Tech still don’t get women

Woman cellphoneby Tony Fannin, CEO/Partner, BE Branded |
It’s ironic that an industry such as tech can be so far ahead of the norm, yet so far behind in understanding their customers. The tech industry is creating new products, platforms and apps at breakneck speed. Many tout their hard-core specs, speed, cool functionality and everything they can do with data. What most still don’t understand are their primary customers/users. Women.

According to some reports, even at the latest CES (Consumer Electronic Show), many tech companies still cater to men and boys with their spec sheets and “booth babes”. That will end up costing many of these companies a ton in the long run. According to Angela Steele, CEO of mobile agency Ansible Mobile, women are quicker to adapt newer technologies, especially if it helps her get things done. For example, women use QR codes much more than men. Here are a few other points on why tech needs to change their stereotypes of women and technology:

• Keep the focus on the benefits. Women are very rational when it comes to making decisions, especially for their families.

• Things don’t need to be “girly” to be accessible. Look at Apple, they haven’t made one pink phone, but focus on the life benefits their technology provides. This is one reason why a vast majority of women love iPhones.

• Don’t overwhelm women. They are already multitasking. Your benefits should help them gain control of their busy lives. If you make tools to help them manage life’s situations, they will reward you with their loyalty.

• Women will be at the forefront of the retail revolution, driven by convenience enabled by mobile devices. This dramatically changes the way women shop.

• A powerful motivator is to show, and prove, how your technology will benefit their children. For example, if you show that this iPad app will help your child cognitively or in their coordination, it will resonate for them.

It is no secret, women are the CFO of most American families and control how the household dollars are spent. When developing your technology strategies, don’t focus on the Y chromosome. That’s the niche. The winning play is to understand and accommodate women by communicating clearly the benefits that help her manage her daily life, keep control and provides value their family, especially, their children.

And don’t make it pink.


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 “Tech still don’t get women”

  1. Have you done a far reaching survey to end at these ‘suggestions?’ A pink phone isn’t made for women, it’s made for girls and young teens. I think women are more tech savvy than men are, they just don’t go around bragging and flashing the whole time like we do. Understanding technology isn’t gender based, it generational.

    • Lexborgia, thank you for taking time to read my blog and your comment. We have done much research on marketing to women as well as collaborate with some of the most respected experts in this field, Marty Barletta and Holly Buchanan. You are right when distinguishing between girls, teen girls and women. To clarify, in my blog, I am referring to women. Technology is gender based when it comes to marketing to adults. Though most of the younger generation “get” technology, the behavior and what attracts them is drastically different between girls and boys. They seem to fall in alignment with their older counterparts (girls like benefits while boys like the technical specs – akin to car specs).

      • Ok. I was discussing apps today with some other students, and we established(from facts), that there is a huge untapped market in this area, ‘generation’ driven. I do not disagree with your data, I understand that advertising aims at specific demographics, but an advertiser’s market or goals, is no reflection of reality(advertising in general is not): women tastes in tech may differ(and broken into sub-groups), a much ‘softer product’ while men like tech with a harder edge, but understanding tech is a generational thing. And always will be. Selling tech(advertising/branding) is a different story. I’m no advertiser, but isn’t branding about ‘creating needs?’ Even if they don’t exists! Classic example is that Hyundai Commercial: ‘prepare to want one.’ The title of your post is…clever!

      • Thank you for your intelligent reply. Very refreshing. Let me address your last question first, “isn’t branding about creating needs?”. It is not. True branding is creating an emotional connection between the customer and the company. It has nothing about creating a need, but everything about how you feel and your perception is about the brand. For example, we have done work with Starbucks. Their brand is “daily inspiration”. This is what they’ve built their brand experience around. That is why, when you go to Starbucks, it feels like a small, special treat for yourself. Brand is what you emotionally stand for as a company.

        What you refer to as branding are really about two things, product/service innovation and selling. Creating a need is about innovation, no matter how small. No one wanted a CD until it was introduced. No one wanted a smart phone until Apple invented one. The second part of “creating a need” is just straight up advertising, regardless of medium (mobile, print, TV, etc.). It’s not exactly creating just a need, but to need “their” brand. Most of what you are addressing in your reply is really centered around advertising, which as you know, has it’s own sub-set of demographics. What I am discussing in this blog is the use of technology. Advertising on any particular technology is a discussion for separate blog. About your comments concerning generation divides. You are correct that each use, or doesn’t use, technology differently. This is why most brands are still searching their way through this maze. Because it is still such a young industry and is changing every quarter, most everyone is experimenting and seeing what works and doesn’t work. Even the younger generation is still evolving in their use of tech.

        Is there a huge untapped market in generation appropriate apps? Sure. The challenge is, it’s a constantly moving target. Ultimately, what many people forget are the basics. Technology is a tool, not a strategy or a market. We still market to people and the best brands go where their customers hang out at. If your customers are looking at magazines, then be there. If your customers are playing games on their phones, then be there, too.

        Thank you for your insightful comments.

      • The BA/BSc students from this semester(SAE Berlin) would find your insights extremely ‘clarifying.’ I just sent them a link. Thank you for taking the time and patience to respond and enlighten. Cheers.

      • Please feel free, you and your classmates, to email me if I can provide any insights and assistance in your education on brand, marketing and advertising. Here is my email: You’ll also find it on our web site

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