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Brand Strategy   |   Marketing Communications


What Women Want: The Changing World of Marketing to Women

It’s no secret that women tend to focus on flaws. Most of us have grown up comparing ourselves to perfect models with perfectly shaped legs, glossy hair and white Chiclet teeth. If you’re online and you’re a woman, by now you’ve probably seen Dove’s recent viral campaign using a forensic artist to portray how women view themselves versus how others view them.

This viral video has been seen and shared by millions of viewers. It’s proof the people at Dove understand a truth that many other companies marketing to women fail to see: forget unattainable perfection—let’s get real. It’s a huge, emotional insight that Dove wisely doesn’t tie to a specific product sell. They want women to buy into the brand vision about replacing insecurities with confidence as they face the real world.

In a world where brands must have meaningful dialogues with customers to remain relevant, there are many examples of how brands are adjusting their messages to women. The stakes are huge: research shows that women now account for over 80% of all consumer purchases in the U.S. Below are five things to keep in mind as you seek to engage with the women in your brand’s life.

PUT A LITTLE TESTOSTERONE INTO IT. Studies show that women who feel overly targeted by feminine-feeling advertising end up being turned off and not responding to a brand’s message. They may talk about it, but only because they’re offended by it. Think gender equality when you feel the need to paint the ad pink.

WOMEN TALK. We already know this, but it especially applies when it comes to marketing that moves us. We are sharers by nature, whether it’s in the grocery store line or via forwards in our inbox. If you can create a compelling advertising message that hits us in our gut or reminds us of why we love our kids or family pet, we’re more apt to pass it along. Women also tend to check the pulse of other girlfriends when it comes to purchases we’re about to make – again, validating that we are on the right track.

SOCIAL BUTTERFLIES. Social networking is huge for women. An infographic from Digital Flash NY shows women actively use the three big social media networks more than men: women account for 64% of Facebook users, 58% of Twitter users and 82% of Pinterest users. So when it comes to where to find your woman on a regular basis, chances are good that you can target her via social media no matter what.

RELATIONSHIPS MATTER MORE THAN EVER. Bernadette King, Global Marketing Director for Venus, Proctor & Gamble states, “When you think about building a relationship with a woman, you have to understand her motives and values. You have to understand what she is trying to get done functionally in life.” Women typically seek to form and nurture relationships just by their natural instincts, and forming relationships with brands is no different. If a brand is taking care of us, whether it’s by the way it makes us feel or the money it’s saving us, we want to return the favor with loyalty to it.

BE RESPONSIVE. Women are also multitaskers by nature. We have a list, and marking things off that list is half the fun. Brands that get back to us in a timely manner let us know that we matter, and personal experiences created by this responsiveness only strengthens our love for you. Plus, in the fast-paced world of text and email that we live in now, anything over a day just doesn’t cut it.

When brands communicate effectively to women, they create something more than loyal customers. They create personal brand ambassadors, who work to spread the brand’s message free of charge. Like any good relationship, it takes constant work and a lot of listening, but the results can be astounding.

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Ellen Carr, Senior Account Executive at The Ramey Agency

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