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Marketing: failing the modern woman?

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New research from Engine shows that women are not just under-represented in marketing and advertising, but under-served too. Isn't it time to wake up to the world's largest emerging market?

Engine and Partners Andrews Aldridge research into the modern woman covered a representative sample of 1,000 British women on top of interviews with both men and women.

According to Partners' head of strategy Erminia Blackden, "We're in the age of consciousness and capitalism where women account for 80% of all purchases made. So ask us now - what's it like being a woman today?

"You might be surprised to know that whilst 86% of of women enjoy being a woman, just less than half of all women (45%) don't always find it easy."

Their research prompted these eight steps to getting it right:

1: BE POSITIVE AND EMPOWERING

Take care around the line between 'supportive' and 'patronising'.

Choose inspirational and representative ambassadors that your brand can get behind.

The 'This Girl Can' campaign is an excellent example:

2: BE FUTURE FOCUSED

The next generation are paying attention now.

Lay the right foundations by listening to your customers to find out how.

3: BE A FORCE FOR GOOD

Social media can often be negative.

Harness it to be a force for good and work for, not against, women.

Don't pit women against one another promoting unrealistic expectations and unachievable ideals.

Amazon saw this in their #saysomethingnice campaign:

4: BE OPEN MINDED

Do you know women? Do you know men?

Really?

Challenge stereotypes and think about how your audience wants to be represented. If the respresentation is predictable then the reaction will be too.

Which is why this film about 'Ellie' worked for the Royal Air Force:

5: BE AWARE

Beware of 'pinkifying' your brand to make it feminine.

Using images, words and ideas designated as 'female' can work well, but can be lazy too.

Make sure you have a good reason to think pink and that it fits the product.

The Candy Crush Jelly Queen is pink, but it's also on-brand. It works:

6: BE CONSCIENTIOUS

Know your audience. Know your product. Know how your audience uses your product.

What's your product's purpose? The feeling it provokes should be the starting point.

Lurpack will be bought mainly by women, used by men and women. But this ad shows the use of the product, regardless of gender:

7: BE EFFORTLESS

If you are designing a service, remember that people are more likely to voice their concerns when things go wrong.

Also remember that women are more active on social media, where opinions are easily aired.

Make sure your customer journey does all the hard work so your customer doesn't.

8: BE REPRESENTATIVE

If your boardroom has no women, how do you expect women to be represented in your business?

  • Get in: make sure an even number of men and women are considered for similar positions and roles
  • Get on: offer mentoriship opportunnities for women
  • Get seen: give senior women better visibility
  • Get back: make sure there are good maternity and paternity options for mothers and fathers
  • Get over it: give unconscious bias training

Some stats:

65% of women would not be disappointed if all social media closed down tomorrow

70% of mothers work

70% of woman believe that brands don't understand familiy life

74% of women believe that motherhood is a career

76% of women feel that brands do not represent the modern woman

86% of women believe that brands present a stereotypical view of life

90% of women believe that brands need to take more responsibility for how women are portrayed

Hear more from the DMA

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