September 27, 2016

Knowing How To Market To Women Helps Marketing To Men, Too

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My first office job in marketing was at Roxy, Quiksilver’s women’s apparel brand. I learned a lot from that job and the solid crew of women I worked with, whose passion for the brand spoke through the inspired advertising and marketing they created. It quickly became clear to me that we weren’t selling just product, we were selling a lifestyle and a community that consumers would want to be part of. At Roxy, we instinctively knew women shopped differently—spent their money with more of their heart or their ethos than men—because we were those women shoppers.

Companies that couldn’t rely on instinct but that still wanted to expand their women’s market hired professionals and researched the way women relate to a brand, discovering that women experience brands holistically across all channels, that we seek connections and shared values and want solutions vs. products. These concepts have now largely become the goal of marketing in general, not just marketing to women.

A Complete Experience

Brands who were the early adopters of the hallmarks of marketing to women have not just weathered the storm of the constantly changing consumer economy—they have excelled. Take Nordstrom. They always understood their consumer and the extras of service that were required to maintain loyalty; from personal shopping, a reward program and free tailoring of new purchases all the way down to having nice restrooms and a place to get food and coffee. Plus, they offered all of these things even back when I was a kid—and that was before Internet! For this reason, they have always remained relevant in my landscape of shopping options.

The Importance Of Service & Community

Even beyond the sharing economy, businesses are quickly expanding on or incorporating the concept of community and loyalty-building through added service. For instance, CamelBack’s guarantee that replaced my kids cracked water bottle even after three years of use, or Madewell, which found my size in a sweater at another store and had it shipped to my house free of charge, even though it was already on sale.

The Big Box stores used to excel by providing the convenience of having everything in the same spot at once. That is no longer enough—you can get that from your couch at home while watching your favorite Netflix show. Brands now have to offer more: more community and more services to give the consumer the holistic experience they now seek.

In a world where most communication takes place digitally, the tried and true pillars of women’s marketing resonate with consumers beyond any specific gender. They offer an idea that can build the community aesthetic we desire, giving consumers EXPERIENCES and SERVICE beyond merely THINGS. Large or small, businesses that offer a personal connection to other like minded people, like the artisan workshops and creative space at the small boutique Field Trip in Portland, Oregon, or Nike Women, which fosters community building and service with their free NTC app that provides original content for a new or favorite workout each week. These brands have more than the “things” I want, these brands are delivering on additional levels: Service. Experiences. Community. These brands now have my loyalty.

Intuitively knowing these pillars of brand building is a powerful tool—one the ladies of Clutched Key specialize in.