Marketing to Men
Last time I blogged about how marketers are sidelining male customers, since women command the majority of consumer dollars. Why is this so? Traditionally, men are more likely to spend their paychecks on things that last a long time: a car, a hammer, or a lawn mower. As a result, they simply shop less. Still, controlling 15 percent of consumer dollars represents no small amount of dough.
And that stat will probably rise because, as you might guess, marketers are trying to get men to shop more often. A good way to do this is to get men interested in buying consumer products with shorter life spans, such as clothing and bathroom supplies. Lucky for marketers, psychologists believe we are living with an epidemic of overly stressed men. Men now need nice underwear and bubble baths.
If male consumers are worth something to you, consider these ideas.
Get those technical specifications upfront
Both women and men are interested in technical geek speak, but it is more often a primary filter for men. For example, when looking at computers, men get off on RAM and gig numbers. They love to talk about the technical details of what is under their hood, and inside their camera body. Researchers at King’s College London are suggesting that genetics are responsible for the kinds of information that men and women more readily retain. Women are better at recalling life memories, such as anniversaries, while men are better at “tactical” recollections, such as directions (though my family would disagree).
I’m a lone wolf, baby
Men typically look at the world from the perspective of an individual—usually meaning themselves—whereas women look at it from the perspective of a group. Men see themselves as self-reliant mavericks, whether they are smoking, driving, or trimming the lawn. I would find this concept silly, except that I’m a culprit. As my wife reminds me in the hope of breaking my incorrigible habit: I will hack my own way through the woods rather than take the roadway beside me. Like a lot of other men, I’m a sucker for marketing that appeals to my sense of rugged individualism. Even if I’m spending my weekend by the soccer sidelines watching my kid’s game, I want to know I can weather any storm in my EMS Gore-Tex Deluge SYNC Rain Jacket.
Make your product their priority
Various studies out of Canada and the United States show that women “wear more hats” than men. (If taken literally, that might explain why our VP Maureen loves to buy hats.) Consequently, women try to be efficient by tackling as many tasks as possible within a given period. Men, on the other hand, prefer to set priorities and do tasks in order of importance. Stick with what’s important if you want your marketing to capture men’s attention.
Keep it really simple
Whereas women make their buying decisions based on an analysis of many details, men focus on the broad strokes. “When men make decisions, they want to strip away inessentials,” says Martha Barletta, president of The TrendSight Group in Chicago. Keep marketing direct and focused.
There is no escaping testosterone
I was talking with a woman who had become a man. He said that when he was a woman he never understood how men seemed to read sexual cues into, well, everything. Now, thanks to male hormones, he understood. Studies show that men appear to be a lot more sensitive than women to interpreting a sexual context into a situation (even if sex was never intended). This explains my guy friends’ enthusiasm for sexual double entendres, a habit barely curbed since middle school. It also explains men’s Achilles heel: sex in marketing. We may not end up buying, but it doesn’t take much for us to look.
Men are more like women then you might think
Despite stereotypes, a study (see “sources”, below) done by the University of Western Ontario and yours truly’s alma mater, McGill University, suggests that, despite conventional stereotypes, men react to emotional advertising the same as women do. They just hide it in public.
Men care about how they look
Men care a lot more about appearances than many assume. Guys are not shopping just for utilitarian reasons. Thirty years ago, Samsonite appealed to the tough-man image with an ad featuring a primate throwing a suitcase around a cage. Now, they focus on design and style, and men are responding. As with emotional ads, men are responding favorably, but they hide it. Men may be similar to women, but they don’t want to look as though they are. So, marketers, emote away! Appeal to men’s inner metrosexual! Just be subtle about it, and don’t expect to see the tears at the cash register.
Men are adaptable
Men’s status around the globe is waning, but certain cultures are more adaptable about it than others, such as in Europe and North America. Here, you will find more and more “masculine” versions of products traditionally marketed to females. Diet drink Coke Zero is a good example, as explained by Teresa Howard of USA Today. Another is the wave of men’s skin care and bathroom products that are marketed as irresistible to women, but are proving most alluring to men’s wallets.
But avoid the classic male stereotype
If you riff on the past, be funny and sophisticated, or find a way to tie in with today’s generation. Again, a bathroom product offers a good example. The Axe product line is very popular with younger men, because it camps up the traditional man-on-the-prowl image.
All Business, “What women want: gender-based marketing is a risky business, but it’s a risk companies can’t afford not to take.” span style=”font-weight: normal;”>BigNews, “Study: Emotional Advertising Affects Men
span style=”font-weight: normal;”>GQ M2M “10 Steps to Effective Marketing to Today’s Man”
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