Marketing to Women Needs More Than ‘Just The Facts, Ma’am’

Marketing to Women Needs More Than ‘Just The Facts, Ma’am’

In December, I concluded that the retailer Christmas ads that misfired did so because they failed to adequately connect with women. Unsurprisingly, given women’s importance in organizing Christmas, those brands also went on to post poor trading results.

My recent challenge has been helping a very male-oriented brand extend its appeal to women, and a book called Inside Her Pretty Little Head has been an inspiring read. It explores the simple fact that men and women are hard-wired differently, and if you don’t fully understand the differences, you’ll only ever produce communications strategies that women either can’t relate to, or worse, actively reject.

‘Inside Her Pretty Little Head’ outlines four ‘feminine codes’, which define a woman’s natural need to care, connect and improve. When making a decision, a woman needs far more supporting information than a man, which she processes quickly and simultaneously. The basic facts are simply not enough.

Together, the Four Codes create a desire to build utopia – to make their world (and in fact, the world) a better place. The brands that understand this, and help them achieve that vision, are the ones that succeed. The ones that show the opposite of this (like Morrisons did at Christmas) are doomed to fail.

And this understanding must be fully embedded in the whole customer journey, on and offline, or else it’s just window dressing. Homebase, for example, has been running a great (albeit now pretty tired) TV campaign, but the DIY sheds are a universally awful retail experience for women. Sad though its demise is, HMV was also a pretty terrible, male-centric, place to shop.

Briefing an agency to follow the codes isn’t that difficult. The real challenge is restructuring your business model to actively engage the half of the population that make over 85% of the household buying decisions.

So if you want to reach this hugely influential audience, but don’t currently have an experienced, senior female brain to guide your strategy, just give me a call.

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Sam Bridger is an interim executive specialising in marketing roles across all sectors.


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