I dug out my marketing books to write a groundbreaking post on what Jane Austen teaches us about marketing to women –- you know, the 4 Ps: Product, Price, Promotion, Place…and Pride and Prejudice?
Then I realized, this is much more than just marketing. It’s about who women are and how we are wired.
So, here's what I’ve learned about “what women want” from Jane Austen –- my 6 Rs:
- Relationships. Whether it’s Elizabeth Bennett and Charlotte Lucas in Pride and Prejudice or Emma Woodhouse and Miss Taylor in Emma, women friendships are invaluable. And success building and sustaining relationships is crucial now just as much as then -- in social media, prospecting new business, dealing with coworkers, and of course with family and friends.
- Romance. (And Mr. Right.) We want the happy ending –- the fairy tale. We want to believe in true love and be swept away -- and not by the dirty kitchen broom. Everyday life never seems quite so magical as it does in these period movies. (Though honestly, how romantic could it be without indoor plumbing?)
- Respite/Reprieve. Women love beauty. The gowns. The dancing. The music. The breathtaking scenery. Every friend that watches Pride and Prejudice or any of the movies falls under a spell and barely breathes until the end, then it's a soft, audible sigh.
- Real. We want to be real, and I think most of us applaud when the confident, witty Elizabeth Bennett with her not-so-perfect family gets the guy instead of the snooty, aristocratic Miss Bingley with her expensive gowns. And we feel the real pain of Persuasion’s protagonist Anne Elliott who nurses the wound of lost love and wonders if she’ll ever get a second chance.
- Rich. Well, most of us would rather not be poor, right? (Notice how the dashing male leads –- Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley, Mr. Knightley, Captain Wentworth –- all tend to be wealthy.) We at least want to be comfortable and able to shop. At least a little.
- Relief. And a little rest and relaxation (R&R). Whatever it is, we love a good story. And a good cry. It’s cathartic and a lot cheaper than therapy.
How does that relate to marketing? Whether you’re a business or nonprofit, it’s about understanding what drives and motivates people. It’s about reaching people with your story and making them feel something so they take action. They give, advocate or volunteer, or they buy your product or service (Starbucks has got me all figured out; I practically live there). And International Justice Mission tells powerful, compelling stories about the girls saved from trafficking that inspire me to aid their cause.
- Choose your favorite Highbury bachelor from Emma: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/emma/quiz.html
- Vote for the best Jane Austen male lead: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/austen/menofausten.html
- Check out Jane Austen's novels: http://www.janeausten.org/ or http://www.pemberley.com/
- View a list of the movies: http://www.janeausten.org/jane-austen-movies.asp
- Learn about Jane Austen’s life: http://www.austen.com/
- Watch film clips from Masterpiece Theater: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/austen/
(Photos: Pride & Prejudice; my 3 versions of Pride & Prejudice -- oh yes, you must see all the versions; a stack of my Jane Austen movies)