More than a decade ago ”a long time before I worked with marketers ”I participated in a focus group for a new brand of dog food aimed at senior canines.
The manufacturer was particularly interested in what women like me thought of the packaging: Did we find it appealing? Would it inspire a second look on the grocery store shelf? The pet food company sought our input, the focus group leaders explained, since it had identified women as the major purchasers of dog provisions.
Good for them for recognizing women as the target customers. In that, they were way ahead of the curve. But guess what? They fell into some tired old assumptions about packaging, and the bag was an off- putting pastel pink.
"Do women relate to the softer packaging colors?" the group leaders queried.
"Uh, no", we replied.
In Don't Think Pink , authors Lisa Johnson and Andrea Learned call this sort of obvious stereotype "pink thinking". Like that dog food company, marketers are often working from antiquated assumptions. They frequently slap pastels and flowers on packaging, or produce "lighter" versions of original products, in a quickfix effort to appeal to one of today's fastest -growing consumer segments: women.
It's true. Women spend over two trillion consumer dollars a year. Yet only a fraction of that market can name a brand that speaks to their needs.
Can you sense the opportunity?
Since you are reading this book, I'm guessing that you get what the authors mean when they say that shortsighted marketing causes companies to miss huge opportunities. Just as women's societal roles, and their effect on the economy, have greatly shifted, so too must marketing's approach to serving them.
It's not about appealing to the sensibilities of women ”those efforts only scratch the surface. It's more about designing a subtler and more sophisticated approach ”Lisa and Andrea call this "transparent marketing" ”that can truly inspire women to become loyal customers.
Is this a huge challenge? You bet it is.
But here's the good news: You've already begun. You're reading this book.
Within these pages, the authors have produced both a road map and a resource to help brands reach far beyond "pink thinking". With its accessible how-to format and to-the-point writing, this book tells you how to build cases and campaigns to better meet the needs of your women customers.
In doing so, Lisa and Andrea have not merely produced a credible text, they've also established themselves as pioneers of sorts in marketing to women. I especially love the snappy writing ”be sure to read their hilarious recipe in chapter one for "Pink Thinking Formula: "One part limited staff power and budget, two parts internal resistance to new ideas ".
Talk about a marketing Molotov cocktail.
So congratulations on accepting the challenge. Best of luck, and remember, "Think Pink".
Ann Handley, Editor in Chief, MarketingProfs.com
The fact that women make or influence the majority ( roughly 80 percent) of consumer purchases today is old news by now. But how do you leverage this information? What portion of the women's market truly is your market? How can you develop strategies that are authentic for women and relevant in their lives?
This book will show you how to see through the eyes of womenwherever they are in their buying process. Part of this marketing mind training involves learning how women's minds work and what may be influencing their buying behavior. Then comes the really hard part: meeting your women customers on their own terms and forging lasting relationships with them over time.
As marketers, we are schooled in how to read the data and when to hold focus groups. We can quote "the customer is always right", while at the same time trying to develop a marketing strategy from inside the product out. But, becoming a part of the conversations of women as they go about their daily routines is only possible if we return to the roots of good overall marketing and examine our task from a customer-centric perspectivefrom inside the customer out.
Over time, it's possible to lose touch with who really buys your product, why they buy it over other brands, what is going on in their lives when they choose to make the purchase, and how they feel about their interactions with your customer service staff. Reading this book will help ground you in the strategy development process by getting back to the basics. If your data says your customers are mainly educated women between the ages of 25 and 45, that just isn't enough information on which to proceed. You need to dig in deeper and examine how those women live, what roles they play, what life stages drive them, what cultural experiences influence them, and much more.
Though the book's topic is gender specific, much (if not all) of what we propose herein will serve as a useful reminder and re-training manual for marketing to any of the customer bases in your industry. Understanding the types or profiles of your customers (in this case, women) is keyas is paying attention to their technology confidence levels, and, ultimately, learning to reach them transparently .
Your brand and your marketing team must be authentically interested in, and connected with, the women you serve in order to develop the most resonant products, services and marketing campaigns . The idea is to know your prospective and current women customers so well that you can place your brand right where it needs to be and ensure that your products or services will be readily accessible, in their minds and on the shelf, just when and where they need them.
Reaching women consumers is not a trend. It's the lucrative future, for anyone who grabs it. Slightly tweaked male-oriented products or marketing efforts will no longer do. Once you've read this book and examined your brand by peering through a woman 's lens, the need for different ways to reach them as consumers will become clearand as you re-examine and re-connect with the women who are your current customers, the changes you will need to make should emerge fairly quickly.
Re-entering into conversations with your best and most influential customers is the best way to create products and services that resonate, and the best way to expand on their trust in your brand. Learning to see from a woman's perspective is the key.