Is it OK to Gender target your Marketing?

The short answer is ABSOLUTELY!!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I am a very strong supporter of equality, but I’m also a realist. As a general rule, men and women react differently to sales techniques, discount offers, colours, stock art, and even store layout.
Try it out with your partner next time you go to the shopping center. Watch what marketing they react to, and instead of looking at the product their selling, have a look at how it’s placed and what it says. Why doesn’t it appeal to you?

Marketing to Women

The no’s:
The ultimate marketing sin when targeting women is to “Shrink it and Pink it”. Seriously, we’re not all THAT into pink. Besides, even as early back as 1927, parents were told to dress boys in pink, as it was a stronger colour, and girls in blue as it was more dainty.

Also, there’s no need to make it overly feminine or make one “just for the girls”, like we’re a separate breed. Don’t over think it by making your product scream, “look at me, I’m relevant to women.” Women don’t really want to be alienated that much and are more likely to avoid your product on purpose.

Too much choice is no choice at all. Generally speaking, men will sift through the pile, looking for the black box, in a basket of black boxes, which is the exact black box they are looking for. Women won’t. Having a hundred near-identical products will turn your female customers away. They like choice, but the differences must be obvious and be logical, so they can quickly narrow down their selection to exactly what they need.

Don’t sell us with statistics. We honestly don’t care if 50% of women like this product. What we do care about is how it can benefit me, make my life better, more fun, easier and engaging.

Women like an emotional connection and I don’t mean you have to bring out the baby animals for every piece of marketing. If you marketing surprises me or makes me laugh, I’m more likely to respond than if it preaches to me on how I should behave or what I should be doing.

Get specific. Women don’t like to be put into a generic “female” box. Work out exactly who your perfect female is, and market to her. If she is a 25 year old with one kid in primary school and husband, and likes to go to the gym on Wednesdays, and coffee with the girls on Saturdays… then target HER. Don’t worry about ignoring the rest of the women out there, because they won’t fall for your “one size fits all” marketing approach anyway.

Women love the personal approach. Women prefer to be helped and guided without pressure when inside the store. They will make their own decision in their own time. Men prefer good parking, easy access, clear information, and a quick sale.

Women are more likely to give to a cause than men, but it should also be relevant to the product. I’ve seen pink garbage trucks, drilling rigs and even toilet paper.

Know your niche market, as there’s no quicker way to lose an audience, than by showing you don’t actually “know” them. For example, if you’re targeting women who sew, then you may need to know they prefer to be called “sewists” and not “sewers”. I’ll bet you didn’t know that one, did you?

Where are you marketing?

Make sure you are actually placing your marketing in the right location. A printed flier in the letter box that gets delivered on bin day, is less likely to work than a specifically targeted facebook advert. And you’ll manage to save your marketing dollar at the same time.

I’m going to throw some statistics at you now, so women, you’ve got the gist of this article so you can feel comfortable in heading off to do something else now.. 🙂

  • 85% of women are the main purchaser in their household, for insurance, internet, phone carrier, education, entertainment, household comforts …
  • 68% of QR code users are women.
  • Mums are online for at least 6 hours per day.
  • Women spend 40% more time on social media than men.

I hope this article has helped you re-think your current marketing approach, and it’s not just about men and women. Marketing is all about knowing everything you can about your niche audience, what they like, and how they speak. Don’t over generalise, lets narrow it down and get personal.

I’d love to hear about your marketing bloopers, or some you’ve seen.



Note: Not everything you read on the internet is accurate. While I make every effort to check my facts and stats, this article is base on my opinions from over 30 years in the printing, marketing and advertising industry.

Graphic Artist & Designer
AndyK Design