Marketing to Women, Tactic or Company-Wide Strategy

By Holly Buchanan

If women are a portion of your target audience, should you create a separate marketing effort directly targeting women only?  Or should you have a company-wide strategy to appeal to women in everything you do?

Great question.

My answer?  Option B – a company-wide strategy is the better choice.  But you can go with option A and create a specific campaign or campaigns targeting women only.    But that option will only work if your core company values are in-synch with hers.  In other words, you can’t create a tactical campaign that isn’t in alignment with your main brand.

Some companies, like P&G or Johnson and Johnson are targeting women in nearly everything they do.  Creating a positive experience for female customers is a part of their culture.   This makes sense, since women are the majority of their customers.

But what if you’re Nike where women are only a portion of your customers?

Nike targets women, but remains true to its core brand

Let’s look at Nike.   This is a high testosterone brand.   Even their women’s apparel is infused with their “Just Do It” in-your-face mentality.   Until recently, their women’s shoes were based on a model made from a small man’s foot.  But Nike got smart and changed that model or “last”  to one specifically designed for women’s feet.

Nike uses separate lasts to allow for the difference in biomechanics between the sexes. Among these differences are the tendency for women to overpronate more because of the angle produced by their hip alignment. Women also have feet that are shaped differently and need more arch support. Nike offers shoes that provide cushioning and stability created specifically for the needs of women runners.

Nike isn’t changing who they are as a brand to try to attract women.  But they are acknowledging women’s unique needs.  It works.

Now, if you’re Go Daddy and you create a campaign, say, targeting women business owners, it’s not going to fly.  The core marketing message is in conflict with most women’s values.

At the end of the day, I think Tony Fannin said it best in his post Brand is about external and internal credibility.  You have to be consistent in everything you do.  There has to be buy-in externally and internally into your brand and your marketing.  Women will notice if you say one thing, but do another.

You can’t just target  a woman, you have to actually make her life better

If women are only a part of your customer base and you want to reach out to them, find a way to do something that genuinely adds value to their lives.   Don’t just do a one-off promotion, like a one-time donation to breast cancer research.   How could you change your customer experience to make her life better?   Make that change – then promote it.  You can promote it company-wide in all your marketing, or you can promote it in a campaign targeting women only.  Your choice.   Just make sure it’s genuine.

If anyone else has any advice  or examples on this issue, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Holly Buchanan is the co-author of The Soccer Mom Myth – Today’s Female Consumer: Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys. You can read more at her blog Marketing to Women Online.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

6 Responses to “Marketing to Women, Tactic or Company-Wide Strategy”

  1. I guess the thing is that in most households it is women that are in charge of the shopping. No, not because we like to spend but because we do the majority of the caring for family and home – whether that be clothing and shoeing our family or decorating – while hubby is at work.

    We also infulence what our man wears so I guess marketing campaigns aimed at women will target the largest audience.

    • Catherine– Thank you for your comment and taking time to read our blog. I agree with you. Women do most of the care-taking of the family. I also think that women “care” about more things than men do. Us men have the limited capacity to think about or care about maybe 4 or 5 things at a time, while women can care about many things at the same time. –Tony

  2. Hi there can I use some of the content from this entry if I link back to you?

  3. Hershel Defreese Reply July 13, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Have you ever considered about contributing on additional websites? may some great content here and I’m certain you can share bunch far more should you wrote some content throughout other websites. You might discover many associated web-sites to check out. Only anything to think about. I’m glad I know about it at least.

  4. in the world today where women are the purchasing officer,
    every marketing campaigns, be it be for any product hasto consider the impact of the women power behind it.
    that the policy which will decide the fate of the campaign and the sales

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