Go Extra Strength When Marketing to Women

In an effort to capture more of the “headache” market, Novartis has introduced a new product, which seems targeted to the women who buy 65-70% of the analgesics sold. So far, so good. But the product and positioning seem curiously out of touch with the women they are trying to engage. In the new ad for Excedrin Mild Headache, we learn that the product has 35% less medicine, along with a “boost” to make it work faster:

Two Problems with This Marketing to Women Effort

  1. The product itself seems to be ill-conceived to meet women’s needs. To me, consumers who want less medicine will probably just take one pill instead of two. And for the label-reading market, they may have concerns about the “boost” being caffeine.
  2. The execution of this marketing to women campaign isn’t ideal. The basic message seems to be, “Since your kids are whiny and useless, you probably have a headache every day.” That’s not a message to inspire women’s brand loyalty.

Excedrin Extra Strength Excels in Marketing to Women

Compare the Mild Headache positioning with the Excedrin Extra Strength “Fast Fixes” marketing campaign, which is a great example of utility marketing (adding value to your consumer by offering useful resources, info or ideas).  In this case, the brand is providing “life hacks” to help consumers reduce stress and hassles and help them reduce headaches. Consumers will see these not as “self interest” ads on the part of the brand, but ideas consistent with a brand goal of making like more comfortable for the consumer. Here’s an example video of Fast Fixes for four Family:

Another thing I like about the Fast Fixes marketing campaign is that is seems to be targeted to women, but it is not at all “pink.” It’s a wonderful example of what I call “Transparent Marketing” — addressing women’s needs and activities without explicitly saying your brand is for women. Every element in the campaign is gender-neutral, which is how it should be.

It’s interesting how one parent company can at the same time be so clueless and so masterful at marketing to women. My advice to Novartis is to be more extra strength and less mild!

This entry was posted in Advertising to Women, Featured, Marketing to Women and tagged on by .

About Marti

To The Huffington Post, she’s “the High Priestess of Marketing to Women;” to TIME magazine, “the Chief Rabbi of the Sheconomy.” Renowned business guru Tom Peters calls her “the First Lady of Marketing to Women” and says she “is one of the best presenters, male or female, I’ve ever seen.” Marti Barletta shows you how to get more customers, make more money per customer and keep customers loyal longer - simply by getting smarter about women. Her first book, Marketing to Women, is available in 19 languages,” and her latest book, PrimeTime Women, focuses in on the market’s high-spending sweet spot - Boomer women in their mid-life prime – and shows marketers how to use this prime segment’s growth, size and buying power to propel their business for the next 20 years. As the go-to authority on marketing to women, women in leadership and women’s growing role in shaping the 21st century, Barletta has been quoted on CBS, ABC, MSNBC and NPR, as well as in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, USA Today, Fast Company, TIME, Business Week, Inc., and many other publications worldwide. Ms. Barletta’s consulting clients have included Diageo, Ford, Kodak, Pfizer, Volvo Worldwide and others. A popular speaker internationally, she has enjoyed rave reviews on every continent except Antarctica, including in Australia, Chile, Dubai, Japan and Sweden. She has spoken for hundreds of companies, conferences and associations; and across dozens of industries, including consumer products, financial services, travel and tourism, retail and real estate development, to name a few. She is proud to say that numerous clients have booked her for return appearances. Her dynamic style, command of her subject and passion for her topic make her a popular speaker. Audiences love her practical tactics tailored to the interests of each audience, her lively style and sense of humor, and her memorable stories about men, women and marketing. Specialties:I show you how to attract more customers, keep them longer, and earn more money from every customer simply by getting smarter about today's mightiest market - women.

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