We’ve talked about this before – when marketing to women, it is extremely important that male marketers realize that there are differences between men and women. Not only do they act differently, they think very differently. And according to Dr. Bob Deustch, a cognitive anthropologist, these differences are well represented by four words: “WOMEN CYCLE, MEN CONSUMATE.”
Women mull things over, they picture the relationship between things, and they conceptualize the long-term patterns. Women desire evolution, experience, and good relationships. Men, on the other hand, want “it” done right now and they tend to align themselves with the here-and-now. Men tend to desire achievement, action, and power.
As Dr Deustch says, “…the two genders have different ways of perceiving causality, time, and power.” Therefore, you can’t market to women the same way that you would market to a man.
Keeping these cognitive differences in mind, Deutsch gives seven key principles to consider when desiring to market to women:
- Pattern: Women don’t just focus on a point. They are more likely to understand and appreciate the initial idea that gives way to a short moment in time.
- Authenticity: Women look past immediate appearance to calculate other factors such as history or persona. They also recognize that “universal principles underlie particularities.” Keyword: transparency. Women are likely to dive deeper and find out where you’re coming from. Save her the trouble and tell her. If you make a mistake, be honest about it and fix it. Home Depot and their use of Twitter is a great example of this.
- Quality: Not just quantity (size). For women, bigger and/or more is not always better. A steady build will get you farther than one impulsive response. Otherwise, go deeper. Have a conversation with the women your are targeting and find out what they like. Don’t just throw a pink blanket over your product and expect women to come running.
- Connectedness: Not just individuals. Women are more likely to see that we are all bound together and they appreciate the idea of community. Hello, the whole premise of social media!
- Society: Not just markets! Markets are just numbers and women are not just numbers! Women are people, people who have a multitude of feelings and intentions. Don’t assume that because there are “X” number of women, you have the ability to sell “X” number of products and that they can be reached with the same message. Just as men and women are different, women in various groups have differing thoughts, feelings, and intentions.
- Quality of Life: Not just accumulation. Marketers must recognize that there are individuals wants and musts that make up the needs that facilitate the buying of “things.” Don’t just tell a women she NEEDS something, tell her WHY she needs it and HOW it will improve her life
- Reasonableness: Not extremism or absolutism. Recognize that there are always gray areas. Very few issues are black and white. Exaggerations to either side of an issue covers up the nuances and subtleties that women are adept at recognizing. Ever heard the phrase, “a woman’s intuition”? Women can pick up subtle messages, there is little use in strong arming your message.
Most of these principles point to one key implication: WOMEN CONNECT. They connect with each other, they connect with family, and, importantly for marketers, they connect with brands. To connect with a female consumer, you must be willing to build relationships (i.e.- personal connections). While this may take a lot of time, effort, and money, with women making 85% of all consumer purchases, it has the potential for a major pay-off.