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Want To Communicate With Female Buyers? Let a Woman Do Your Talking

she-woman3

Because the purpose of this blog is to help men market to women, and we know men respond best to a direct method of communication, I’m going to get right to the point here:

The best way to communicate with your female target may begin with hiring a woman with marketing expertise.

I believe that every one of my blog posts, thus far, has served its purpose—to help convince you that women are indeed the market. And the overwhelming response we have had to She-conomy tells me we have been successful. I will continue to write and provide research, advice and facts to keep you updated. I will also continue to help you try to understand women. But in uncertain times such as these, you could possibly speed your learning curve by taking a more direct approach as well. Again, start by hiring a woman who knows marketing. There is no more time left for convincing, and this is certainly not the time to try to do it yourself, risking the chance of falling into stereotypical “pink” and “soccer mom” messages.

You may now understand that women ARE your market, and that is a big step. But that may not mean that you necessarily understand women, and what women want. In fact, I have yet to meet a man who claims he understands women. Have you?

In my 25 years as an advertising agency owner and creative director whose clients have been 96% male decision makers, I have been called a lot of things:

  • Stubborn
  • Emotional
  • Hard-headed
  • Too focused on detail
  • Too passionate
  • Too feminine
  • Argumentative
  • Too subtle
  • Too research oriented
  • Too focused on aesthetics
  • Too sensitive

Sound like anyone you know? Perhaps your wife, mother, daughter, sister and every other woman you’ve ever known? (your target audience?) It’s okay. You just don’t understand them, and, really, what man does? And women know this. That is why they trust women. Women understand them.

To be fair, I have also been called (after I convinced my male clients to trust me):

  • Smart
  • Intuitive
  • Insightful
  • and even Genius (my personal favorite)

I am not suggesting that men are incapable of ever understanding women enough to market to them effectively. But it is a complicated process and one that takes a lot of research and re-learning. If your company is one of the few “recession proof” businesses, and you have time and money to kill, I wish you all the best in doing so. But for those of you looking to find an edge that will securely position you ahead of your competition on the other side of this “anticipated” recession, I believe the smartest thing you can do is find a female marketing expert who knows what women want, as well as the messages and media that connect with them intuitively.

The key for now is to act sooner rather than later. Now is not the time to test the traditional Marketing-101 model of supply and demand. As more and more businesses catch on to the fact that women are responsible for 85% of all brand purchases made in the United States (and studies tell us they are indeed catching on), the 3% of female creative directors in America are becoming increasingly unavailable.

During an economic downturn, legitimate questions are raised about every ad dollar that is being spent. Does your current marketing staff or ad agency really understand your target audience? Is your advertising connecting or is it missing the mark? In times like these, companies don’t need a marketing partner, they need leadership.

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Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email
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6 Responses

  1. Also, try to avoid blatantly mocking the exact people you’re trying to reach out to, like in the creepy Brook Shields “Routan Boom” ads: http://urbzen.com/2008/11/06/routan-bust/

  2. Thanks for your thoughts on this. I read your post and you make excellent points. Yet again, this ad is an example of where men have realized that they need to target women, but they still don’t know how. The sadder thing is, they think they do.

  3. I run this really cool event called Social Network Theory Think Tank. (SNTTT). I’ve always had a good turnout but strangely, it’s mostly men.

    It isn’t mostly men by design. It’s some anomaly in the way that I promote it or in the audience.

    It concerns me because I figure that the group is lacking 50% of the brain power and diversified views).

    I love your idea that hiring a women but this organization is a volunteer run grass roots kinda thing.

    I organize and host the events myself (I’m not a women).

    I’ve discussed it with the few women that come but that’s had no effect that I can see.

  4. As I guy, I find your site very useful. And frankly, dead on most of the time. When I staffed our new marketing department 3 years ago, I hired only women to sell our upscale real estate. The changes delivered by these smart ladies changed the brand image effectively and left our male-dominated competition scratching their heads. But I have some comments: First when trying to hire mostly women even the best intentions and plans are difficult to execute. Why? Women are just not focusing their marketing expertise or career on critical areas of our business: electronic media, websites and integrated sales center programs at the educational or experience level. They are focusing on design, graphics, copy and creative. I find it almost impossible to drive a feminine team in the new technology areas. They don’t seem interested or available. Many agencies likewise are talking a big game about delivering a feminine team for these areas, but an all male team of folks show up with a woman “overseer”

    Also: I am always surprised by the images that women come up with for themselves, and we struggle with that. For instance the remarkably long-legged cartoon on tis very page above, with sexy (I can’t even walk properly) heels, very young and thin build, etc…. If I presented that image to my marketing team, I’d get a string of complaints about being sexist from the women, yet women seem eager to promote this image of women. Perhaps the modern marketing woman can help us understand that. We find ourselves, as men, often wondering what is sexist, and what is not. Perhaps it is, as you say, the messenger. If we concede as marketers to give up the domain of women to women so they can deliver the message to the target customer, does this mean that women cannot market to men?

  5. You’re right on with this article. I am a founding member of the largest Business & Social Networks on the internet today. It’s called Cagora. We bring together for the first time Entrepreneurs, Social Networking, and Non-
    Profits.

    We have a number of women as members and they out perform some of the men. I would love for any of them to come take a look at us and our line of products, and take action by joining us in building this network.

    • Thank you for your comment. I look forward to checking our your service. I would also be very interested if you have any stats about women online especially in the business sense.

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