Crafting unique marketing messages to men and women is tempting, but you can’t always trust the stereotypes.
Fair or not, marketers often talk to the sexes differently. Understanding how to talk to both at once may be your best and sanest choice. In today’s post-modern, dual-income society, we may do it in more subtle ways. Often, marketers probably don’t even realize how their messages adapt. Our society holds a lot of quiet stereotypes – for instance, that men buy with their heads, while women buy with their hearts. Now tell that to a guy who just saw the $3,000 stainless outdoor grill kitchen of his dreams. Or a woman who’s imagining red wine spills while trying to justify a porous, carved granite countertop.
On one hand, we want to be modern, gender-neutral brand advocates. On the other hand, we intuitively know that men and women are different, and that changing the voice or message sometimes feels right. But in marketing, as in life, this stuff is complicated and can cause a lot of head scratching. Let’s look at three industry examples:
1. Kitchen Appliances
An old stereotype tells us that women choose based on how an appliance looks, while men care more about quality and engineering. But this logic seems strange, especially in homes where women are the primary cooks. If a product looks better than it works, she’s the one who will feel disappointed. Maybe a better way to think about this: culinary enthusiasts care about performance. Couples who prefer take-out: not so much.
2. High-end Electronics
I’ve never seen a woman show off her home theater system and brag about the wattage. Of course, most of the men I know who own a high-end media room have trouble explaining the different remotes. The assumption that men are impressed with tech specs may be a bit overblown. Here’s what I know is true – some people are born with the soul of an engineer, others with the soul of a poet.
3. Fine Furniture
We’ve all met men who only care about comfort and women who care most about the look. And most of us could find couples that are the exact opposite. Does gender matter in this category? Say your brand has a story about meticulous craftsmanship. Who will that impress the most – men or women? What about brand heritage or rare woods and artisan fabrics? Maybe instead of gender issues, we see issues of individual taste.
One final thought: in healthy relationships, couples discuss most high-end home purchases before they buy.