Last week I received an email from a former male client in response to one of my recent blog posts – Men and Women Solve Problems Differently. Therefore, They Shop and Buy Differently. He and I worked together for quite a few years and during that time we were always honest with each other – rarely holding back on our differing viewpoints.
So, less his name (we’ll call him Bob), but with his blessings, I’d like to share his opinions as well as my rebuttal. And you decide. Who’s right?
Oh, and what he probably didn’t know, until now, is just how instrumental he was in the inspiration of my developing the She-conomy blog. Please, read on. I think you’ll see why.
After reading your insightful articles, I’ve come to this conclusion:
With exception to the deeply offensive marketing campaigns, the Male Marketing Gurus can do a poor job, or a fair job, or even a great job marketing a product or a service that speaks directly to women. The general quality of their work product created from their male perspective doesn’t really matter when it comes to the company’s bottom-line. The reason it doesn’t matter is because of the fact that most women consumers are: 1) smart, 2) resourceful and 3) energetic – when it comes to being an informed consumer. Most women will conduct a degree of research, analyze it to death , and finally resolve their needs – all in order to decide “what to buy?”. Just like the Rabbi’s wife. Do you think I’m wrong? I’m not, here’s Why? As you’ve said, “85% of branded products purchased for the household are bought by women. Yet, almost all of those items were marketed by men who haven’t a clue and gone so far as to have implemented pissing Rhinos, talking toilets and paper knives – to spread icing on a cake. In response to those uninsightful marketing efforts, women simply roll their eyes and buy the stuff anyway.. Right? Yes, they do, irregardless of the male’s marketing disasters.
SUMMATION: Male Marketing Gurus don’t reeeeally need to work diligently to “speak to women” in their marketing campaigns. This is simply not warranted because women always figure out what to buy on their own, at least 85% of the time. 85% is good enough for me.
Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke!
If you think I’m wrong, you may be right. I’d love to hear back from you on this. But before you respond, please ponder this. If a male marketing guru develops a marketing campaign that reaches women “perfectly” it still has to be launched. The “Approval” prior to launch usually comes from a MAN (the CEO or Pres.).
At this point, the approval will hit a brick wall because the CEO or Pres. doesn’t get it. He thinks the Marketing VP is a real moron and is FIRED. My point is, until you convince the Male CEO or Pres. about the need to speak to women, you will have ads that do not speak to women. But, as I said above, these types of ad campaigns are simply not warranted because of the resilient women consumers resolving their problems in spite of the crappy Ad campaigns.
If I missed something I’d love to know about it. But I believe that changing this machine’s direction is a mammoth task and sort of unnecessary.
I am sure it won’t surprise you, but I actually do have some thoughts on your comments. I’d like to make 2 main points.
- What worked in the past is no longer going to work in the future
- Women are responsible for 85% of all brand purchases (ie. 91% homes, 92% vacations, 65% new cars, etc.) but the question is… Is she choosing your brand?
1. What worked in the past is no longer going to work in the future.
You can check out a blog I posted referring to this for more explanation. But essentially, I would agree with what you describe as the way things have been – certainly throughout my career in marketing. I even ran the numbers after I started the She-conomy blog. A review of over 300 companies revealed that 96% of the decision makers I have worked with in my 26 year career have been men. I wrote about that here. And with 80% of the products I marketed being purchased or heavily influenced by women, I found myself trying to sell men on marketing to women… without ever saying it. I knew who the market was and I knew how to connect with them… but I had to learn to sell it by speaking to men. Which is why I talk in terms of proformas, capture ratios, build outs, etc. in order to sell my ideas. It was not until the data began to surface that I would ever have attempted to come right out and say that I was trying to appeal to women.
So, the fact that women are making the decisions and men are providing the products and services is not what has changed. What has changed is that now we all have a voice. As a result of Web 2.0, social media, and the rapid influx of Web 3.0… call it what you like…. the consumer is in control, loud and clear. It is estimated that within the next 3-4 years companies will be yielding to the whims of these online communities and vying for their dollars. You will hear advertisers saying (actually, you already do)… “We are listening to you. You said you wanted this…. and now we have it.”
2. Which brand is she choosing?
Gone are the days of marketers telling the consumers what they want. The pretty ads and how to call, simply will not cut it. They are no longer just rolling their eyes and buying it anyway. If they don’t like it, they will tell you and their 1,000 closest friends. Motrin® found this out when they put an ad campaign out that mommy bloggers resented. Within 3 days Motrin pulled the campaign, placed an apology on the homepage of their website that stayed up there for a month.
But we are not just talking about offensive messages. As a matter of fact, at least Motrin® knew they messed up and could address it. More at risk are those whose ads never even connect or resonate with the female – not even enough to get on their radar to talk about. Women are insanely busy. So much is thrown at them on a daily basis. If not connecting appropriately, the ad/message/etc. is simply a waste of money. Can the female eventually find you somewhere? Maybe. Maybe not. While she does intensive research, she does it based on what and who is connecting with her. It begins with knowing where she is spending her time, connecting with her and building a relationship.
Companies that realize the changes that are taking place and react accordingly, will move ahead of their competitors. Just because the female is making 85% of the purchases does not mean she is choosing your brand. A few years ago knowing women were your market was a competitive edge for those who connected effectively. Today… most know they need to do it, but few do it well. I anticipate that more will learn how to effectively reach the multi-dimensions of the female mind and it will no longer me a competitive edge, but instead a “must” to survive.
To summarize, I think you may be underestimating the female consumer and the platform social media provides to think this machine cannot be moved in a different direction. It is already moving. There is no “choice.” The consumer is in complete control. And the “machine” will ultimately move to where the money is, period.
Thanks so much for your comments. It is actually this exact mindset that I am attempting to reach and help with my blog. Obviously… I have much work left to do! 🙂
Here is a recent Newsweek article titled, What Do Women Really Want? that someone sent me yesterday. It might be helpful as well.
Have a great day!
But what do you think?