She’s Just Not That Into You(r Pitch)

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critique2.jpgADOTAS EXCLUSIVE – Men are from Mars, women are from Venus – market accordingly. Andrea Learned, co-author of the book, Don’t Think Pink, shares insightful tips for marketing to women on her blog, Learned on Women. In a post titled, “The Online Gender Agenda” she explained some of the reasons women are so clearly at home in Web 2.0 – and it couldn’t be more applicable today.

Learned quotes Kelly Mooney, president and “chief experience officer” of Resource Interactive. That’s a new twist in our corporate experience – the creation of the chief experience officer – and it’s a title that you’ll see more and more, in the coming Web 2.0 world. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s a shift that’s primarily driven by women because we require the “experience” to build the relationship. Learned shared these results from a gender study, demonstrating the differences in how women shop online, compared to how men shop online:

•    Women feel empowered. Men feel powerful.
•    Men’s inner shopper is awkward. Women’s inner shopper is enriched.
•    Men are enticed by product, then lifestyle. Women are enticed by lifestyle, then product.
•    Women scan. Men dig.
•    Women expand the mission. Men stick to the mission.

Here’s What It Means for Online Marketing:

Web 2.0 gives women the power to be themselves. Previously, when a woman had a question about a product or service, she would often disguise her gender, afraid of being talked down to. Today, she’s not afraid to ask questions. She knows there are millions of other women out there listening, and, they’ll give her honest replies. Those who want to market to women online should be tapping into that fresh confidence.

Web 2.0 has helped enrich women’s lives by connecting us with other women all over the world. Our collective voices are now heard above the general din. Lifestyle is part of the experience, and the reason places like Home Depot’s Do-it-Herself workshops exist. Their foray last year into telling true stories of women using DIY home-improvement methods, speaks volumes.
Speaking of lifestyle, that’s always been a given – women create life everywhere they go, embracing styles according to people and place. Being online offers new ways to vary that using color, product description and 3-D images — and by understanding that women don’t buy “it”, they buy what “it” represents: the coffee will keep me alert through a busy day; the shoes will match my bag, make my legs look longer, but not pinch my toes!

So, to make online shopping more of an experience – remember, women are all about the experience – today’s consumer will click into her BBFF’s blog (best blog friends forever) and see what’s up there. Fashion bloggers, pet bloggers, comic bloggers, shoe bloggers, all have a place in some woman’s heart, and she is going to see what they are saying, on a daily basis

Author Paco Underhill showed how this works in his book Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping. His research revealed that women shopping in a housewares chain spent more time shopping when accompanied by a “female companion” than women with children, women alone, or women with a man. It’s the togetherness mentality. It’s why women go to restrooms together, it’s why women create coffee klatches, it’s why women are the church do-gooders; we like being with other women. Give us a place to experience that togetherness and sharing on your Web site, a place to talk, to you and each other, and you’ll be a favorite URL in no time.

About That Target Thing …

Entrepreneur magazine defines “target market” as “the group of customers your product is aimed at.” Aimed at? What kind of talk is that? Women have baby food, tears, toys, and all manner of unpleasant things aimed at us on a daily basis. We prefer not to have your marketing message “aimed” at us. Once and for all, we are not targets.

News flash: our foreheads (or whatever body part you’re choosing to “target”) are not tattooed with big red circles. When we hear the word “target,” it creates an image of war; of battle swords drawn, faces scowling in anger or fear. Is that how you want us to perceive you?

This is a prime area women I’ve talked to online and off, complain about – the idea that marketers continue to engage them using language from a previous century, full of jargon depicting a conflict that must be resolved with aggression. Women, for the most part, are not aggressive. Women are into collaboration. We’re into talking it out. We’re into using brains not brawn. When marketers slap that “target” label on us, we cringe, and wait for the arrow. To date, that arrow has missed its mark; especially online. Without understanding how and why women are online, it’s impossible to “target” them for sales.

Just Be More …

Why not just be more approachable; more accessible; more responsive? (Perhaps you’ve heard that before? That’s because we seek the same things in our online experiences that we often seek in our personal lives). Know that we go online not just to shop, but to relate, to connect, and to save time. There is convenience in shopping online – no crowds to fight, no parking space to lose, no bad weather to endure, no children to chase, and best of all, no bags to lug home. Click, click, click … we come, we see, we conquer, and then we’re off to Twitter our purchase to the world. If you’re shopping cart is that easy, you’re on the right path.

Never forget that there is an element of fun in shopping online – knowing we can click in and out of a dozen sites, window shop to our heart’s content, and fill our shopping cart to overflowing, then, move on to something else without actually buying. If you’re using Web 2.0, that won’t be a problem; you’ll save our “wish list” and offer us a deal when we come back to visit, later on. As Learned noted, shopping is a mission to the fairer sex. And we’re better than ever at it in today’s Web 2.0 world.

As it has been for eons, women are at the cornerstone of all that is interactive. If you’re not engaging us in conversation, we’re not hanging around, because it’s not about you, it’s about us. Perhaps the most important message of all is that our daughters are watching and learning. And, it really is ALL about them.

Isn’t it?

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