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BE your audience.

Yesterday, a journalist who will be interviewing me next week on the topic of marketing to women sent me some questions, one of which really got me thinking.

This was it: "Do you think there need to be more female marketers?"

My answer to this question (Yes!) is the easy part. The difficult part may be the "why?"... but let me explain:

As women think, behave and consume differently than men do, so do female marketers approach marketing a little differently than their male counterparts.

Men, both in life and in business, tend to think in linear, hierarchical terms: "give me the facts / what are the numbers / show me the stats". Same goes for male marketeers.

Overlay this very linear approach to marketing with the female consumers' complex, non-linear, web-based thinking (and consuming) patterns, and things don't quite match up, do they?

Now, I am in no way saying that products for women can only be marketed to by women. I am saying that a product for women marketed ONLY by men is inherently lacking. Exclusion of either gender is never a good idea. To market a product well to either gender, women need to be included in the process (it seems like very common sense, not?). Men and women have many similarities but also differences. To honor the variety in gender, a marketing campaign that includes every perspective will strengthen the outcome.

Female marketers, by the sheer fact that they are, well...female, will approach marketing a little differently - the way they approach life: as a holistically, interconnected, "we notice the itsy-bitsy stuff you're not even mentioning too" kind of way. And to dispell the "warm-fuzzy feeling" this sentence may have wrongly instilled in some readers, remember that women also LOVE details and information. Yes, as female marketers we like the statistics and facts and numbers as much as the guys do, but for us these are not all defining in our marketing approach. We will often follow a gut-feeling or react on something we sense but which is not confirmed in the statistics, because we just know - the way women do - that it holds an important element of truth.

So yes, yes, absolutely: we need more women marketers. Women think differently than men do, so they must be marketed to differently than men. Who better to understand the audience, to relate to the market than someone who is part of it? While I am sure that most of the men who came up the sometimes brilliant, mostly creative campaigns for a variety of tampons (see my earlier post on the topic), I think women were able to more accurately relay which ones worked and which ones were cringe inducing. Sometimes its only a gut reaction, an undefined feeling, a hint, a nuance... but sometimes that is all it takes at the point of purchase for a women to decide to buy or to keep on walking.

Cardinal rule- know your audience. And when you can, when its possible, BE your audience.