What The Data Say About The State Of The American Man

Smart marketers targeting a male demographic want (and need) accurate data to back up their marketing strategies. It’s far too easy to fall into assumptions such as: every man loves football and beer or T&A ads work unequivocally to sell cars, hamburgers and tools or anything in between.

To get beyond these assumptions that may often be wrong, it always pays to look at the data. According to the cliché, “data never lies.”

The most recent Harris Interactive State of Man report commissioned by Playboy reveals copious amounts of data and insights that can inform and guide numerous advertising/marketing campaigns targeting men.

We wanted to highlight a few that we think marketers should pay attention to:

1. Income and career (it’s not pretty) – While 12% of those surveyed declined to answer about their income, 64% earn $100,000 or less. Equally of importance, the data showed the current economic issues wracking many men in America. Twenty-three percent of the men reported that they have no extra money for eating out, travel or hobbies, and 41% had been unemployed in the past four years. And if those numbers aren’t sobering, 59% of respondents indicated that they do not trust the American financial system. 



How can those money and unemployment struggles impact marketing for men? Do you create aspirational marketing messages or empathic marketing relating to the economic struggles of American men?

2. Yo, How You Doing? – Following the less-than-stellar economic indicators, American men aren’t feeling all that great about the direction of their lives either. When asked, “At this point in your life, do you feel you are doing better, about the same or worse than you would have expected?,” 30% of men ages 25 to 34 answered Worse (than expected). With older men, that percentage certainly jumped. Fifty-four percent said their lives were worse than expected.

Again, how does marketing speak to that dissatisfaction? Or should marketing even care about that type of data? Again, we think smart marketers need to know the hopes/desires of their audience and whom they’re trying to reach.

3. Gender roles for married men have definitely changed – The basic assumptions of marketing to men can often suffer from clichés about how American men currently act. The reality, per this study, is that gender roles are definitely changing. Anyone who has watched an episode of “Mad Men” knows all too well how men used to act. Now, 75% of married men wash dishes some or all of the time – up from 36% in 1975. Sixty-eight percent of married men do some or all of the cooking – up from 35% in 1975. 

Has food product marketing kept up with that change in gender roles? We’re not sure that’s the case.

4. What’s going on in the bedroom? – If sex sells, what are American men doing in the bedroom? Four percent of the men surveyed report having sex once a day. Forty-six percent have sex once a week, and 64% have sex at least once a month. And who are their partners? Forty-eight percent of men have slept with a co-worker, 47% with a person of a different race, 30% with a neighbor, and 7% with their boss.

“It’s all about the data” — we’ve heard that phrase in the advertising/marketing world in the past two to three years. And, we definitely agree. Smart marketers will test their assumptions against the hard data that doesn’t lie. If you’re a marketer targeting men, the Harris Interactive State of Man report certainly warrants studying. You may be surprised by what you find, but it will surely help guide you to better targeting of this elusive and cryptic demographic.

1 comment about "What The Data Say About The State Of The American Man".
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  1. Maruchi Santana from Parham Santana, October 24, 2013 at 10:19 a.m.

    Thank you! Could you tell me about grocery shopping statistics for this section? Have the study mentioned brand preferences at the grocery or pharmacy? :3. Gender roles for married men have definitely changed

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