Women are getting a lot of attention in the advertising and marketing world, these days. At least, that’s what folks in the media would have you believe. While I, as a woman, admit we have been mis-represented in many significant areas of advertising, I don’t completely ascribe to the current rhetoric saying, “It’s about time someone started marketing to women with women in mind.”
The real truth is that women have had some “Natural Advantages” which pull advertising to them, from the very beginning. Later on, I’ll talk about Michele Miller’s audio book, “The Natural Advantages of Women,” and how she explains these inherent, genetic traits that give women more power than the media is willing to admit.
If you look back to those old Dick and Jane days of the mid-twentieth century, you’ll discover that women were the gender much of the advertising was aimed at. Why? Because of the advent and interest in television. For those who don’t know, the term ‘soap operas’ came from the commercials served to stay-at-home Moms (most Moms were at home, in those days) during the day, as they watched serial dramas. The commercials were primarily for cleaning products. Hence, the term ‘soap operas.’
If we fast forward–Please!–to the 21st century, tumble over women’s liberation and the sixties, and get right into the digital world of the Internet, it’s easy to be fooled into thinking women are, or were, getting a raw deal in advertising. As television became more and more popular, and as Dads in their recliners became guardians of the remote, advertising began to focus on their needs and wants– except, it seems to me, during the holidays. After all, during the holidays, who does all the shopping? Mom.
Michele Miller, a partner at the Wizard of Ads advertising and marketing site, has a great book on how and why women are naturally tuned into the world around them, and how intuition and nurturing drive much of what they do and how they act.
Ms. Miller gets scientific on us– offering a glimpse into the female psyche, all in the interest of helping business owners understand women well enough to market to them successfully.
Tis the season to be jolly– hence my remembering this audiobook, which I read earlier in the year. It also triggered a desire to visit Michele’s blog, WonderBranding, where she continues to instruct us on the scientific reasons women are the gender businesses should be marketing to, also including insightful quotes on how women are “hard-wired” in an entirely different way than men. Her blog, just as her book, shows examples, sends readers to other experts for more opinions, and offers thoughtful commentary on what’s working today, and what isn’t.
Take this quote from Michele’s book, and let it simmer in your brain for awhile, then think twice about that commercial you see from auto dealers trying to court women, or pain relievers courting Moms, or discount stores throwing their wares at the Mom of the house. Because, I think they’re still pretty much stuck back in those ancient Dick and Jane days. They haven’t stopped to consider this information, but I wish they would:
“On average, a man’s brain is a bit bigger and weights about 4 to 5 ounces more than the brain of a woman (49.5 oz. vs. 44 oz). But science tells us that size is not a factor in determining intelligence. Researchers focus on gray matter, that part of the working brain that allows us to think. When measuring gray matter, women have a significant advantage, with approximately 55% to men’s 50%.”
Any advertiser hoping to really reach the women’s market needs to understand these ‘natural advantages’ women have. They need to stop worrying about emotion, intuition, and nurturing– and embrace these feminine qualities. To try and market to women using a male perspective is just suicide, today.
Welcome to the digial world–where women can be themselves and be proud of it. Just ask Gen Xers, Gen Ys, and the up and coming Millennials. These are women who want it their way–TODAY–which, believe it or not, is something they learned from their Mothers. Naturally.