Tag Archives: Advertising

Think ‘Rich’ in Marketing to Women

No, not rich like this:

Think 'Rich' in Marketing to Women

I mean rich communications that are full of depth and detail. Marketing communications that engage women and draw their attention.

For Effective Impact, Design Rich Marketing to Women Campaigns

As every marketing professional knows, consumers are exposed to thousands of marketing impressions every day. For your marketing to women campaign to generate awareness, convey information and evoke action, it must have three characteristics:

  1. Continuity
  2. Consistency
  3. Multiple points of contact with the target audience

You can’t reach those goals with an isolated tactic or two– especially not when marketing to women. They tend to crave a richer communication. You need a comprehensive program to ensure that you get through to the consumer you’re trying to reach.

Notice that “repetition” didn’t make my list- no one wants to see the same ad over and over. For most effective impact, design executions that are variations on a theme. Then, choose diverse media like TV, social media, retargeting advertising.

One recent example was Sam’s Club’s Memorial Day campaign in May. Early in the month, members were sent an Instant Savings Booklet showing the various grilling-themed savings available for the month– no coupons required! Sponsored post advertising highlighted individual offerings:

Think 'Rich' in Marketing to Women

And other posts tempted members with samples available in-store:

Think 'Rich' in Marketing to Women

As the holiday weekend came to a close, Sam’s Club varied the theme a bit to summer road trips:

Think 'Rich' in Marketing to Women

Using appealing imagery and careful, pithy copy, Sam’s Club drove store traffic and sales around the story of summer barbecues (and morphed the campaign into other summer themes). To make this campaign even more appealing to women, I would only suggest featuring more people in the executions.

Enrich your marketing to women campaigns, and enjoy richer results!

What if We Saw the World Through the Eyes of Women?

My question isn’t rhetorical, or even emotional. Factually, only 5% of directors are women, including feature films, television, documentaries, music videos and commercials. A group of directors and other industry professionals are highlighting this issue with their group 5% WTF! Watch their clever animation to understand the problems this inequality worsens:

What if We Saw the World Through the Eyes of Women?

Juliana Lukasik, Principal/Director of Large Films, has a solution to achieve a higher representation of women in director roles:

What if We Saw the World Through the Eyes of Women?“As a Commercial Director I am appalled at how few women directors there are in advertising as well as all other aspects of filmmaking. But hey, I direct commercials so it is especially disturbing that while 85% of the time it is a women making the final decision on purchasing a product, about 95% of the time that advertisement is brought to her by a man in the lead creative role.

“The goal: EVERY time a woman directs, she should have an aspiring female director on set with her. It makes a huge difference.”

I met Juliana at M2W 2016 this year and was very impressed by her efforts. As women professionals, let’s take this mentorship challenge! Women make 85% of purchasing decisions and have real economic power, but when we only see the world through men’s eyes, we’re missing half the picture.

Organic Balance Keeps it Real in Fabulous New Marketing to Women Campaign

Most marketing to women execution makes me yawn– it’s predictable and not particularly appealing to women. But protein shake brand Organic Balance woke me up with this perfectly planned video:

This spot reminded me of the original U by Kotex campaign from a number of years ago, created by Ogilvy & MatherThat ​gracefully ironic self-awareness of the young women in the set-up scene – adorable! The real women segments had me nodding in self-recognition – funny!

​Organic Balance’s fabulous new marketing to women campaign really embodies my “Real, Not Ideal.” GenderTrends principle. While watching the video, it is such a relief to transition to the “real women’s mornings” part of the video! I felt so able to relate that I do believe I was having an oxytocin episode. (Oxytocin is the hormone that promotes bonding in everybody, but especially in women. It is released both when women feel, as well as when they want, more closeness.) When those real women segments were showing, I was thinking, “Yup – That would be me!”

The brand doesn’t stop with one video– the campaign directs viewers to a Real Morning Report mini-site that uniquely appeals to women. You’re invited to take a survey (fun!) that reveals what mornings are like for other women (interesting!). And invites you to share cute, pre-made “Morning Facts” with your networks  (easy! friendly!). Also, enjoy coupons  to try out the product.

Organic Balance Keeps it Real in Fabulous New Marketing to Women Campaign Organic Balance Keeps it Real in Fabulous New Marketing to Women Campaign Organic Balance Keeps it Real in Fabulous New Marketing to Women Campaign

Every element of this creative campaign shows the brand really understands women and how to relate to them. What can your brand learn from Organic Balance?

Get More Insight on Marketing to Women with “Real, Not Ideal” Positioning

Authenticity is meaningful and motivating to women. Here are a few of my other posts that will help you keep it real when marketing to women:

Can Men Develop Good Marketing to Women Campaigns?

Only 3% of creative directors are women. That’s a surprisingly low percentage, isn’t it? Male dominance in the field may explain some of the poor-quality marketing to women efforts I’ve seen.

Can Men Create Good Marketing to Women Campaigns?

