Are you preparing your 2009 budget for the “must attend” conferences and webinars you’ve been gathering info on for months now, in order to meet your marketing to women online goals? How about newsletters, blogs, and white papers that showcase the marketing to women market – are they high on your list to subscribe to?
What about your interactive marketing focus for the New Year, which will be on us before we know it – is that centered around the fair sex, and getting more feedback from women online, in order to serve them better?
If you’re keeping your fingers to the keyboard creating great content to appeal to your women customers, and your are eyeballs stuck to your computer monitor devouring all the advice from marketing to women columnists all over the net – let me give you some advice: STOP! Step back! Drop those hands! Blink your eyes and read on…
The truth is: the whole marketing to women focus is over. That’s right, it’s over. We don’t want you to market to us. We never wanted you to market to us. We endured you, but we never accepted you. In 2009, we aren’t even going to do that.
Did I hit a nerve? I hope so. Because at the heart of this movement are groups of women who know they call the shots. These are women who are tired of being marketed to – of being singled out, as if we’re sheep adorned with pink ribbons in our hair. We’re tired of being referred to as a demographic. Oh sure, a few smart marketers looked at the women’s market and created a nice pie chart – separating us into groups; boomers, Gen Xers, tweens, teens, Senior…in an effort to get personal, and that’s not a bad thing. The problem is – none of those labels stuck. As hard as marketers tried to stick them on us, we peeled them off and crumpled them into paper wads for target practice.
Women don’t want to be labeled. We want to be recognized. That’s right – recognized for our differing personalities; differing likes and dislikes; and even differing opinions that don’t always fly with our core group of family and friends. Stop lumping us into some demographic last year’s Harvard grad students created for their masters’ thesis. The old marketing to women way tried to lure us into buying products and services as groups; it was just easier to consider us a crowd, and to use the crowd mentality. If she’s a boomer, she likes “this.” If she’s a Gen Y, we have to do “this.”
That’s over. The labels aren’t working. It’s not the demographic, anymore. It’s… the individual – and her peers. Let me share some new insight with you, and get you on track for 2009.
For the last five to seven years the idea of women as the primary shoppers, both online and off, has been swelling to a tidal wave. I was at the forefront – telling marketers to stop marketing to Dick and start marketing to Jane. “Jane,” I told you, “has the money and the power to buy whatever she wants, today. She doesn’t ask Dick’s permission to buy a new laptop, or a lawn mower, or a set of tires for the car. She takes care of those things herself. And, she may be the defining vote in whether or not Dick gets to buy any of those products.”
That hasn’t changed. Jane is still very much in charge (yes, that’s a bit of a pun – Jane is quite fond of using her charge card, online and off). As others have told you, Jane is into electronics, and shopping online for cars, and joining social networking sites to get the best feedback on where to buy the household things she’s responsible for (think kitchen, bath, and garage.) Jane has a system, today. A system called “what does So-and-so think?” – where “So-and-so” isn’t her next door neighbor or her sister, anymore. So-and-so is likely someone she met online. If you’re not engaged in that conversation, if you aren’t part of her community of resources, you’re invisible to her.
In 2009, the focus is on reaching your female customer on her level, on her playground, at her request. It’s on word of mouth – at its most basic level; woman to woman via Twitter, Facebook, individual or group blogs, and video email. These are the tools women are comfortable using today. These are the tools you should be mastering – in order to reach your female customers. Women of all ages, from all walks of life, are participating in these social media tools. And their voices are traveling the web at the speed of light – forget the speed of sound!
Your female customer is out there sharing video reviews of your product with her friends, male and female. She’s Twittering her latest fab purchase. She’s sharing a touching email note, viral marketing like crazy. Check out the chatter on the Society for Word of Mouth, where friends invite friends to comment on conversations – and where they recognize the power of customer reviews . Ebay and Amazon may have started that ball rolling, but women have taken the concept to the next level by dominating social media and the blogosphere.
Your female customer is no longer divided by generation or technical skill. Don’t depend on last year’s labels to reach out to her. She’s embraced the power of community in a bigger way than ever imagined. She’s following savvy teens on Twitter, and taking cues from her text-messaging business contacts – discovering new ways and new places to shop. Without being marketed to. Head’s up – here are some places you’ll find many of your female customers. www.janeoutofthebox.com, www.savvyauntie.com and www.askpatty.com.
So put those marketing campaigns away. You can’t get to know your female customer by marketing to her “demographic.” You need to get pixel2pixel with her. And then, find a way to get face2face – with information that’s worthy of her time.
p.s. face2face does not necessarily mean…what it used to. Stay tuned.