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VOL. 125 | NO. 101 | Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hitting The Gender Mark


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Lori Turner

When it comes to marketing, author John Gray is right on the money – “Men are from Mars and Women Are from Venus.” There are significant differences in the way men and women process marketing messages. The better you understand those differences, the more effective your marketing – and return on investment – will be.

You certainly can’t assume all men or all women respond in the same manner to your marketing messaging, but do keep these gender differences in mind:

Watch Your Language: Women are attracted to softer, more courteous messaging. They respond to messages that are exploratory better than strong declarations. More men prefer direct messaging.

Know the Right Level of Detail: Men want you to get to the point fast. Women appreciate and more easily remember detailed information.

Capture the Right Level of Emotion: Women are empathic, so they are more likely to attach emotional significance to marketing messaging than men.

Understand the Drivers of Need: Men tend to shop for what they need right now. Women shop for what will benefit them over time.

Understand Their Lifestyle: When targeting women, consider your ideal prospect’s lifestyle (e.g., are they single or married, do they have kids, do they work full time). Women with similar lifestyles tend to respond similarly to marketing messages. The opposite is true of men. Age, educational level and income are much stronger indicators of how men will process marketing messages.

Know How Best to Engage: Men like to understand how things work, preferring to personally experience a brand. The mechanics of a product – how it’s constructed – are of greater importance to men than women. Women tend to engage with brands that have personalities that align with theirs.

Vary Your Offer Strategies: Men generally shop for one item at a time. Women think about shopping in more of an ensemble way. They want to understand how the dress works with a scarf, shoes and bag. So it’s easier to cross-sell women than men.

Cater the Shopping Experience: Women tend to shop in small groups. Consider how to enhance the social experience for women. A coffee bar? Upbeat music? Men are not browsers and they prefer shopping alone. They want to get in and out with their purchases as quickly as possible, so make your male-targeted retail experience efficient.

Understand the Circle of Influence: Men tend to make decisions more autonomously, whereas women prefer to consult, especially when it’s a particularly important or expensive buying decision.

Long gone are the days where a single message to the masses is effective. Smart, savvy consumers expect you to dig in and understand their motivations and preferences and market to them accordingly.

Lori Turner is managing partner at RedRover Sales & Marketing, www.redrovercompany.com.

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