We can’t go from 3% to 50% representation overnight. So the question is: can men develop good marketing strategies and advertising executions that appeal to women? Short answer: Yes, they can!

Well, it’s a little more complicated than a simple yes. Male creatives doing a great job of marketing to women can be done– and has been. Here’s what it takes.

How Men Can Become Marketing to Women Experts

  • He has to be  sophisticated enough communicator that he can work easily and comfortably in the world of women’s verbal and visual subtleties and emotional richness.
  • He needs in-depth briefings on the specific principles of female gender culture, how women respond differently to the marketing disciplines he’s working with, and how this particular target segment of women thinks and feels about this particular product.
  • He needs to be open to feedback on his work from women that may not “feel right” to him, at least until he becomes familiar with the new culture he’s working in.

Give Yourself Extra Time when Developing Marketing to Women Creative

In her work for First Union as senior vice president and director of Women’s Financial Advisory Services, Debra Nichols developed an enormously important approach to developing creative that targets women. When starting a new marketing to women program, marketers should allow a longer creative development lead time to build in a three-round learning curve.

In her experience, the first draft comes out “too pink,” with the positioning a little trite, the models too idealized and the copy too sparse. Maybe something like this:

Give Yourself Extra Time when Developing Marketing to Women Creative

The second round, after coaching about marketing to women, comes out “too beige,” with information overload and still little that is really engaging. For instance:

Give Yourself Extra Time when Developing Marketing to Women Creative

This third round, fortunately, brings things back into balance, often hitting the mark, tapping into the meanings and motivations that will connect with the brand’s women customers. Here we go, that’s good:

Give Yourself Extra Time when Developing Marketing to Women Creative

This three-round dynamic makes it essential to set up a male/female advisory group (the women to comment, the men to learn) to look at the creative and identify any red flags before spending money on production and media. Give yourself time when developing marketing to women creative and you can avoid being too stereotypical or too insipid. You’ll take your marketing creative to the next level and be just right.

Marketing to Women with Humor

Hey, Don’t Women Have a Sense of Humor?

Marketing to Women with HumorWith 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.

Marketing to Boomer Women: Set the Scene

Show Social Situations that Resonate with Boomers

Marketing to Boomer Women: Set the SceneThe usual practice in executing advertising targeted to Boomer women is to depict them as part of an older couple. There’s nothing wrong with this approach except that it’s virtually the only context in which Boomer women are shown. The Ad Age Insights cover to the right uses a perfectly lovely picture (that’s perfectly forgettable).

In actual fact, in pursuit of “my time,” Boomer women are going to be spending a fair amount of time pursuing their own interests, perhaps in a classroom. Or hanging out with their girlfriends. Another context in which they’ll want to spend more time is the extended family, with kids and grandkids.

Avoid the “couple” cliché and consider some of these photos of Boomer women for marketing inspiration:

Marketing to Boomer Women: Set the Scene Marketing to Boomer Women: Set the Scene Marketing to Boomer Women: Set the Scene

Also, Will You Please Make this New Year’s Resolution about Marketing to Boomer Women?

Marketing to Boomer Women: Set the Scene

Let’s all pledge to this New Year’s resolution. Could we please retire the overdone “classic” images of retirement when marketing to boomer women? Enough already with those sunset beaches and Adirondack chairs and people playing golf! Remember that Boomer women are often still working– and most don’t plan to retire completely. Their “sunset” years are going to be filled with jobs, travel, sports, grandkids, volunteering, classes and lots of activities. If you’re showing “retirement,” you’re shutting yourself out of most of the Boomer market.

Understand what interests your Boomer women customers to create memorable, motivating settings for your marketing messages.

Meanings Matter in Marketing to Women

Meanings Matter in Marketing to Women

Different Gender Cultures Speak Different Languages

There are distinct gender cultures, and they don’t always speak the same language– even if men and women share the same broader culture.

When my client New York Life wanted to recruit more female insurance agents, it started out by asking both male and female agents what they saw as the primary benefits of choosing an insurance career. As the first priority, both women and men said “money.” Men elucidated that as “the ability to earn a lot of money,” while women thought of it as “the ability to get paid what I’m worth.” In this example, both genders used the same word but with different meanings.

The second priority agents expressed was identified by men as “independence,” while women said “flexibility.” If you think about it, they’re really saying the same thing, but their word choice frames their meaning in a completely different context. This example is the mirror image of the one above– a case where different words were used to express the same meaning.

To create marketing communications that women will respond to, you have to be in close touch with women’s meanings and word choices. You can’t strain them through male perception and assume you’ll emerge with the right meaning. It’s not realistic to assume that what “makes sense” to men is going to resonate with women in the same way.

Are You an Advertising Bully?

Women might think you’re an advertising bully if you’ve ever pitted one group against another, even in a seemingly innocuous manner.

Are You an Advertising Bully?

Marketing to Women Approaches Must Avoid Put-Downs

Comparative scenarios with one party at a disadvantage or portrayed as inferior make women uncomfortable, and they react surprisingly strongly. Even indirect language can trigger this reaction.

