One of my favorite authors and presenters on marketing to women is Marti Barletta. Her publications, presentations and consulting expertise provide the definitive work on marketing to women and Boomer women. If your target is 50 to 70-year-old women, you may want to visit an article I wrote including Marti’s thinking on marketing to women in general.
I would like to now share an adaptation of some the thoughts she shares Marketing to PrimeTime Women.
It’s become clear to me that the world of marketing to Boomer women could use some refresher tips on how to portray women in advertising and other marketing messaging. Include some of these suggestions, and watch women flock to your brand.
Beyond ‘Respect’ to ‘Understanding'
What women mean by “respect” is more akin to being understood. She want’s to be listened to and accorded as much response as if the communication were coming from a man: a man who speaks up for what he wants and matter-of-factly expects to get it.
Better Real than Ideal
Women want to identify with your advertising. She is looking for that flash of recognition that sparks a connection between her and the real people, real situations, real product usage and actual reactions that tell her you do get who she is.
Cast More Women Who are not 20-Year-Old Glamour Goddesses
A classic marketing to women study by Grey Advertising showed that 82% of women wish advertisers would recognize that they do not want to look 18 forever. Forget the latest ditz-of-the-moment pop star and consider the attractive, normal-looking women of shows like Downton Abbey, and House of Cards.
Choose Your Spokeswoman Wisely
When selecting a spokesperson for your brand, keep in mind that women value empathy over envy in their role models. Women seem to like a role model better if she (or he) isn’t perfect. In other words, go for less Miss America and more for Miss Real.
Reflect the New Definition of Beauty
One of the cornerstones of female gender culture is inclusion, and women resent the rigidity of one standard of attractiveness.
Tap into the ‘Girlfriend Factor'
According to the Grey Advertising study cited above, 74% of women would like to see advertising show more women doing things together with their girlfriends, sisters, and moms. When marketing to women, your campaigns must catch her eye, engage her imagination, make her smile or win her heart (and if you can accomplish more than one of these, you’ve got a winner!).
Show people in the visuals and let us hear their stories in their words. Talk about how your brand benefits people by making life easier, lovelier or more fun. Particularly in some categories, where many products are difficult to differentiate without exhaustive explanations, and everybody’s ads look alike, this is an excellent way to break out of the pack and boost your sales by a few million bucks.
Warmer Wins over Winner
Autonomy and winning do not have the same pull for women as for men. Not that she doesn’t like her “flexibility” and sense of personal achievement, but the warmth and interaction of “belonging” are more important to her than to a man. To her ear, “solo” can have kind of a sad sound to it.
Helping someone else, which isn’t mission critical for most men, is a plus for women. Not necessarily in a mushy, nurturing way; it’s more that it makes her feel useful, appreciated and influential. She wants to help others personally, and she likes the brands she buys from to contribute to making the world a better place.
Think Peer Group, Not Pyramid
Use characters, spokespeople, environments and situations that emphasize affinity instead of status. Brand images should reinforce ‘so much in common’ and ‘she’s like me’ rather than ‘I wish I were like her.’”
Marti’s advice is sound and easily executed. If you are accustomed to delivering your message via a bulleted list of key facts and product features– which may be an ideal format for men– you need to think about adding a complementary treatment for women, one that places the product within her environment, lifestyle and feelings. Consider ways of showing your brand in typical situations, full of realistic details that help women feel, ‘That’s just like me!’