Bust through the Walls of the Corporate Silo
In working with companies that have decided to pursue the women’s market, I often observe that the actual marketing to women is a breeze compared to dealing with the organizational challenges, which is more like leaning into a hurricane. It doesn’t matter whether the company is structured by product (as it is with the Ford Focus or Ford Explorer) or by function (as in advertising, sales, IT, etc.). The problem remains the same: because the company is not organized by the customer, it’s almost impossible to get the whole team pulling in the same direction.
Everybody in the organization may agree that marketing to women is a great idea. “Absolutely, marketing to women; let’s get right on it!” Unfortunately, everyone’s budgets are already maxed out on other priorities this year, so it will have to wait until next year. Unless someone at the top builds “Opportunity Number One” (as Tom Peters refers to the women’s market) into the company’s strategic priorities, you don’t have a prayer at putting a concerted effort into the marketplace.
To get the maximum horsepower out of any strategic initiative, every department that touches the customer needs to participate. Moreover, every customer contact needs to be consistent and integrated with all others, so that the company delivers a “one look, one voice” message to the customer. This is particularly true with marketing to women initiatives because of a woman’s greater propensity to respond to context and multiplicity, the sum total of the brand contacts she encounters from day to day.
The Spirit is Willing, but the Budgets Don’t Work
What this means is that Moses (that would be you, oh Chief Exec!) must come down from the mountain and communicate the company commitment to marketing to women in no uncertain terms. Right after you’ve put down the heavy stone tablets, you need to create a cross-functional team with the same objectives, authority and budget as a new product launch team– and the same accountability for success.
Both men and women should be equally represented on this team. Too many men and you won’t have the female perspective you need to make the right judgment calls. Too many women and– rightly or wrongly– but in any case, realistically, the team will lose credibility and its efforts will be discounted as “the women’s project.”
Let’s get marketing to women efforts to work at your organization! Reach out to me for more personalized advice for your product and brand.