Drop the labels: a how-to for marketers wanting to woo women

Moensie RossierDon’t call them mums or main grocery buyers. Getting women to part with their dollars may be harder than men who don’t mind being stereotyped but it can be done. In a piece that first appeared in EncoreMoensie Rossier tells us how.

Becoming a brand that’s relevant to women, and is not just parasitic upon them, starts with discovering what they care about. Brands that master the craft ultimately create long-term relationships and drive sales. But, of all the audiences, and despite being targeted heavily, women often prove the most elusive. While men mostly embrace, or at least shrug-off with some banter, their stereotypes around beer, mates or sport – women hate being lumped together. 

A 40-year-old woman could be married in suburbia with a university-aged teen, a toddler and grandparents under one roof, or she could just as easily be an independent single with no responsibilities living the life of a cashed-up teen. The only thing they have in common is their resistance to being put in a box and an insistence that there’s more to them than meets the eye. How we come to grips with this enigma is a weighted question to the tune of $514bn dollars – that’s 80 per cent of the $642bn Australian household annual spend, which women control.

So what are the secrets to getting Aussie women talking about your brand?

Don’t dehumanise

Labels like ‘main grocery buyer’ and even ‘consumers’ create barriers. Mums don’t even want to be talked to as ‘mums’, but as people. Women and men, boys and girls care about the same things, though it manifests in different ways. Everyone wants to belong, to have some control over their life, to be loved and to be respected. Iconic campaigns like Coke, which channel human happiness and sociability, are loved by women (and all), while Dove leverages the universal goal of self-esteem, with a lens that resonates strongly with women.

Excite them

The desire to experience something new, to feel more intensely, is inherent in all of us. Excitement is to be found even in the smallest, simplest and most everyday of experiences, including bargain hunting. Our recent campaign for K-Mart tapped into the thrill of shopping, with an infectious track that got your heart beating faster.

The 1,000 Mums campaign invited real mums into the store to guess prices and watched them celebrate as they realised prices were so low. Value has seldom looked so compelling and K-Mart’s sales reflected this.

Understand their pragmatism

Women, particularly mums, are a pragmatic lot because they don’t have time to waste. If something’s got to be done, they just get on and do it. The Coles’ ‘Feed your Family’ app has done a great job of giving mums a simple way to create affordable, easy family dinners.

Talk to their strength

Strong is the new skinny. As the cross-fit trend sweeps the nation, the new aspiration is strength. It heralds an era of good nutrition that builds toned muscle, not just dieting products. We still want to look good in a red dress, but we also want great abs for the selfies we post on Instagram. Special K and low calorie products still have a role to play in the checks and balances of life, but the conversation is moving on.

Nike’s She Runs the Night Campaign connected strongly with women by highlighting a barrier they face – running alone at night. It ignited a powerful, thriving community of connected female runners by empowering them.

Leverage chatty, intuitive technology

Louann Brizendine, author of The Female Brain, says women speak about 20,000 words a day, 13,000 more than men. Whether face-to-face, over the phone or in social media, women’s interactions are equally natural. The internet is not perceived as a piece of technology, but another way to have a chat, share knowledge and get or give a recommendation. According to the Australian Women and Social Media Survey, 92 per cent of women online read blogs and 68 per cent have bought something based on a blog review.

Women also exert more influence on the look of products and user experience – simple, user-friendly technology, sleeker, more colourful and with more accessories.

Harness their power as a market force

Fuelled by their natural talkativeness and their massive online influence, women are showing their collective power as buyers and sellers. They’re making the transition from consumers to a market powerhouse and force to create change. We’ve seen new brands like Thankyou Water exert pressure on retailers in a way that many big brands have failed to do, through harnessing collective goodwill in social channels.

Give them something to believe in

Brands that organise themselves around a core belief that resonates with people are the ones that are garnering this level of collective support. In the US, the Method cleaning brand, or ‘Method community’ as they call themselves, is organised around the idea of ‘People against Dirty’. And, armed with the courage of their convictions, they’re giving the established fast moving consumer goods giants a run for their money. According to the report Marketing in the Era of Accountability, an analysis of the 880 effectiveness case studies from the UK’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, achieving fame is the most effective way to drive sales. When brands are talked about by people women trust, they gain the weight of believability. The more the conversation continues, and the more inspiring the conversation is, the more famous a brand becomes.

Women are goldmines for a brand yet many don’t get it right. Understanding women and connecting with them in a meaningful way can create the strongest of advocates. Trigger the right conversations with women and fame is your brand’s for the taking.

Moensie Rossier is a planning director at BWM.

Encore issue 29This first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit encore.com.au for a preview of the app or click below to download.


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