Marketing to Women: Outtakes from Today’s Great Panel

Jack Blog

June 7th, 2012 By Jack Morton

There’s only one generalization that can be made about marketing to women: brands want to be better at it. That’s not only because there’s a lot to gain (women control and influence 65% of consumer spend worldwide, 80% in the US), but also because so many women say brands must do better (nine out of ten women say advertisers “don’t understand” them).

With so much at stake, we gathered over 60 marketers at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston today for a panel devoted to the subject of “Beyond Pink: Marketing to Today’s Woman.”

Panelists included Michelle Cordial of SUBWAY®, Celine del Genes of Reebok, Nancy Go of and Bernadette King of Procter & Gamble. Steve Mooney of Jack Morton moderated.

We’ll be publishing a white paper to share insights on June 12th. Meanwhile, here are some favorite outtakes from today’s event.

·         To market to “today’s woman” you have to accept that there’s no such thing. Generalizations about women are the kiss of death. To paraphrase panelist Celine del Genes of Reebok, we need to think not just “beyond pink,” but beyond the idea that there’s one woman you need to engage.

·       Contradictions abound. Michelle Cordial of SUBWAY noted how women wear many hats in their ever-changing lives, so it’s critical to understand their mindset and needs and engage them where they are. Nancy Go of observed how women’s expectations for the shopping experience can shift and seem contradictory (now I want a cool, luxe experience; now I just want to buy it and be done with it) over the course of a single day.

·         It’s about relationships. As Celine del Genes quipped, “Brands should be like girlfriends. And remember, when your girlfriend talks to you, you talk back. It’s a conversation.” Bernadette King of Procter & Gamble added that for women, word of mouth recommendations are the ultimate—so creating platforms that spark conversation and WOM is important. Further, brands must carefully manage all their experience touchpoints to make sure the conversation is right, relevant, useful and authentic. They can’t afford to neglect touchpoints that are tough to manage but that reflect on the brand in a big way, like how staff represent the brand and how channel partners sell your products.

·         Brand experience is fundamental. As Bernadette King noted, experience doesn’t start when women start interacting with the brand; it starts when you understand and define the brand promise and what the brand stands for. That’s the true basis of the brand experience for women: what’s the value you bring to their lives? Interestingly, Nancy Go stressed how at, defining the brand experience was so fundamental that “We worked to get the experience right before we worked on generating awareness.”

Lots of great dialogue on a very important topic for marketers—look for more in our June 12th white paper.