Marketing to Women Consumers: by Valerie Carsey

Marketing and Advertising to Women Consumers

My Dirty Little Secrets:

  • I once owned a Gillette Razor with multiple blades, a moisture strip and a wide “silky” handle that had me convinced of its “gentle glide” against my legs.
  • I loved the Dove commercials that portrayed their products to make my skin “smooth and soft as a baby”. I not only purchased their soap, but I also purchased their lotion based on this campaign.
  • As a teenager, I planned my outfit for the next day the night before, because this process could take up to an hour. I planned outfits like my blue striped blouse, my tight jeans, my bare feet, my clunky heeled shoes, my gold dangly earrings, my matching blue and white beaded bracelet and my bobby pin hair clips to compliment the whole entourage. Today, I do all this and more (in a much more mature and expedited manner). Now, I also pay attention to matching my make-up to my outfit. Why does this matter? I purchase my products to match, and I am not alone; and even more importantly marketers know this secret.

Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus
Men are profiled as brand loyal consumers. For example, if the Fruit of the Looms underwear is sufficient for comfort, he will buy it for the next twenty years. In fact, he may buy the next twenty years’ worth of packages at that moment and never look back. Women are more likely to switch brands. (Women understand the value of 3 adorable pairs of lacy underwear for $15 in comparison to 1 pair for $10.) Women are profiled to be “Chatty Cathy” social shoppers and to have emotional connections in relationships and with products. My favorite example of this is Lowes vs. Home Depot. Home Depot has positioned its brand towards a male market with a warehouse atmosphere. Lowes has positioned its brand towards a female market with more lights and demonstration displays in their stores. And I know this works, because I will tail my husband around Home Depot but I will gladly browse for hours alone through Lowes.

What is She Doing Here?
Today’s women are smart, strong and capable, but still want to be catered to. Today’s woman is researching and buying herself a car on her own; she is purchasing her own sport’s equipment and protein bars; she shops for her own technological devices; she does her own home repairs on her own house; she works out and she cares about health. Brands are getting smart to this in their advertisements targeting women. Luna (vs. the more masculine Powerbar or Cliffbar), Diet Coke (vs. Coke Zero positioned for men), vehicles sold with more female curves to match her body than angles of a man’s jawline (Honda CRV vs. Jeep Cherokee), light versions of beers, McDonald’s with other fast food brands have added salads and more health conscious items to their menus, and computers come in rainbow of colors to choose from (ex. Dell and Apple).

On Her Own
Many of today’s women are holding off relationships, marriage and babies. She focuses on herself and often her career. She creates families through her network of friends and co-workers. She feels empowered by her sense of independence and is likely to make large purchases on her own. Wells Fargo clued into this segment by developing an empowered woman hitting personal milestones in their advertisement:

Marketing and Advertising to Women Consumers

In Conclusion
I am beautiful and narcissistic enough to know that products shaped smooth and curvy like me (a woman) feel feminine and appealing. Products that smell good feed my fantasy that I smell lovely (I personally love vanillas and lavenders). Dim lit environments appeal to my sense of romance vs. fast, loud and well lit environments that appeal to my sense of fun. Dear Marketers, woo me, because I am worth it.


Special thanks to the author: Valerie Carsey
Valerie Carsey is a Marketing Business Administration student at Portland State University. She is currently in the Honor’s Track and expects to graduate in June 2013. She became passionate about marketing through owning her own massage and aromatherapy practice and an online punk baby superstore (think Hot Topic meets Babies R Us online with a gift registry). Valerie is married, with a 7 year old son and an 11 year old step daughter.

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