Mission Critical - Marketing to Women



Authors: Pradip Sinha & Prashant Banerjee,
Associate Consultant, Associate Consultant,
ICMR (IBS Center for Management Research).

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The Dilemma

Are women different from men and should they be treated differently? Yes. Is marketing to women the same as marketing to men? Are women and men the same? The answer is No. Hundreds and thousands of studies in fields as diverse as biochemistry and anthropology prove and reconfirm that there are numerous gender related differences between men and women. It is a fact that women are different from men and so, they should be treated differently. And marketing to them is different from marketing to men.

The psychology of women is different from that of men and the reasons they buy things are also entirely different from the reasons why men buy the same things. "Women and men should be treated as different customers, because they are as much different 'shopologically' as they are 'biologically'," says Faith Popcorn, in her book EVEolution. What Andrea has to say on this context is, "Marketing to either gender or to any specific segment of the consumer marketplace for that matter, involves discovering what is relevant and delivering your product / service in a way that will speak to the prospect".

She goes on to say that certainly there are differences between the way men and women think, in what they look for in a product or service and in the way they want to learn about new products / services. Prof Sheth adds to the argument and says, "Marketing to women is generally different from marketing to men with respect to the design of the product or service, price of the product or service and the media utilized to reach them".

The "Million-Dollar" Question

'What women want' - this is the million-dollar question which has puzzled many eminent strategists over decades. Hollywood even made a movie on this. Now, if women are different from men, does it mean that their needs and wants should also to be different? Different people have different opinion on this. Here, the important point to be considered by organizations is that women don't need a totally different product/service. The difference should be in the way you approach and present yourself and your product to them. There is a huge difference between men and women with respect to how they view the world and how those viewing differences are further reflected in their purchasing decisions.

According to experts, women react more to print media, such as magazines, journals, newspapers rather than to TV or any other media. In this context, Vanessa Frexxtog, a woman business owner and consultant specializing in helping companies, which target and market to women buyers says, "This isn't about girlish things _ it is simple matter of understanding and capitalizing on the different way in which we see things". So, the one size fits all approach won't work here. As Andrea says, "A woman wants to do a lot of research and consider a lot of variables before handing/spending over their own or their household's money".

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