This is the second of a 2 part series on marketing to women. In the first part, I wrote on why it is important for SME owners and small business marketers to focus on marketing to women.
Please click the link here to read part 1 of this 2 part series on marketing to women. The art of marketing to women – part 1 – why should SME marketers make marketing to women a core part of their business strategy?
Marketing in general requires a marketer to truly understand that a proposition means the end to end experience at all touch points across the lifecycle of the customers. (Please read my previous article on “the experience is the proposition” – which clearly articulates on what a proposition truly means).
Marketing to women requires the marketer to not only understand what designing a proposition means but also will require the marketer to understand the difference, subtle or not between men and women.
Before I dwell into the marketing ramifications and implications arising from the differences between men and women, it is important to note a few differentiating factors and marketing engagement rules that will accentuate your marketing efforts to women.
Here are a few basic rules of marketing engagement that any small business owner or SME marketer should keep in mind before targeting to women.
Launch a proposition to commemorate an eventful day
Launch a proposition targeted at women to be launched on a commemorative day like mother’s day, Valentine’s day, International women’s day or even father’s day. Women have a tendency to connect emotionally to the relevance of a day more than men. Women will appreciate this much more than men. Most men don’t care much for marketing activities targeted during special days.
Design and form of the proposition should be easy to use, functional and importantly stylish
Although this would apply to any customer, it is really important to ensure that your product features are easy use to use, and are able to do what it was intended to do. Adding a dash of relevant style will help it to differentiate it as a proposition targeted to women.
Build your brand credentials with an established brand targeting women as its primary customer base
If you are an SME, you probably are not established in the minds of your potential women customers. Aligning your proposition through a product bundling or channel alliance with established brands that have women as their primary targets, will help ensure that your marketing gets the momentum it needs.
Include women in your marketing and sales team
Ensure that you have women in your marketing and sales team. No matter what men claim, they can never understand women as well as women do. This will not only ensure that your proposition design, function and style are commensurate to the needs of women, but also will ensure that your communications efforts are not “off message” and irrelevant.
Ensure channel suitability
Ensure that your go to market models reflect the needs, aspirations and expectations of your women target market.
Cleanliness, safety, design and style are basic considerations. Ensure too that your sales folks are friendly, honest, empathetic and caring.
Communicate relevantly and differently
If you are in the business of targeting women as your primary customers, then you will have to ensure that your communications messages are not only relevant and functional, but is also be able to evoke the emotional stimuli that matters to women.
The devil is in the details
Women are very detailed oriented. Do not attempt to hoodwink them with headline pricing that are misleading. Ensure that your offer, its terms and conditions and other relevant information is fully communicated up front. Although this is practiced by most businesses, they do it primarily as legal caveats. For women, it normally conveys discipline, reliability and honesty.
Women are more loyal customers than men
Women are loyal. Once you have interested them as a customer, they will more than likely give you a second chance, if you miss a score.
Design retention propositions and ensure that the loyalty reward value is communicated clearly and directly to your women customers. They will certainly ensure that you get the full benefits of the “network effect” by recommending your brand and propositions to their network of family, friends and co workers. Imagine the compounded multiplier effect of this on your business growth and your marketing activities.
Understanding the differences between men and women and designing and crafting propositions based on these differences
Before I get into the details of how to design and craft a proposition to women, it is important that we know and understand and some of the key and not so obvious differences between men and women. A keen observation and understanding of these differences are critical before you attempt to craft a proposition targeted primarily at women.
You can also refer to my previous article “who rules the roost?” – is it men or women? I have written extensively in this article the relevant differences between men and women.
Interpersonal and social networking skills
We all know that women have deeper and longer lasting relationships with their peers, friends and work mates. Most men’s’ relationships are superficial and does not have the same depth that women have among themselves.
Marketing proposition design implications on women’s superior interpersonal and social networking skills
Any small business owner or SME investor targeting propositions to women will have to leverage this aspect through
- Social networking tools – Actively promoting your proposition through widely available social networking tools like Face book, micro sites and twitter. If the proposition makes sense, you are in for a lot of profits as women will promote, recommend and refer your brand to their network.If your proposition experience does not live up to its intended or stated claims, then your business will equally be doomed as the social networks that women have, will equally ensure that you fail miserably.
- Friend get friend offers and discounts – As women are better networkers, offers of friend get friend discounts and promotions will succeed better, for propositions targeted at women
- Special proposition offers targeted to a circle or network of women – an offer targeted at a group of women like professionals or entrepreneurs or through you local chamber of commerce. As women are more active and serious networkers and naturally seeking deeper and meaningful relationships, any proposition targeted to a circle of women has a high propensity for adoption by that circle.
Superior and keener experience of all senses
It has been scientifically observed that men’s senses are relatively blunt and that women have a superior and keener experience of all their senses.
Implications for women’s superior and their keener senses for marketing to women
- Color vis a vis the sense of sight
Marketers need to be especially aware of what this means in terms of color for their packaging, presentations and premises. The color cannot be too loud. It should have a soothing and softening effect. This does not mean that you paint it all pink!
