Using your Marketing Budget to specifically target Women? Don’t

GenderNeutralMarketingAccording to the latest Fluent Report on Marketing to women, an overwhelming majority prefer gender neutral advertising over advertising specifically aimed at women.

Much of the advertising aimed at women is emotional, as in the cases of brands like Hallmark, Pandora, Electrolux and Huggies. Inspiring and/or empowering messages tend to drive campaigns as seen recently from Dove, Lane Bryant and even Dodge.

Do ads aimed at the genders even work? When Ad Age compiled the top 100 advertising campaigns of the 20th century, most of them could be considered unisex. Who doesn’t like Smokey the Bear or the Energizer Bunny? The top-ranking ad that could be considered male-oriented was the Marlboro Man, at No. 2 on the list. The highest-ranking ad geared toward women was a 1957 Clairol ad that claimed that only a woman’s hairdresser would know if she dyed her hair; it topped out at No. 9.

Brands that are getting it right marketing to women,according to women in the marketing industry aren’t even aiming specifically at women: Apple and Nike. More honest emotion please, all 10 women agreed, including humour.

When it comes to a successful advertisement, it may be more important to be funny, smart and memorable than to worry about pleasing a particular gender. Above all, the brands that win realise that women’s interests go beyond just looking pretty and being the best mom in the world.

As an audience, women tend to be more interested in things that are new and exciting BUT are far less forgiving. Brands have to be careful not to alienate and push off the gender that makes or informs 80 percent of household purchases today.

Siobhan O’Shea is a freelance writer. She writes about pretty much everything but especially likes to bring readers’ attention to new tech, marketing, human behavior, and other oddities.