this is a bit product and cause dependent. Tampons aren’t going to fly with men no matter how you market them.?Women have what marketers call a “longer list” principle. Women may have ten criteria that need to be met before making a purchasing, voting, volunteering or philanthropic decision. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to have fewer criterions. So, if you successfully meet the women’s ten you’re very likely to cover men’s list too.
Question: What are the key differences in marketing to women versus men??
Answer: Before outlining the key differences between marketing to women versus men we must first understand how they are different:?
Men see the world through the “survival of the fittest” and a “rights” frame.?
Morality: Self-oriented pecking order?
Power: Domination and aggression?
Goal: Practical, assertive, competitive?
Life: A contest to preserve independence and avoid failure??
Women see the world through the “it takes a village” and a “responsibility” frame.
Morality: Take care of others, harmonious cooperation?
Power: Force that creates relationships?
Goal: Loving, generous, sympathetic?
Life: A community, a struggle to preserve intimacy and avoid isolation??
There are always exceptions to generalizations. I, for example, would describe my self as practical, assertive, and competitive. My nickname in soccer as a kid was, after all, “Animal.”
Question: What do women truly want when being marketed to??
Answer: Women want four things when they are marketed to:
- Evidence that the company cares about them.
- Opportunities to connect to other people.
- A long-term cultivation orientation.
- Communication of support of the notion that women have and want control of their lives
Question: How do you show women that you care??
Answer: Here’s what you do:
- Put a face on your organization, company or product. Keep it your marketing simple—and real. Tell real-life stories with real people.
- Don’t leave out the details. Marketers make the mistake in thinking that women just want the cute baby or fuzzy puppy picture. Women care about the details of the product or service. Remember, women are the ones reading the nutrition labels at the grocery store, and they’re not just looking at calorie count.
- Appeal to people’s sense of group affiliation.
- Use humor but women don’t appreciate schandenfreude-type humor.
Question: How do you show women that you connect??
Answer: Women value community and connection, so you should show them that you connect in the following ways:
- Connect people by harnessing their collective creativity.
- Connect women with each other.
- Make sure you’re maximizing your use of social networking with your women consumers. Women are twice as likely to pass on information as men and the Web can help this happen at light-speed for your product or cause.
- Don’t stop with the Web. Make sure you’re using the Web to provide “offline” opportunities for women to meet each other. Even if they opt-out in doing so, you’ll be communicating that you respect and understand their values of intimacy.
Question: How do you show women that you want to cultivate your relationship with them??
Answer: Women take much longer to make decisions than men. Don’t think short-term though. Once a woman is a supporter/consumer she’s more likely to stay loyal for life—and tell her friends to do the same. So, here are some quick tips on cultivating women:
- Think long term. The Obama campaign understood this. Their strategy for women donors wasn’t just to ask them for the big check or write-them off because they took too long to cultivate. They gathered a grassroots movement by asking donors to give $25 at a time. They thought about creating long-term loyalty.
- Don’t just ask for money or a purchase; ask for their input and advice too.
- If you’re a non-profit, show where the money goes.
- If you’re a for-profit, show them that you give back to the community or causes.
- Leverage third-party validators: Remember, the golden rule in marketing is show, don’t tell. Women are highly skeptical of advertising and company claims. Let real women tell your company or causes story.
- Demonstrate your impact.
- Make her feel part of a group effort/movement.
Question: How do you show women that you let them control??
Answer: Especially in this difficult economy it is incredibly important to understand women’s desire to feel in control of their lives. You want to communicate that you understand that times are tough but don’t beat them over the head with it. Trust me, they know! Here are some tips:
- Use The Little Engine that could messaging of “I think I can” verses Chicken Little’s the “sky is falling.”
- Offer women a two-for-one experience or product. For example, if she buys Stonyfield Yogurt part of the proceeds go to protecting the planet.
- Meet her where busy women are at and make it easy. One tip is to try to think about ways to engage women with their families.
- Give women assurance that they can have impact.
Question: In particular, how should companies connect to women online??
Answer: There is little gender gap in the use of the technology. More women are blogging, using social media, emailing, and even doing online gaming. However, they do have a bit different online habits than men.?For example, if you’re an ecommerce company, make the shopping and check out experience fast, safe and easy. They don’t have time to for complicated check-outs. Here are some additional things women are looking for online:
- Clear, concise text
- Creative with colors and images
- Easy to contact a real person
- Not too much information all at once
- White space
- Simple navigation—no more than three clicks
- Loyalty programs
- Robust and personal “About Us” page
- Third-party testimonials
- Real people that look like them
- A way to connect
- A way to tell a friend
Question: What are the major segment within the women market??
Answer: Not all women are alike, of course. Major segments include: single women, mothers, baby boomers, and women of color.
Question: What is your critique of Alltop.com in terms of appealing to women??
Answer: Alltop.com is extremely well organized and easy to navigate. A busy woman can go to Alltop.com and quickly find nearly anything she’s looking for.?My one critique is that it is a little cold and there are no “real people” reflected. This can be overcome but putting a little more personality in the site. For example, where is a photo of Guy? I love opening Guy’s blog because you feel like he’s talking to you and your greeted with Guy’s smiling face. It’s warm and personal, and I trust him.