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How to Change Marketing for Women Part II

Last week, we talked about how marketers can change the culture for women inside their own organizations. This week, we turn to how they can do a better job of marketing to women.

1. Talk to other marketers: It may sound simple, but having an open dialogue with others in the industry—whether it's within your own business, at local meet-ups, in online forums or at conferences—is how we create new ideas, standards and best practices for marketing to women in a new day and age. We’ve all seen ads from the past that we know now are damaging or disrespectful to women in some way. We only evolve by learning, analyzing, hearing from our audiences and talking to each other.

2. Focus on emotion: “We know that what women want goes way beyond the surface,” said Andrea Van Dam, CEO at Women’s Marketing, Inc. at the June workshop “Marketing to Women in the #MeToo Era” in New York City. “What matters to her today is No. 1, emotional connection to a brand.” This doesn’t mean always focusing on gender norms—not all women are, or want to be, mothers, so ads with kids or cute babies might not do the trick. “As retailers and as marketers, we should challenge ourselves to transcend the commerce piece and push for something deeper,” said JCPenney CMO Marci Grebstein, and focus on women as whole people.

3. It’s not just about one type of woman: Related to the above point, not only do women individually have different needs, but different populations of women also need to be accounted for. “The conversation isn’t just about women,” said Anu Rao, global director-communications at Belvedere Vodka. “It’s about women of color, people who identify as women and everything in between. Not having a knowledge of those groups and viewpoints will lead to disastrous marketing… We have to understand the conversations that we’re trying to be a part of.”

4. Walk the talk: You can try to make ads that appeal to women, but if you don’t practice pro-woman values as outlined in our previous post, such as making hiring women a priority and focusing on clear career pathing so women don’t get passed up for promotions or leadership roles, your audience will sense your disingenuousness. “Marketing is meant to illuminate companies’ values, but when there’s a disconnect, the authenticity, I think, is ruined,” said Katie Martell, marketing strategist and Top 10 marketing writer on LinkedIn.

Photo from Creative Commons

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