Marketing to women is not as simple as throwing pink on a label. If you are wondering how to target women consumers more meaningfully, start with the facts.
Women are the primary consumers of products and services across industries.
They are responsible for purchasing or influencing the purchases of goods for themselves and everyone around them: partners, children, aging parents and friends.
Speaking to them means understanding that women are more complex than traditional marketing personas show. Their differences influence their worldview. Race, age, language, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion—and the way these identities overlap—are all significant factors.
Businesses and brands can sometimes miss how a woman's identity intersects with her experiences at each life stage. What she responds to and purchases changes as she does. No two women's journeys are the same. There is only one common thread: women are the market. You cannot afford to ignore them.
There is no special trick to “female marketing." Lead with humanity. Gather the data on your audience, recognize the diversity of their experiences, bring more women onto your team and you may just begin marketing to women through a more inclusive lens.
1. Do the research.
When I rebranded my general consulting agency to focus specifically on women, I did so with intention. After working with clients for years, my team and I noticed a major disconnect when it came to marketing to women. Many businesses did not take the time to represent women's needs, challenges, goals and appearance authentically.
We did the research and that data was definitive: Women of all backgrounds and across all industries make up the market. But businesses and brands aren't designing their offerings with women in mind.
I built Tote + Pears to change the narrative and bring attention to what's missing in the market. Here's what I learned: Businesses and brands get in their own way by holding on to antiquated marketing tactics without considering the data.
“Pinkifying" your branding or just changing the name and age on your female personas is not enough to connect authentically with women. Learning how to attract women requires attention to their diverse needs and perspectives. If you don't follow the data, you could fall behind with the emerging generation of consumers.
2. Take an intersectional approach.
As women navigate through life, they change. They may grow up in a particular neighborhood or cultural tradition, but make a life in another. Some begin college with one major and graduate with a degree is something else entirely. Many jump head first into careers, then reevaluate their professional goals after becoming mothers. Some grow up thinking motherhood is inevitable, then ultimately decide not to have children at all.
Marketing to women is less about gender and more about adding a human layer to your approach. It means creating a brand that prioritizes people.
With each change comes a new perspective. And that perspective is heavily influenced by factors like race, age, sexual orientation, faith, cultural background and more. In order to market to women effectively, you'll want to consider how their intersecting identities impact their decisions.
When you take an intersectional approach to understanding what's really happening in women's communities and lives, you can connect with women in a more meaningful way and learn how to attract loyal female consumers.
3. Tell women's stories.
A simple and effective way to market to women is to integrate their stories into the messaging of your brand. What better way to reflect and connect with real women than to highlight their experiences? Every woman's journey is unique, but along her path, she encounters challenges and wins that others can relate to. Part of making your brand accessible to women is offering something that speaks to their needs and lets them know you are paying attention.
At Tote + Pears, we tailor our content calendar to different topics that affect women. From race and motherhood to unchecked bias in tech, we bring together scholars, experts and creatives to share their stories every month on our podcast. Not only does this offering help our audience learn more about the women in their markets, but it also speaks to the authenticity of our brand.
It takes more than using a bunch of stock images of women and calling it a day. Explore the real issues women face and offer a platform to promote awareness and change. Women consumers want to be seen and they want businesses to meet them where they are with solutions that speak to their needs.
4. Hire women from different backgrounds.
One of the best ways to market to women is to employ women on your team. And not just one woman or one “kind" of woman, but multicultural women who can share their diverse perspectives with your business.
Having women from different backgrounds at the table of creation ensures that you are targeting your female consumers with intention. And doing so enhances your offering because a diverse array of female voices will be able to bring gaps in the market to your attention.
For example, many products are marketed to men because men design them, even though women are the primary consumers. But it doesn't matter how good your idea is if it never reaches your target audience. Pulling up a seat for women from different backgrounds ensures that you don't miss the mark with female consumers.
Marketing to women is less about gender and more about adding a human layer to your approach. It means creating a brand that prioritizes people. Let the data guide you and try an intersectional approach.
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