A Gender Marketing Breakthrough: How Cingular Leveled the Playing Field between Male and Female Online Consumers

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To look at gender marketing in the online space is to look at a bomb with no fuse. We have all the interactivity and media at our disposal, but it’s rarely used to its full capacity in a marketing sense. Sure there’s cool animation and flashy graphics, but that’s not the utilization I’m speaking of. Let’s look at how Cingular took what was a male oriented product feature and used an interactive Flash demo to turn the tables and reinvent it for women.

Cingular spotted an opportunity back in July. They surveyed 1021 adults and revealed that “on average, men and women use mobile phones for different purposes. Approximately 82% of women use their phones to talk to family and friends, compared to 62% of men, and men spend twice as much time using their mobile phones for business.” Where other companies saw walls close in as their services were similar to their competitors, Cingular realized some insightful marketing would push a niche product feature into wide adoption staking their claim in an under marketed demographic. On the Cingular Push-To-Talk homepage, we see two women and are told to “Forget about what you know about Push to Talk services.” That sentence serves as a mission statement for their Push-To-Talk marketing plan. They literally wanted a clean slate. It’s no wonder why. Let’s take a look at how Push-ToTalk is being marketed across the major players in the sector.

While Nextel’s walkie-talkie function was the first to see the light of day, their audience was the businessman. Factory workers, salespeople; anyone needing to connect instantly with colleagues was the target consumer. Nextel’s DirectConnectâ„¢ service would be great for a mom’s delegation and planning responsibilities. Running a home or a social life can be looked at like running a business. There’s budgeting, scheduling, and logistics to plan. As it turns out, the majority of these decisions in the home are handled by women. A mother having mobile business tools, like Nextel’s DirectConnectâ„¢, to manage her life on her phone would be a great way for her to maximize her time. But what woman would like to literally picture her life as a business? Likely, not many, but show her how easy using the new tools can be without smothering her in tech talk and you’ll have a new enlightened female consumer.

In fact, you will end up getting a leg up on the competition by marketing effectively to the largest consumer demographic. With today’s level of advertising technology and interaction online, it should be a easier than ever to cater to each sex if you take a step back and look at your options. We can use videos, quick surveys, polls, different landing pages and of course list segmentation to really engage the consumer to get a more finite grasp on exactly what we should be communicating to influence a conversion.

Cingular along with Atmosphere BBDO has done a great job of selling to ‘Mom’ with its Flash based Push-To-Talk demo. The sitelet has gone to great lengths to literally show different demographics using the technology. When marketing to women, in general, it’s no secret that firing a barrage of bullet points won’t hit your target. Women want to look at how your product or service will impact their life. Will it add convenience, savings, or evoke emotion? All key factors. When shopping, most women look at the overall value, ease of use and how it will affect their life- the big picture. They will look at how ALL the features will influence how the stories of their lives play out. Show them how they can relate to using the product to their advantage and you’re on your way to successful communicating your product’s features.

In the demo, we watch as the multitasking soccer mom to the teenager in the mall- in full motion video and a clean flash interface go about their typical lives with added ease and efficiency using Push-To-Talk. Of course they don’t shut out the businessman, yet he happens to be the least featured in the demo. They realize he’s an easier sell. It’s a balancing act but men can often appreciate advertising geared to women when it’s done thoughtfully and this demo proves such thinking. It pays off. In fact, I could relate more to the mother and the teen although I am neither by a long shot.

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