With women accounting for 85 percent of all consumer purchases — including everything from autos to healthcare — why does it often appear the lion’s share of marketing messages are geared toward men?
Brands interested in grabbing a larger piece of the market-share pie and impacting the business bottom line in 2017 are beginning to shift their messaging by paying exquisite attention to the female customer’s journey. These new efforts are designed to capture the most powerful consumer demographic holding the purse strings: women.
At this year’s CES, a panel of senior-level marketing professionals addressed Successful Ways Brands Are Marketing to Women. Lisa Johnston, TWICE digital editor, moderated the panel, which included Jeannette Howe, member ship director, BrandSource; Sandy Conrad, electronics and culinary senior VP, HSN; Sandy Carter, CEO/chairman, Silicon Blitz Global/Girls in Tech International; and Tamara McCleary CEO and brand ambassador, Thulium.
Apropos for the world’s largest consumer technology show and TWICE Magazine, this year’s panel addressed the largest, most powerful customer demographic, still the most underserved even in 2017. The female shopper accounts for 45 percent of consumer electronics purchases with women influencing 61 percent of all consumer electronics purchasing decisions, yet many companies still have yet to reflect these realities in design and marketing.
Howe noted that women make up 25 percent of the players of “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” but it wasn’t until 2015 that the game developers actually introduced a female character. “Which leads me to say that virtual reality is going to be very much driven by women. Women are going to enjoy it — they’re enjoying it right now without even getting any marketing materials from those manufacturers.”
These are shocking statistics with 45 percent of gamers being women, and 30 percent of the gaming population comprising women ages 18 and over.
“Women creating products for women, by women is a key to success,” asserted Carter who has partnered with Carnegie Mellon to conduct one of the world's largest female founder studies to assist in linking enterprises to these budding innovative entrepreneurs and helping find successful through their passions.
Are men and women really all that different? Scientific research would conclude there’s more to the puzzle than a one chromosomal variance; in fact, women’s brains are actually structurally different than that of her male counterpart. Perhaps our greatest differences are created through a genetically driven diversity. Different concentrations of neurotransmitters and hormones directly impact our behaviors.
Women exhibit more brain connectivity and overall brain activity than men. The corpus callosum part of the brain which connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain), is larger and more developed in women, thus women react to a cue or a task with greater brain activation, and women are far more tuned-in to nuance.
We know of the studies highlighting women to be excellent multi-taskers, and perhaps the most potent reasons for this are directly related to neural connectivity. Women are actually more capable of following several trains of thought simultaneously because their brains are hardwired for it.
“At HSN.com we are offering solutions to everyday problems, and we realize that women are very busy juggling a lot of responsibilities so we offer our video content in snackable bites, making it easier to consume,” said Conrad. “Even video content is more apt to be consumed if it’s under two minutes and can be viewed without investing too much in a time commitment.”
Conrad also shared that HSN positions their messaging to connect with its female audience on an emotional level as women remember emotional events, especially stories.
What do all of these differences between the male and female brain mean to a marketer? Positioning a product or service in the mind of a prospect takes on a whole new meaning when you consider how to position your brand to a female brain versus a male brain. Beyond the transaction, considering brand loyalty and customer journey, a woman’s memory being emotionally anchored would mean that brand messaging must come from an emotionally connected place in order to capture the female audience’s attention. Women and men activate different neural pathways when forming and retrieving emotional memories. Women remember emotional events, particularly stories. In brand storytelling, to make an impact upon the female cohort, the story must be anchored deeper by an emotional connection. For instance, when constructing a marketing message for a new automobile, highlighting horsepower would not be as influential to the female demographic as a message regarding safety.
Marketers are wise to consider crafting a compelling brand message beginning with product development and design through the sales transaction and post-transaction follow-through and customer service. Bolting-on a “female” message after-the-fact as an add-on will not effectively move the female audience. Checking off the box by offering your product in the color pink is not effectively marketing to women. As the members of the panel agreed, pink is not a strategy.
Tamara McCleary is CEO of Thulium, an agency creating powerful brand narratives and dynamic content for maximum impact reaching targeted audiences on social media in the B-to-B and B-to-C space. Some of Thulium’s impressive client roster includes IBM, Verizon, Synnex, Appboy, The CMO Club, and Kawasaki Motors USA.Find Tamara on Twitter,LinkedIn, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.