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Marketing To Us Bag Ladies

Back From a Summit on Marketing

Okay, let me get this part out of my system right away - I HATE flying. No, I am not afraid to fly. No, I don't mind the 'flying' part. What I mind is the wasting time in airports, the running from gate to gate inbetween flights, and the uncomfortable seats. Not to mention surly flight attendants.

Tom and I attended a Summit on Interactive Marketing in St. Louis on Tuesday and Wednesday, and that part of the trip was fruitful. The flying part was just a big pain in the arse.

I learned a whole lot at this event. A lot of detail that I never imagined was involved in running the company, for this client. (the client invited us as we blog for them; I wish I'd read this blog post beforehand...and then been able to share it) The strangest part was that I met some really terrific agency people. Who knew agency people were people, too? (yes, pun intended... we always thought they were... robots, but they're not).

An interesting part of this trip was the open and honest reports on social networking and interactive marketing as a focus for this company. There is a whole lot going on that I didn't know about and wouldn't have guessed. Good stuff. Sure, they are still a little behind when it comes to social media - but they did have one absolutely captivating keynote speaker that put things in better perspective, not only for them, but for me. Smart-ass that I am, sometimes, I sheepishly admit here and now, that I learned something. I must say that if authenticity is the foundation for successful sales and marketing, going forward, and we all know it is - then this group is on their way. They're trying, and in many areas, succeeding.

And, through it all, I was thinking of how all of that information applies to marketing to women. I was watching the women in the room, and how they were jotting down notes and occasionally leaning over to whisper something to the woman next to them. I also noticed, throughout the entire trip, that while women are the dominant gender, here and everywhere else, we're the minority in business. The minority at the airport, waiting for flights. The minority in restaurants (if you don't include wait staff, which, at the lesser priced eateries, is still women). A group of us had dinner together and of the 10-12 people there, two were men. Hmmm..Behavior_modification.

I give a lot of kudos to the client - a number of smart women presented at this event. Some were partnered with men, but treated as complete equals (as far as I could tell) and at the close, the Director of Interactive Marketing thanked the young woman who had put the entire thing together. He was clearly happy with her work, as were all of us who attended. An event such as that is not only time consuming, it's exhaustive. 

Why am I mentioning this when the term marketing to women never came up...the goal was marketing, interactive marketing, not aimed at any specific gender? One presenter did admit that more women than men are involved in the interactive marketing of the products (which I was aching to jump up and shout out - but am glad I didn't as he finally did it for me). I'm writing about it because in the end, when it was all over, I left the summit with the feeling that sometimes marketing can be from a customer perspective, not a gender perspective. Perhaps, had there been time, they would have introduced a segment on the value of marketing to women online.

I know Andrea Learned would approve of the focus on the customer, not the customer's gender. Me - well, I believe in social media and social networking, and I believe women are better at it.

Therefore, how are you doing your interactive marketing? Are you looking at building or creating "relationships" regardless of gender? Are you embracing social media and social networking to build conversations? Do you think those conversations should be different with women than with men? Does your product or service require a more focused approach - one that recognizes the inherent differences in how men and women use it or approach it or understand it?

Finally, what are you doing about that?

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