Digital Marketing and Women

Posted by Willie Pena on December 19th, 2013 at 7:51 am

On track to control more than $7 trillion in consumer spending by the year 2020, women have enormous buying clout and are the main shoppers for themselves and the entire family. Realizing that, many companies are strategizing how to best appeal to women through digital advertising and marketing.  It isn’t always easy.

Marketers have to walk a fine line between female cliché and realistic, inclusive imagery that merges brand messaging with modern woman-centric interests and principles.  A new booklet from Insights in Marketing, entitled “Getting Women to Buy: Better Insights to Transform your Marketing,” offers companies crucial advice that could make their efforts easier.

So far, the target audience is not impressed. Nearly every segment of women from moms to working professionals to baby boomers believe marketers do not understand them and fail to market to them successfully or frequently enough.  Less than 10 percent of women feel marketing messages truly resonate with them. The most disappointing marketing came from fields that historically and traditionally aimed ads at men: automobile companies, the alcoholic beverage industry, and banks or other financial institutions.

One problem might be the absence of women in executive advertising positions.  Research shows that less than 3 percent of creative directors and only 8 percent of chief marketing officers are female.  The bigger problem, however, might be the shifting identity of women.

Shifting values

Promotional experts used to cater to women as moms, wives and domestic mavens. When that became socially gauche, they pitched to the businesswomen, the liberated women who were beauty-focused. Then, they appealed to statistical shopping behaviors and expressed desires. Now, it’s time for marketers to embrace the true personalities and passions of women, looking beyond roles, behaviors and exterior image to see what motivates her mentally, ethically, personally.

Many marketers – about 80 percent of them-- go about creating profiles for their female audience in the wrong way. They track buying behaviors, personal details and product preferences. Those are great and modern tactics, but also basic ones that those don’t provide an understanding of the true essence of the female shopper.   Women shoppers have subconscious values, habits and personality traits that spontaneously guide their shopping choices and sense of brand loyalty, researchers say. Until marketers learn how to appeal to those three subconscious forces that have universal and time-tested importance to women, they will fail at effective marketing to the female audience.

Female personality types for marketers

Fortunately, advertisers don’t have to guess and speculate about female values and habits because researchers have used data from a survey of 1300 women to group women with common habits and values into five different personality types that marketers can cater to.  The first personality type, or profile, is that of the Achiever. Achievers are highly active women who constantly pursue goals and checklists, playing and seeking to master many roles on a daily basis.  An estimated 26 percent of the female population, these women care about their reputation and are moved by what others think of them and their accomplishments.  While shopping, this type of woman is impressed by products of superb quality and that are advertised as upgraded or new.

The second type of female personality is the Conservative. Conservative women, who comprised 21 percent of survey respondents, are traditional women who are family-focused nurturers who put others above themselves. They buy things that will make their children, spouses or parents happy and add comfort the home.

Roughly, 20 percent of women fit the third personality type. They are the Predictables. Such women do the same thing day in and day out, holding their regimens as sacred; they refuse to veer off course because her daily habits offer the benefits of balance, peace and reliability. That doesn’t mean she always buys the same brand, however.   Predictables are loyal only the desire to reap benefits. They scrutinize a product to assess the pros and cons of making the purchase. She does not want her life to become stressed or chaotic because a product has too many drawbacks.

The fourth type is the Stressed Woman. Life moves fast for her and she is constantly trying to find a safe haven or resource that can restore her sanity.  She – and her cohorts who make up 17 percent of respondents and presumably the female population - indulges in products that make her feel good and affirm her good qualities.

The final prototype is the Experience Junkie. She, like 16 percent of women, needs to participate in many events, observe the world around her up-close and have hands-on, first-hand knowledge of everything.  They are high-energy women who will consider and test a multitude brands before settling on one. Marketers must compete for her dollar.

In the end, by incorporating these profiles into an overall marketing strategy, advertisers can better shape promotions to psychologically resonate with different segments of their targeted female audience.

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