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Marketing to women: getting it wrong.

It is still amazing to see how many brands get it wrong in their effort to attract female consumers. I've blogged about Philip's USB-stick necklace before, and now Dell is creating a storm with the launch of their site aimed at women, called "Della".

I'm not sure which consultancy helped Dell develop the strategy for this project (not to mention the look & feel or content of the site), but marketing-to-women wasn't one of their strengths. One of the comments on the "Tech tips" page says it all:

"Does anyone else find that these so called "tech tips" are incredibly simplistic? ... This is a load of fluff that only serves to provide insight into how Dell perceives my demographic. Essentially, we women will buy anything if it comes in pink and fits in our purse. Come on Dell! Treat us like intelligent consumers and not like trained monkeys."

Here are my suggestions to Dell in order to reach their female consumer effectively:

1. Marketing to women doesn't mean marketing to all women.
Before you start, make sure you understand who the women are that buy your product. Who are they? What are their purchase motivators? How does your product integrate in their lives?

2. Gender exclusivity doesn't work.
Women don't demand a separate, overtly female-focused website (that speaks to them in a condescending manner!). Like any consumer, they want ease-of-use, relevant information and respect.

3. Don't stereotype.
And certainly don't 'dumb-down' your message because you think women won't understand. "5 Ways to use a laptop" is an insulting way to speak to any customer, let alone the over-simplified tips that are offered in this section. There's more to women than planning a vacation or going shopping.

My advice? Take the site offline and start all over again. There's no saving this sinking ship.

And as Lydia Sung says: Now if you'll excuse me, I need to give my Asus Eee PC a well-deserved hug.