By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter
Yvonne makes excellent points in her recent post, Marketing to Mom, to not forget the Moms. They do, in fact, make most of the decisions in a family. Eve the Big Bad poobah CEO throws his weight around...and then goes home and lets the wife take care of everything else - from what house they buy to where the kids go to school to what car(s) they drive to retirement planning. (And increasingly the wife is coming home from her own poobah position.)
Now, I love Moms - even though I don't have kids - I've got one of my own and several friends who are terrific Mothers. However, marketers are (still) all too ready to see women as June Cleaver, with a male mate, 2.5 kids, the station wagon, a dog...and her biggest concern being waxy build-up. All of which were often erroneous assumptions even back in the "good old days" of the 50s. And - sigh - I'm sure the politicos will be doing the whole pandering, patronizing Soccer Mom spin in 2008.
Then, we get it from the youngsters. For example, one could infer from Bea Field's posts at Guerrilla Marketing that us baby boomer femmes don't grok web marketing (Oh, wow! A L'Oreal flash site. What will they think of next?) and that we're perfectly happy to be fed the same old marketing hoo-ha. ("They [Gen Y] are impermeable to the marketing messages that appealed to their parents and grandparents.") I dunno - seems to me Gen Y'ers are awfully susceptible to "buy this, wear this, listen to this and you'll be cool." That's a marketing approach that's as old as civilization. I love my iPod but not because I can go gyrating around the mall, looking cool...madly texting about every inane thing I'm thinking, doing or saying. (Sure, I did that deep, deep navel gazing with friends for hours when I was young...on the phone. The technology has changed. The psychology hasn't.)
(Note to Bea: You need to tweak your post so people can link directly to them. So much for grokking the Web...and, hey, c'mon over and feel free to disagree with us. We're "big girls" here.)
So, what is a marketer to do if he or she wants to market to women?
1. Don't look for the easy answer. There is no one, sure-fire way to "market to women." Thanks to the Web, you can now learn about, talk to, and market to many "sub-groups."
2. Don't use just one tactic. I love the Web - but millions of people, men and women, are still not doing much with it. ("I don't want to give my credit card info to Paypal!") Think how best to reach your target - and have something meaningful to say when you reach them. Don't just paint "it" pink or slap some Mom speak into the copy. (Remember, a lot of us aren't Moms. And Moms often don't define themselves by their biological capability alone.)
3. Be genuine. Women can smell patronizing spin a mile away. Whenever the talking heads start in about the Soccer Mom demographic, I turn off completely - and I know many Moms (Soccer, T-Ball, whatever) who roll their eye and turn off too.
4. Don't assume that because we're Moms, that "babies" is the sales button. Sure, (most) Mothers are crazy about their own children, but I also know Moms who are just as jazzed about health care, the environment, animal rights, etc. etc (and they're not particularly crazy about other people's children.)
Bonus Tip #1: Not all Mothers think alike (Duh). Read some of the "Mommy" blogs, check out some sites such as All Moms Go To Heaven. (Yvonne frequently links to some of these).
Some of the smartest, funniest women are writing about - be brave, men! - "women's issues." (Check out Boobs on Ice). You can become part of the discussion - versus just talking at some anonymous "Mommy" target.
Bonus Tip #2: Just because we have breasts doesn't mean we'll automatically flock to buy anything with a pink ribbon logo on it. Is it a good product? Do we need it? Are you really donating the money to breast cancer research?
Related Post: Yvonne on Marketing to Women: L'Oreal Gets Flashy