A recent article by AdAge highlights what women want on the Internet. The study shows statistics for smart marketers to help reach today’s online woman. In the past year, the number of unique visits to women’s community sites jumped 35% to almost 70 million from 52 million and women now comprise more than 50% of online users.
What are women looking for online? Women use the Internet for a wide variety of uses from shopping and videos to dating and healthcare information. Then there is the desirable demographic of “social singles” who basically live online.
These “social singles” consist of young, well-educated (48% with a college degree) women ages 25 to 34 who are interested in seeing entertainment online (TV shows and video clips) and often search local dining and entertainment. They also use instant messaging, visit social-networking sites, read blogs, and download music. Basically, the trifecta. Basically, yours truly.
The Internet appears to be a perfect advertising medium for women of all kinds. But, is this really the big picture?
When analyzing data, surveys, focus groups, and other information we gather about customers, we may be more likely to focus on information that reinforces our stereotypes since, well, it just “feels right.”
This is wrong. Instead of really thinking about stakeholders and why they may (or may not) care about the offering in question, you’re making your message fit a societally accepted generalization. Research may reveal much more complexity.
Holly goes on to say that when marketing to a demographic, don’t look at the group as a whole and stereotype (i.e. mommy bloggers or soccer moms), but think about the differences and subtleties. Many marketers go for the “soccer moms” based on demographic information, not considering the fact that there are many kinds of “soccer moms” and women in general. Develop a persona to help break away from stereotypes and create an opportunity for success.
It appears that not only do marketers not listen, but they just don’t care. For example, do women really want to see more TV shows like Desperate Housewives? New shows such as Cashmere Mafia or Lipstick Jungle, which are warmed over versions of Sex & the City, feed stereotypes of smart, successful women to be on varying levels catty, lonely, selfish or cold. Is that a true representation of women today? Certainly not any that I know.
Maybe that marketing works because some people like to see themselves in that way, and enjoy the fantasy of a made-up story with attractive people, mega drama (or no drama) and an easy lifestyle. Good marketing can provide an “escape” picture for consumers.
At the same time, good marketing can also involve telling stories and commercial interactions depend on stories. Those stories only work if they match the stories customers are already telling themselves, through social networks, word of mouth marketing and viral campaigns.
When developing a marketing strategy or campaign, reaching into a social network, or pitching a women’s group, make sure to think beyond the stereotypes. Don’t assume that the same message works for everyone.