Use Your Advertising Dollars to Reach the Female Demographic
By Peter Koeppel
facts are amazing: Even though women still earn less money than
their male counterparts (78 cents for every dollar a man gets),
women make more than 80 percent of the buying decision in all homes.
No wonder advertisers strive to capture the attention of females.
But what complicates matters for marketers is how women shop. Unlike
men, women research items more extensively and are less likely to be
influenced by ads. This means marketers need to fine-tune their
advertising messages and be seen in marketing venues that women deem
companies are paying more attention to the style and form of their
products in an effort to appeal to women, and marketers are shifting
away from only running television ads in favor of promotional
efforts in venues women trust, such as reviews in women’s magazines
and spots on TV shows like Oprah and Extreme Makeover:
activities prove that marketing today is getting more fragmented.
What used to work in the past won’t necessarily work today. So in
order to have your product or service reach the female market—even
if it’s not a female-oriented product—you need to view marketing a
bit differently than you did a few years ago.
article in Advertising Age magazine details how women spend
their leisure time. In it, columnist Mike Vorhaus asked women of all
ages to identify from a list of activities their favorite leisure
activity. What he found in the female category impacts all
advertisers who have a product that targets women—or who simply want
to get a piece of the buying power that women possess.
General Trends: According to Vorhaus’s research, in general,
women ranked watching television as their number one leisure
activity (23%), followed by using the Internet (16%) and playing
free web-based games (10%). Reading magazines (one of the top
advertising mediums used by many marketers targeting females) only
ranked in at 4%. So if you’re an advertiser trying to reach women,
you need to consider supplementing your television, radio, and print
ads with new advertising vehicles, such as online advertising,
product placements on television shows, and banner ads on free
gaming web sites.
women do tend to watch more television than men, they watch more
daytime TV, which is a very cost efficient time period to reach
women since rates are lower during the day versus primetime.
Additionally, some networks offer “female cluster” advertising
packages, meaning your ad runs on multiple networks that are geared
for women, such as Oxygen, WE, Style, etc. This is a very targeted
and cost efficient media vehicle for reaching females and one you
need to consider employing in your TV media buys.
this said, it’s important to note that not all women have the
same preferences—and the findings from Vorhaus’s’ research confirm
this fact. He found that two age brackets of females emerge that
have some interesting findings. These are the 12 to 17 year-olds and
the 55 to 64 year-olds.
Year-Olds: Teenage girls learn from their moms the power they
have when it comes to spending money. That’s why many marketers want
to reach this prime market, with the hopes of developing lifelong
customers. But how this group spends their free time greatly differs
from the activities their mothers’ enjoy. For teen girls, using the
Internet and talking on a home or cell phone tie for the number one
leisure activity (19%). Rounding out the top three are listening to
music (17%) and watching TV (11%). For this group, reading magazines
and newspapers only came in at 1%, while playing free web-based
games or console video games (something teen boys rank extremely
high) came in at 2% and 3%, respectively.
an example of how teen girls spend their time: They’ll be on a
social networking web site like Facebook or Myspace looking at pages
and pictures their friends posted. At the same time, they’ll be on
the phone or instant messaging with those exact same friends,
talking about the pictures and postings. So if you’re a marketer and
want to reach this group, you’d better have an online advertising
presence on these social network sites. And remember, even though
this group doesn’t read traditional print media very much, they do
read articles and view ads online. So be sure to supplement your
television ads with radio spots and online messages, but save your
video gaming advertising spots for the teen boys.
Year-Olds: Older women offered some surprising findings. With
this group, watching TV ranked as the number one leisure activity
(22%)—no surprise there. But coming in second and third position
were playing free web-based games (18%) and using the Internet
(11%). Things like reading newspapers or magazines and listening to
music only ranked in at 7% and 5%, respectively.
Surprised that casual gaming ranked so high among mature women? Most
people are, including marketers. What’s important to note here is
that the majority of these women are playing free games such as
Solitaire, Bridge, Mah Jong, and Blackjack. Most are not playing
violent or action-packed video games. So if you’re going to
supplement your TV ads with some online ads at gaming sites, make
sure your ad appears during games that older women are likely to
play. It’s also important to note that seniors are one of the
fastest growing segments on the Internet. They’re reading online
articles, researching web pages for information, and simply logging
on just for fun. Therefore, you need to make sure your web presence
targets this market and not just the younger ladies.
Women’s Marketing Movement: With the tremendous buying power
women have, all marketers need to target this group in order for
their company to survive. Even companies that have traditionally
targeted men, such as The Home Depot, are realizing that women hold
and control the purse strings in the majority of households. That’s
why they now offer home improvement classes for women and show more
women using power tools in their ads. They also do product
placements on home decorating shows such as TLC’s Trading Spaces
to gain credibility among female viewers.
matter what product or service you offer, remember to tailor your
message and ad placement so that women see it, understand it, and
trust it. By fragmenting your marketing approach and targeting your
advertising message, you’ll reach more female consumers, which will
ultimately improve your company’s bottom line.
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