- Sense of hearing and listening
Small business owners and SME marketers will need to ensure that your sales folks are trained to speak clearly, unambiguously and honestly. The music or the jingle for your brand or retail premises should not be too loud. Keep in mind that sound that is considered normal by men, are often perceived as too loud by women.Women also have a keener sense of picking up social cues, nuances, intonation, meaning and intensity of conversations. This implies that all your communications across all touch points including “above the line” communications, collaterals, websites and others are designed to reflect this keener sense of nuances and listening.
The combination of women’s deeper multi sensory awareness and hearing skills will behoove upon a small business owner or SME marketer to ensure that all your front customer facing employees need to be trained to be friendly, honest, sincere and non condescending.
Women are nurturing and caring
Women are by nature nurturing and caring and giving. Women have this innate unselfish ability to nature and give to all under their care.
Leveraging the nurturing and caring aspects of women in your proposition design
Marketers have a tremendous opportunity to leverage this unique aspect of a women’s trait.
- Communications and positioning
Marketers have an opportunity to craft their communications messages and positioning it as reinforcing the benefits of a proposition accentuating the caring and giving traits of women.
- Designing the propositions
Marketers should be extremely cautious to ensure that their proposition designs are not superfluous or falsely claimed. As caring and giving that women are, they will not hesitate to severely reject any business that positions or attempts to promote propositions that do not deliver the desired experience intended for their loved ones!
- Front facing employees
If your business plan calls for significant marketing to women, then it might be in your best interest to ensure that all your employees are not only friendly, courteous and professional but also has that “x factor” pertaining to empathy, kindness and caring.No I am not suggesting that your business is tied to nursing or elder care. What I am suggesting is that you need to ensure that psychometric and psychology tests be given to your front end employees, to ensure that you hand pick employees with this trait. Women are extremely loyal to caring and giving brands. This will pay off handsomely for any business targeting woman, and if executed well.
Women’s brain can decipher a wider range of information.
Women have a better ability to connect, correlate, compute, relate and act on the information. Women think locally and rely on details and nuances that matter. Women also have the ability to rewind relevant information over and over.
Implications for marketing on women’s ability to decipher a wider range of information
- Proposition design
Small business owners and SME marketers have to pay very special attention to the details of the product design, function and style. They also have to ensure that no hidden costs are camouflaged within the headline price. The detail oriented nature of women means that they will shop around and seek the best value.Ensure that your pricing and its perceived value are well communicated so that your brand and proposition’s competitiveness is well understood.
- Marketing communications
The design of collaterals and other product information should have clarity and be detailed. Women will notice the nuances that matter.
- Sales and front office employees
Sales and front office employees have to pay special attention to the fact that women have a better capability in rewinding relevant information. Therefore it is imperative that your sales folks should be consistent in what they say to their women customers and not lie through to a sale.
Women have better peripheral vision
Men have a need to track, trace and navigate the path to their goal. In other words men see in a narrow field – mild tunnel vision – with greater concentration on depth. Women, however, take in the bigger picture – literally speaking. Not only do women have literally a wider peripheral vision but women can also store for short periods at least, more relevant and random information than men. This wider peripheral vision combined with the acute sensory awareness and overall intuitiveness makes women an interesting market to target, attract, communicate to and sell.
Marketing implications on women’s superior peripheral vision
- Retail channel location and store
The intense peripheral vision capability of women will dictate that any small business owner or marketer will have to pay special attention to the entire external and internal surroundings of their retail store, office or location. Focus should not only be at the point of sales but attention to detail should also be given to the entire external and internal surrounding areas.Most women are busy moms, care givers to older folks or expectant mothers. What this means is that safety, cleanliness, convenience, play area for their toddlers and immediate attention are some of the key attributes that a woman customer will appreciate more than men.
- Marketing communications
Marketing communications is often focused on a core message. The intensity of focus depends on the type of media. If it is a billboard, then it is more intense versus a print advertisement. The peripheral vision capabilities of women will require you to design and create a message that communicates the big picture of what you are trying to sell.
Women seek out comments, opinions and suggestions of others
Men are independent in their thoughts and actions, whilst women generally seek out and are open to suggestions, comments and opinions from others
The implications of proposition design on women seeking comments and opinions of others
- Proposition design
SME marketers should design their propositions in a way as to enable your customers to give feedback. You should have a medium to share your customers’ opinions and feedback through online, print or other media. You are in a better position to generate real buzz and excitement around your proposition if more positive opinions and feedback are communicated back to your target market. Therefore your proposition design would have to ensure that you are able to capture this feedback and communicate it back to your wider target.The tools used in this are not just the obvious social media tools like twitter or face book, but also could include like 800 numbers where customers can call in, as well micro-sites specifically created and targeted for the launch of a single proposition.
- Marketing communications
Marketing communications using “real world” testimonials would certainly be effective when targeted at women. This has the compounded effect of creating and communicating a personalized message for your potential women customers.
- In conclusion
I am sure that most readers would agree that the advice given here could be relevant and applicable to marketing to any target. The point of this article is to highlight the differences between men and women that matter and its relevance to the marketing and design of propositions targeted to women.I would like to conclude by quoting the famous American author Camille Paglia who said “Women are in league with each other, a secret conspiracy of hearts and pheromones”. Woe betide any marketer who truly cannot fathom what this means.