Men, Women are Different Today. Marketing That Worked in the Past Will Not Work in the Future.

sheconomy_online_womenToday’s women are dramatically different. And their shift cannot be categorized by a simple comparison to their predecessors of the 50s, or the 90s or even the people they were at the turn of the millennium. Today’s women have changed from the consumers we recognized as recently as just one year ago. The economic crisis has radically altered how women think and feel. The concurrent phenomenon rapidly evolving within the 2.0 technologies of the Internet over the past few years has allowed women an enormous space to not only voice these opinions and emotions, but to act on and share them immediately.

“Women are moving from consumers to advisors, advocates, and activists.” ~ Laura Zalaznick, President of NBC Universal

Our world as we have always known it has changed suddenly. For the advertising industry, this is an understatement. Gone are the days of creating imagery and messages to be pushed onto women with the expectation of them accepting our claims or reacting to our offers. It is no longer about the sale. It is all about the relationship.

Forty-two million women in the U.S. are involved in social media weekly. This number continues to grow. Companies must build an online brand with social values, authenticity, useful solutions, experts and community. We must stop just managing brands and start focusing on relationships. The future is all about providing value and listening to what women have to say.” ~ Marketing to Women Conference, Chicago – April 2009

Herein lies a serious challenge for companies and marketers when attempting to effectively reach and connect with women in this swiftly evolving media environment. Relying solely on past—albeit proven—marketing strategies including traditional demographics and traditional media will leave companies flailing. That’s not to say that social media has replaced traditional media, but it is quickly becoming the heart of the campaign—the soul of one’s brand. There is opportunity for companies to connect with women authentically, building a relationship based on trust.

Traditional media will soon augment the marketing efforts of the social media plan. Although very enticing during these tough economic times, slipping back into the comfort level of doing what has worked in the past will only make it more difficult to effectively bond with women in the social space as it continues to crowd daily.

Those who begin unprepared will feel like they’re trying to hit an ever-moving target. But the companies who ready themselves by knowing who the female consumer of today is, believing she is reacting differently than men, understanding her,  knowing how to connect with her on the Internet, strategically meeting her there and finding out how we can make her life easier, will generate a much more purposeful connectivity with women which in turn leads to trusting relationships.

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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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3 Responses

  1. This is a fantastic piece, Stephanie, and so true. Thankfully companies are coming to realize there is a difference (as seen by mommy and daddy blogger pitches and niche targeting). It’s still a long way off from perfection, but it’s getting there.

  2. […] for a long-lasting, trusting relationship, in this rapidly changing market? Then make an effort to know who the female consumer of today is, believe she reacts differently […]

  3. Great article! Thank you for sharing this. I think any company that doesn’t constantly reevaluate their marketing strategies… towards women, men, children, baby boomers, tweens, whatever their markets may be – are myopic. They need to realize that people change and audiences change – so fast these days!

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