Have you ever wondered why word of mouth spreads faster with women? Marketing to women expert Marti Barletta explains how women’s emphasis on the personal make them the perfect referral source. Once financial planner says his women clients send him, on average, 26 referrals. His male clients only send him 2! What a difference!
With politically correct outlooks, the buzz surrounding micro-aggressions and our generally sensitive culture, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that women have a great sense of humor. It’s just different from men’s.
Men’s humor grows out of men’s culture. Humor is another way to connect through the one-up/put-down mechanism, and the punch line to a joke usually plays on how some poor guy gets his comeuppance. Not surprisingly, women’s humor grows out of female gender culture. It operates on the dynamic of identifying with the person in the funny situation– the delighted recognition of a similarity you didn’t notice before: “OMG, that is exactly the way I am!” or “You’re kidding, your husband does that too?”
Young creative geniuses are always pushing clients to dare to be “edgy.” Forget edgy. Edgy means someone gets cut, and women don’t like to see anyone get hurt, even for a good cause. I’m reminded of a Lipitor commercial from a few years ago that shows a beautiful, Boomer woman walking down the red carpet. She’s glamorous until she trips and falls on her face. The message is, “High cholesterol doesn’t care who you are.”
Women do not find this ad funny. They’re worried about the fallen women and hope she’s OK, and that distracts them from even knowing what this commercial is about.
So, avoid male humor in your advertising, but please do make her laugh! Humorous marketing to women campaigns can have a huge impact for your brand, beyond one commercial spot. Women love to share the laughs, and no marketing effort is more likely to gain word-of-mouth exposure than something women find truly giggle-worthy.
Word of mouth, this media vehicle unto itself, becomes even more important for Boomers for two reasons.
First, Boomer women have had a lot more experience in life, with shopping, buying, using and comparing products. So, they have a lot more information to share with their friends.
Second, with retirement approaching, Boomer women will be spending more time with their girlfriends and will have expanded influence on immediate and extended families. Therefore, they will have a lot more opportunities to use their word of mouth. Marketing professionals should care and beware! Word of mouth can be used to spread both good and bad brand experiences around this large network of Boomer women and the many people they influence.
Curves is a brand that really understands the marketing multiplier effect of Boomer women’s word of mouth. Members become Curves’ best advocates when they invite friends to join them. The Buddy Referral program offers members “Bring a Friend” coupons for one week of free workouts, so members can invite friends to give the club a try-and often, members themselves also receive a free month. Individual franchises often personalize this referral program for their members, like in this Facebook post promoting May as Referral Month:
Curves’ phenomenal conversion rate of 80%– 8 out of 10 referrals sign up to join as members-reflects the appeal of the concept and the persuasiveness of the “member ambassadors.”