Making men feel in control is key to marketing to them, says Men’s Health editor

Marketers wanting to target men need to make them feel in control and use experts to strengthen credibility, the Mumbrella Health & Wellness Marketing Summit heard on Wednesday.

Luke Benedictus, Pacific Magazines’ Men’s Health editor, told the audience in a session on marketing health to men, that males not only respond to authority more than women, but are more responsive when they feel in control.

Benedictus presenting on how to market health to men, at Mumbrella’s Health & Wellness Marketing Summit yesterday.

“Men’s Health has been and always will be powered by expertise, doctors, scientists and other sort of experts. What my team does is research, curate that info and make it interesting, relevant and applicable to the live’s of Australian men,” Benedictus explained.

“Use credible experts to back up your material. It’s vital in the health space because it gives you authority, and frankly when you’re dealing with subjects that can directly impinge on your audience’s health, it would be irresponsible to do anything else.”

However, Benedictus added experts were also “really valuable” from a marketing perspective.

“Men are much more influenced by sources of authority. If you want to market healthcare to men, take advantage of this male disposition to hierarchies,” he said.

“Use experts in your marketing material, and then emphasise the source of your authority, training and recommendations. It strengthens your credibility and enforces your claims with genuine substances.”

He noted it was important to position brands as a “means for men to feel like they’re in control,” using the example of Men’s Health’s latest cover, which featured a physical transformation with Guy Sebastian.

Last month’s Men’s Health edition


“It got me thinking, why does our audience love a transformation story so much? I reckon the impact of a transformation goes deeper than a simple compare and contrast,” he said.

“It shows a subject decisively taking control of their circumstances, to bring back personal change.”

“We see it work for us in Men’s Health again and again.”

Benedictus told marketers not only to think about control and authority, but also utility and “genuine value” when talking to men about their health.

“Increasingly, your customers are bombarded with this overload of information and it’s your job to help them find a way through it, and cherry pick the truly relevant info for them.

“When it comes to marketing to men, you need to deliver utility and genuine value.

“The second thing I think is really vital in the healthcare space, is to help men cut through the clutter, because we are all drowning in more content than ever before and there’s so much conflicting information out there.”

Benedictus’ comments paralleled those made of Simon Davies, managing director at Bastion Brands, and Jimmy Niggles,  founding ambassador at Beard Season, who argued being “straight down the line” with communications was key to communicating with men.

Niggles and Davies spoke about Beard Season, and how an activation of Manly Beach encouraged people to get their skin checked.

“Make it easy, use technology as well,” Davies said.

“Be straight down the line with comms, and use some humour.

“What we mean by straight down the line is you have to tell men exactly what the situation is. But if it’s too serious and there’s not humour and a bit of fun, sometimes they can get turned off by that.”

He added while being direct and using science was important, marketers needed to approach emotion in other ways, when talking to men about their health.

“You’ve got to talk about the science but then when you are talking about emotion, it’s good to talk about it in a way like how these things might affect their family for instance, not necessarily them directly,” Davies said.


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