Our culture's association with females and the color pink is a gender stereotype marketers are well aware of. As women continue to be the leaders in consumer spending, brands continue to test the waters when it comes to marketing to women. Unfortunately, some are still testing 50 shades of pink.
Concepts like the Mini Fashion Bar at Belgium's Antwerp hotel have succeeded in innovating their approach to target the female traveler. Inspired by hotel mini bars, this product meets the needs of women with any style by tending to those fashion "I can't believe I forgot that" needs travelers often face.
Other marketing strategies for women still include the addition of "For Her" after a product name and using pink and purple for the packaging (which aren't really strategies). I applaud brands that have made efforts to target this powerful consumer demographic; however, the number of clichéd marketing approaches that still exist have women shaking their heads (and writing reviews – thousands of them).
Many can recall when BIC launched their "Cristal for Her Ball Pen" in 2013. The product immediately got consumers' attention – in the form of 2,000+ witty, gender-joking, women-stereotyping, sarcastic product reviews. Who knew pastel-colored, "thin barrel" (yes, they advertised a thinner pen to fit the size of a woman's hand – [whatever generalized size that might be]) ball-point pens "For Her" could be so offensive?
And so hilarious.
"Why Black? – I don't understand why the ink is black? I only write in pink, I'm a girl for God's sake, BIC, please think before marketing a product for women. So careless." –Mrs. Alice R. Brewer
"Needs to come with an opener! – Sadly, my tiny womanly hands were unable to open the package. Thanks a lot BIC : ( I'm hoping one of my 257 cats will chew open the package for me." –Steve Yager
"Hallelujah! – I wrote down this review actually using this product, but my husband had to type it out for me as I have no idea how to use any form of technology other than a blender." –AnnaGram
"Cheaper is better for a woman – I was elated to find this product, but I think it should cost 24% less than BIC for Men to adjust to my delicate feminine salary." –Madeline Thirteen
Women weren't the only ones with balls, I mean, ball-point pen reviews:
"Not at all useful – I bought these for my wife and promptly returned them. The lack of woman-friendly features, such as a kitchen timer or being able to use it as a vacuum attachment, is simply appalling." –Jcarm22
Their opinions are rather clear. "Cristal" clear. Pink is not a strategy
Vibrant Nation CEO, Carla Dearing, agrees that marketers need to dig deeper to understand women.
"Clearly the sheer size of this buying demographic is not enough to convince brands to target women in a really powerful way," Dearing wrote in her article, "Which Me Are You Marketing To?".
The notion that women are one and can be marketed to as a collective group is so false. Today's woman takes on more varying lifestyles, activities, identities, and interests than ever before. She's the household spender (and saver), the doctor (and patient), the Iron(wo)man, the problem solver (and problem maker).
If there's one thing marketers take away from this post is that she's anything but just one thing. Let's embrace the range of what "marketing to women" means by remembering the question women consumers are ready to ask: "Which me are you marketing to?" And don't wait for Amazon reviews to answer that question for you.
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