When I founded my business, which focuses on creating gifts for guys, I knew it would be a long and difficult journey marketing to men. But I didn’t fully realize how rewarding the prospect could be. Over the years we’ve taken some major risks in how we present our brand, and while not all have been successful, we’ve cultivated a unique voice where brash and outlandish humor are not just acceptable, but a key part of our marketing strategy. There are three business reason why we’ve been able to indulge in this creative freedom when marketing to men.
1. A Foundation of Authenticity
Don’t focus your efforts on selling products. Focus on what genuinely excites you about your product development and marketing, to tell authentic stories that you believe will resonate with men. Collaborate with connoisseurs and experts, and ideally become them yourself, going to extreme lengths to curate your products and services.
Eat your own dog food, figuratively and literally. For instance, when a new sample of, let’s say, beef jerky arrives, your team should pour themselves into it to the point where they talk about it like a club of pompous wine snobs that all recently downloaded a Thesaurus app. I have personally sacrificed millions of taste buds and countless nights of indigestion ensuring we have the highest quality of deathly-hot sauces. Treat yourself as the frontline customer, to ensure you’re bringing the very highest standards to bear for your customers.
2. Differentiation through Humor
Men love humor, one-upsmanship, and generally not taking things too seriously, and if that means spending a few hours duct taping one of your warehouse guys to the wall to differentiate yourself, then so be it. There’s nothing I find more enjoyable than writing “Be Funny” atop a content marketing plan and working to achieve that goal.
Most men treat their emotions like Kryptonite, but gift giving is inherently relational — which is why it’s so difficult to buy them for guys. This is why you should strive to help channel and connect all these foreign emotions with your offering, to more comfortably manifest laughter. Ideally, humor from a brand can work as a vehicle to make you look like a rock star and create an unforgettable and shareable moment.
The tricky thing about emphasizing humor and one-upsmanship is that the two can combine to take you down a less-than-desirable path when unchecked. It’s easy to get caught up in the cleverness of the joke and not realize the full extent of what you’re actually saying. It’s critical to set hard boundaries when it comes to topics, attitude, and brand voice to ensure marketing consistency and tastefulness at all times.
Marketers have to make a conscious decision that, aside from the occasional harmless jab at, oh, let’s say, vegetarians, they should only use negative jokes in a self-deprecating manner. Same goes for curse words, which can be very funny, but also a bit of a humor crutch that you should try to avoid. While there are always exceptions, articulating black-and-white boundaries helps to better see the dark tones of those pesky gray areas.
I love exploring the endless creative freedom and fresh inspiration found in marketing to men, and how these customer relationships are integral to product development and your overall growth as a business. I implore you to explore how your company can be authentic and tastefully humorous with men, because it will establish touch points and strengthen relationships across your customer base. Ultimately, when successfully executed, your success will be when your male customers value what you have to say as much as they value what you have to sell.