How to Take Gender Differences into Account in Your Marketing Communications

Marketing to Women

1. Women tend to be extremely visually oriented. This doesn't necessarily mean that you should just use pictures, but that you need to use the right type of pictures. More on this concept below.

2. Women rely heavily on their own past experience to when considering whether to make a purchase or not. If they've had a favorable experience with you or something similar to what you're selling before, the level of fear and anxiety is greatly reduced. Thus the conversion rates soar.

3. Benefit selling is especially important if your target market is women. Potential women customers put a heavy weight on explanations that help them to avoid present or future problems. Which is what benefit selling is all about when performed correctly.

4. If a woman potential customer does not have any or has little personal experience to rely upon, she will read and place some significant weight on the experiences of others. Testimonials can thus become quite important.

5. Even given #4, women tend to not rely Totally on testimonials or such experience of others to make their final decision. They will take in the information and use it, but will not believe it blindly like many men will. They know and accept that testimonials can be a self-fulfilling tool for the advertiser.

6. Women do not buy solely for the Now benefits. They are more calculating in their purchases, typically needing an answer to the question of how your product/service is going to help them 3 weeks or 8 months down the road. Women just don't make immediately gratification purchases like so many men do. Which is one of the reasons why you may see more women making repeat visits before making a purchase when compared to men, if you track that sort of thing.

7. Building on #4 and #5, if you can conduct an effective buzz marketing campaign and get it in front of women in your target market it can be a quite effective marketing tool. Women do tend to be heavily influenced by what can best be described as Gossip Marketing, or what some may simply call Word of Mouth advertising. This sort of consensus tends to carry a heavier weight with women since not all of the opinions can be as easily manipulated.

8. Back to the Visual element for a second. The fastest way to convince a woman to do whatever it is you want her to do on your site is to show a picture of another woman she can identify with doing exactly what you want her to do. Or show a picture of a woman who has gained the benefits you promise by taking you up on your offer.

Marketing to Men:

1. Men live in the moment. Which makes them more susceptible to making an Instant Purchase or to accepting without question those obvious marketing shams of someone needing to Act Now in order to get whatever deal.

2. Men tend to base much of their decision on positive influences, often devaluing negative influences. Meaning if someone else has had problems with something they'll often ignore the negative and put more weight on the positive. eg Jim, Joe and Ed bought it and it didn't work out for them, but I know I can make it work.

3. Even if a man has had a previous bad experience (as long as it wasn't with you specifically) he won't automatically close the door as most women would. Men are fixers and gamblers by nature, so they're willing to take a shot that they can fix anything.

4. Men can be heavily affected by copy or images of problem situations being solved by what you have to offer. Often this alone will subconsciously persuade them to make the purchase.

5. Unlike women, men do not factor so-called near-term benefits (a few weeks) or far future benefits (months) into their buying decision. They want something to fix a problem they have Now. (Have you ever seen a man run to the store to get a tool or part for something he's working on, only to go back to the store an hour later to get another tool/part that he needed to complete the task?)

6. Men will not purchase if they feel Threatened in any way. Even if everything else falls into place if they feel an abnormal amount of anxiety they will not buy.

7. Men respond to Leaders, especially to depictions of male leadership. Whether that be an image of a male Boss talking to his staff or words on the page that make you a Leader doesn't matter much. Though the image is obviously processed faster and on a more subconscious level. An important point ... If you're using copy to depict this concept of leadership to your male target audience be careful not to be too preachy. It's easy to go overboard, so it's best to get the point across in a subtle manner.