What to Avoid When Marketing to Women? Defining the Audience Too Broadly

Marketers often pose questions like: “What are the best practices when marketing to women?” In my opinion, that question is far too broad. Women are not a homogeneous market segment. There are a myriad of variations among them. I was recently asked this question; here’s how I responded:

  • Don’t market to “women” – be specific about which segments of this very large audience you are interested in. One of the big mistakes that many organizations make in their marketing efforts is casting a net that is too wide. The more you know about your specific audience, the better you will be able to connect with them and compel them to some desired action.
  • So… segment. Identify the key demographic and psychographic characteristics that define your market — or markets — as a first step. For instance, are you interested in attracting college-age women, young mothers, empty-nesters, baby boomers, aging women? Are you interested in working women? How much do they earn? Are you interested in women who are sports enthusiasts? Music lovers? Foodies? You get the picture.
  • Next step – learn as much as you can about those target market segments. Who are these women? How old are they? What are their income levels? What are their hobbies? What do they read? What television programs do they watch? What movies do they like? Etc., etc., etc. – more specifically, what do they know/believe about your product or service and what would you like them to know?

Having a very clear understanding of your target market does two things for you–two very important things:

  • It helps you better identify the communication tools that are most likely to reach the market you’re interested in connecting with.
  • It helps you develop key messages that are most likely to connect with your desired audience and compel them to some specific action.
The biggest mistake that marketers make about marketing to men, or women, is simply defining their audience too broadly and not understanding their actual audience specifically enough to understand their needs and motivations.  Take the time to define and get to know your audience. It will make a significant difference in your results.
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