Despite the fact that women make the majority of purchasing decisions in a household, most marketers have no clue how to connect with women, and make a number of outdated, sexist, and demeaning assumptions about what women want when attempting to sell them a product or service. In this article, we take a look at four classic misconceptions about what women want, and what they respond to in advertising.
Women love pink
‘Make it pink’ is one of the most tired out advertising clichés when it comes to marketing to women, and it doesn’t even work. A 2003 study by Joe Hallock found that women prefer the colour blue, followed by purple. Preferences aside, many women find being marketed products on their colour alone pretty patronising, and the ‘pink tax’ phenomenon simply exacerbates their disdain for being marketed to in this demeaning manner.
They’re primarily concerned with aesthetics
Women aren’t nearly as superficial as advertisers make them out to be, and numerous studies show that the aesthetics of a product are one of the least important factors for women when it comes to purchasing decisions. When it comes to purchasing something like electronics, studies show that women prioritise practical considerations such as price, warranties and functionality when making a purchasing decision.
Women don’t make the big purchasing decisions
Advertisers frequently make the mistake of assuming that women are in control of all the small (read: domestic) purchasing decisions and that big ticket items like cars, tech devices, tools, and vacations are decided upon by men. This is statistically incorrect, as women are responsible for 80-85% of all consumer purchases including 66% on PCs, 65% on new cars, and 92% on vacations.
Women want to see an idealised version of themselves
In her book Marketing to Women, Martha Barletta says that ‘women will spend more with a brand that acknowledges their lifestyle’, meaning that women place more faith in brands that illustrate an understanding of their day to day lives, and strive to make them easier. Historically, women’s advertising has avoided depicting the everyday struggles of ordinary women in favour of idealised representations of women living out a fantasy. Whilst the aspirational approach can be effective, it’s overuse in advertising targeting women has had a detrimental cultural impact, and in recent years, ads which play on the insecurities of women have received a lot of negative backlash. The public outrage over the advertising world’s unrealistic representation of women has lead to the development of a new marketing approach which uses relatable women and takes a more honest approach to product promotion.
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