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5 Rules Of Marketing To Women

There's a shortlist of mistakes companies and brands typically make when trying to sell products to women. Marketing missteps can hurt sales, but more importantly, they can actually turn women off from your brand entirely. If you've ever committed the sin of "pink it and shrink it," it's time to reimagine your strategy. Here are five pitfalls to avoid.  

1)    Don’t pink it and shrink it

The cardinal sin of marketing towards women is to "pink it and shrink it." The woefully misguided approach goes something like this: Take a perfectly decent product, give it a marshmallow Barbie paint job and miniaturize it so it fits perfectly into tiny female hands. Ta da! Female friendly. We’re bound to love it, right? What makes things even worse is that the tech specs on "female orientated" models often fall short of the "male" counterparts. It’s not the color of a product that entices us, it’s the sleek design quality.

2)    There’s no need to overtly target us

If you try too hard to push exclusively to women, we’ll see right through it. Take time understanding us like you would any other demographic, but please don’t overthink it. Just because we’ve got breasts doesn’t mean we have special needs. We’re different but don’t want to feel we’re that different.

Far too many products are rammed down our throats yelling "Look at me! I’m being relevant to women! Here come the girls!" It’s patronising, it’s ineffective, and often quite alienating. A subtler, more nuanced approach is always far more successful commercially.

3)    An emotional connection is a big selling point

Studies have proven that women are likely to form more of a lasting emotional attachment to products, and campaigns that make an effort to engage with this often prove to be very successful.

A great recent example is upscale department store John Lewis's beautifully executed ad "She’s Always a Woman to Me," which whizzes the viewer at high speed through 70 years of a woman’s life. The reason this spot works so well is not only that it’s beautifully executed—which it is, heart-achingly so—but that it also promotes a strong, enduring attachment to a reliable brand.

4)    Too much choice is no choice at all

Many men might be perfectly happy to sift through mountains of information in order to find out whether one little black box is slightly better than another little black box, but most women are overwhelmed by choice. If a product is a hassle to buy then we will cease to care about it.

So having a hundred near-identical products in the market can be a real turnoff: We don’t want unlimited choice, we want the right choice. We want to know that a product does what it’s supposed to and is obviously at the top of its field. We don’t have time to find a diamond in the rough.

5)    It's more about show than tell

Don’t use statistics to teach us that we need something. Instead, show us why we need it, how it can benefit our lives preferably in a way that’s entertaining, fun, and engaging. I’m much more likely to warm to a product if it’s marketing does not preach, but has surprised me or made me laugh. Top Gear is a great brand that has made cars accessible to both men and women by entertaining them.

And if all else fails, call the Lady Geeks to help you understand women.

@belindaparmar is the founder of @LadyGeekTV. Please join the Lady Geek campaign to end the stereotypes and cliches towards women in tech and Like us on Facebook.

[Image: Flickr user ::Wendy::]