When my client Wachovia was developing a campaign addressed to women business owners, one of the ads we tested included the statistic Women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men. Would you believe that not one woman, but several women, immediately rejected that language on the grounds that it was putting down men? We changed the statement to read Women are starting 70% of all new businesses, and it tested much more positively.

Similarly, when my Allstate client tested a copy claim that stated Women drivers have 15% fewer accidents than male drivers. To women drivers everywhere, we say THANK YOU, a number of women in focus groups saw that as male bashing, objecting, “That’s just as bad as they’ve always been about us.”

Women don’t like putting people down. With their peer group mindset, we’re all in this together. (For more detail, read “9 Key Differences Between Men and Women That Affect Your Marketing Approach“)

In marketing to women, no people put-downs are allowed. That means men, competitors, other women– anyone. While fact-based product superiority claims are probably OK, if they’re not too heavy-handed, user-based superiority claims are definitely not. Keep it positive or show self-deprecating “me too!” moments that are very relatable to your customers’ life experiences.

Banking Made Better: Marketing to Women Case Study

Banking Made Better: Marketing to Women Case StudyThis marketing to women case study first appeared in my book, Marketing to Women. I wanted to share it for two reasons:

  1. The marketing to women principles are still relevant and useful today.
  2. Direct marketing in the banking world has been revolutionized by the steps ACTON Marketing took. Slowly, most campaigns across the nation have evolved to use the insights we discovered.

Opportunity

“The Power of the Purse” also means the power of the credit card, the stock market, the checkbook, and all other financial instruments. Women are truly the financial services industry’s most important customers. From ACTON Marketing’s website, women are responsible for:

  • 80% of checks signed
  • 70% of branch visits
  • 51% of online bill payers
  • 85% read direct mail

Marketing Strategies

ACTON Marketing, a company that creates direct mail marketing packages and promotional materials, and acts as a consulting firms to banks, enlisted my help when it realized that all bank direct mail looked alike.

“We were searching for a way to distinguish our banking clients’ mail in the box among all the look-alike clutter,” ACTON CEO Lynn Leffert said. “When we discovered Marti Barletta’s marketing to women ideas, we not only found our new look, we also found a new way of looking at the market.”

ACTON wanted to lead the way and leverage “the power of the purse”—just as it set the standard when it introduced Free Checking and a Free Gift strategy in the early 80s. ACTON’s strategy was to develop a whole new marketing to women approach for financial organizations, and I worked closely with the design and sales team to help them create the most gender-savvy communications materials, from direct mail to face-to-face training manuals.

When we did a Situation Scan, we saw that all of the banks’ direct mail featured lots of stats and facts, interest rates in big, bold type, pictures of irrelevant free gifts and comparisons of all of their checking accounts with small and confusing differences. Not at all female friendly! Now let’s take a look as what we did to realign their marketing materials with women’s values.

Gender Insights that ACTON Tapped Into

  • People Powered – To women, people are the most important, interesting element in any situation. Banking, insurance and other low-involvement industries need to wrap their heads around the fact that women would be much more involved in their businesses if they just showed people and focused on the benefits to people. ACTON did just that—their direct mail gets opened more often because women see relevant, familiar, empathetic faces. They also communicate what’s in it for the customer with copy like, “It’s all in one… you have your own lifestyle and your own ideas what a checking account should do for you. That’s why you get so many convenient features packed into one checking account.”
  • Storytelling/Testimonials – Women’s social currency is stories and personal details. Using these creates commonality and connections. Rather than focusing on facts and features, ACTON incorporated storytelling and testimonials into its direct marketing materials.
  • The Perfect Answer – Women will go the extra mile in order to make the absolute RIGHT purchase—in order to find the Perfect Answer. Women have a longer list of criteria when it comes to the purchase process—they want all the same things as men… and then some! ACTON helps its clients create just the right banking approach to women by developing female-friendly “free gift” offerings such as digital cameras or gift cards. Furthermore, ACTON is helping to simplify the decision-making process by training its bank clients to communicate “the right account for you” instead of confusing potential customers with a myriad of checking accounts with minor differences. Listen and learn. And then give her the Perfect Answer.
  • Corporate Halo – Women expect the companies they do business with to be good community citizens. And banks, who are charged with some of the most important responsibilities, and therefore need to earn tremendous trust, should be especially assertive when it comes to going and communicating their good deeds.

Marketing to Women Results

“Our first mail project using the new creative approach for one of our bank clients surprised even us,” Leffert said. “The marketing vice president told us they opened 12% more accounts during that mail cycle than they did during the same time the previous year. We learned that women want more information than men, presented so they can make a decision in the way that suits them.” 

Leffert summarized the program, saying,

“This gives banks of all sizes the ability to get their message to the biggest and best audience using the best possible communications and measurement methods. After all, that’s what marketing is all about.”

I was thrilled to be a part of ACTON’s trendsetting marketing approach and loved working with them on getting women in the door, and keeping them happy once they become customers.