If marketers continue to create campaigns based on thinking that “men always do this” or “women always do that,” they are going to fall into a gender trap. In this era of the much more diligent shopper, we just can’t make assumptions about how gender influences consumer behavior. Those marketers that do risk irrelevance in a very demanding marketplace. Those marketers who avoid the gender trap and instead serve the highest consumer standard represented by “women’s ways” but serving everyone, will reap immeasurable and lasting brand love.
Women may be the best index of the coming consumer hour (to paraphrase Walt Whitman), but men are starting to catch on to the benefits of making more brand demands, as well. In my just published ChangeThis manifesto: Beware the Gender Trap: Marketing to the 21st Century Consumer I look at why we should be careful of gender polarization, even as women’s ways of buying still guide our marketing paths.
(Consider this manifesto the next generation of my 2005 ChangeThis contribution, Marketing to Women for the Common Man.)
The women’s market is roaring and brands are indeed starting to listen, but the gendered framework may keep marketers from the broader opportunities of the future.