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12 Hurdles Male Marketers Must Clear To Successfully Market To Women With Social Media

As I review the explosive stats on the MBAonline INFOGRAPHIC shown below, I am amazed at the number of male marketers who still question the validity of using social media to connect with women.

But they do, and I hear from them daily.

After many discussions, I have noticed several common mistakes marketers continue to make when attempting to reach the female audience which keeps them from realizing success with social media.

12 Mistakes Male Marketers Continue to Make When Marketing to Women With Social Media

  • They are still trying to tell women what they want
  • They are not listening to what women are saying
  • If they do listen, they are still interpreting from the male perspective
  • They are trying to sell before connecting
  • They expect immediate results
  • They have not defined valid expectations
  • They try to find ways around the time required to build relationships
  • They assume social media means “Facebook”
  • They don’t know how to engage the female
  • They open channels with little or no strategy
  • They are working from a linear mindset as opposed to a multi-layered process
  • Finally, and my favorite – they are looking forward to the recession ending so things can return to normal.
Guys, it’s not only the number of users, but also the amount of time and levels of engagement that are increasing. For example:
  • 172 million people visit Facebook daily
  • 864,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube daily
  • 4.7. billion minutes are spent on Facebook daily
Bottom line, you are not going to stop the control that social media has provided people and you are not going to quieten the female voice. Quite the contrary. They are simply getting louder.

Not “getting it” is no longer an option. If social media is not working for you, try breaking through some of the barriers to reach your market on the other side.

A Day in the Internet


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

Guys, Be Wary Of Blaming Your Declining Sales Solely On The Recession.

Nearly a year ago, I was chatting with the owner of a retail flooring store. He shared that one of the national flooring industry associations had conducted research which revealed “women were their market.” He went on to say that the findings suggested flooring retailers need to better understand and cater to the female audience.

I thought to myself, “This guy gets it.”

I questioned how he planned to appeal to women. “Simple,” he answered. He would require all of his salesmen (yes, his sales staff is all male) to wear a shirt and tie – preferably a suit.

Why, you ask? So did I. And the answer? “To show who’s in charge.” (His wife feels like a man is in control when he is dressed in a suit.)

Ummmm….. what!?!

Fast forward to now and sales have continued to drop. Probably the economy, right? Possibly. But I am guessing there is an even better chance that the female audience is inadvertently telling him who is in charge.

Guys, be careful not to blame all of your poor sales on the economy. If your competitor is thinking like this store owner, you have an opportunity to steal market share now more than ever. But, if your competitor not only realizes he must target the female, but decides to understand her as well – watch out. You could find yourself all dressed up with no where to go.


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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

Brand vs. Discounts – Guys, For Women, It Is NOT All About Price

she-discountAccording to Chris Dickey, in a recent AdAge article, 2010 is the year for retailers to rethink pricing, discounts strategy and start rebuilding their brand value. He states:

Today many retailers find that their most immediate issue is working their way back out of discount-driven brand-price erosion.”

This really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Learning that consumers were seeking lower prices, many marketers hastily responded with what they “assumed” that meant to women. Companies simply offered discounts, coupons and slashed pricing with little regard to their brand, but more importantly with little understanding of women. As a result, companies have devalued their brands and will now have to spend a great deal of money to restore it.

They weren’t hearing what women were truly seeking – a friend or a partner who would empathize with them through the stressful and challenging recession. I am not suggesting that reduced pricing is not part of the solution, but brand value must be communicated consistently and how the savings are delivered creates the fine line between compromising your brand and winning the short-term purchase as well as the long-term trust and loyalty of women. A January 2009 Marketing Week study conducted by HPI about the effects of the Recession on women, revealed:

  • Brands need to communicate they are on women’s side
  • Brands need to balance messages with both optimism and empathy
  • If you’re a premium brand you can’t suddenly claim to be cheap, but you can make sure they understand the value you offer in terms of the quality of the brand

Highlights of Chris’ article including his suggested steps to slowly return to profitability are noted below. I would add: ALWAYS keep the female in mind. It could help you prevent discounting mistakes other companies have made, or even speed the brand rebuilding process.

Most companies did a fair amount of discounting damage in 2008 and 2009 to merely survive. While this strategy addressed an immediate, sometimes dire, business situation, brands also taught the consumer to wait for a discount. Many brands have set new low-bar expectations for the consumer on what a good price, good deal and good offer is. And while 2010 will certainly not be the year we “get back to normal,” it is the year that many brands have to rethink their discount and pricing strategy to slowly return to higher profitability.

Step 1 – Assess the damage.
For instance, your best consumers have changed their buying patterns in frequency and/or average ticket, eroding short-term and likely long-term lifetime value. You have probably lost some of your best consumers to lower-value competitors, and you’ve grown your base of deal seekers.

Step 2 – Determine where the opportunity is to retrain, reactivate or acquire.
There are five typical segments of consumers ripe for testing your way out of discounting.

  1. Loyal consumers
  2. New consumers
  3. Mid-level consumers
  4. Lapsed “best” consumers
  5. Prospects who look like best consumers

Step 3 – Develop a comprehensive testing plan to determine how best to increase profit margin and long-term value by segment.
Begin to test retraining these consumers by evolving the offer strategy to determine where the optimal point of response versus margin comes into play. Changing customer behavior takes some time and patience to achieve; be patient.

Step 4 – Learn, evaluate and optimize.
Make  sure you measure everything as you are testing different strategies.

Brands will need to rethink their offer strategy from one purely of discount to one of a price/value balance, with the emphasis on relevant value that will, in turn, justify a premium. It’s not a new challenge, but overcoming it after significant erosion will be a key lever to increased profitability. The good news is, it’s a strategy that can be tested, targeted and optimized — starting today.

For the complete AdAge article, click here.

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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