July 23, 2012 / by DannyS

Women Want to be Understood – Not Sold To

91% of women say that advertisers don’t understand them.

How are we failing to connect with the most dominant consumer force in the global market after all these years?


I have two theories:

  1. Few older industry veterans are taking social/digital media serious and fully understanding it, they allow themselves to become wrapped up in what has previously worked for them (this is not based on fact, but primarily my own thoughts after working a year and a half with clients).
  2. We are seeing people getting hired for jobs that are above their experience level. Just the other day I saw a woman who was a marketing manager (calling the shots) after graduating from college this year (it’s amazing what LinkedIn can tell you). How?

Unfortunately, the people who are supposed to be getting the consumer’s attention are ill prepared or don’t understand. This year, Nielsen found that a greater percentage of women are carrying smartphones than men. Also worth noting is the fact that women are 18% more likely than your average American to like a business’ Facebook page or other social presence. Men? They’re 21% less likely. Yet, we fail to connect with the women on a deeper level, the level that increases customer life cycles, a level that compels them to like, follow, pin and watch on social media.

Last year, I had a client (a destination group that will remain unnamed) approach me for community management and social strategy help.

  • The target? Mothers between 35 and 45 with a household income of $55,000.
  • The campaign? A print campaign with several images that encompass the idea of the destination – think a whole bunch of squares.
  • Did it work? It fell flat on it’s face

After intensely researching females, specifically, moms that fit the target I had discovered a few key points:

  1. Only 20% of mothers think print advertising is doing a good job speaking to mothers. (1)
  2. Over 90% of moms are online (2)
  3. Moms say ads that grab their attention are visually appealing with lots of colors and attractive images (3)
  4. Mother’s adoption of smartphones has increased 64% over the past two years, and 51% of moms report that they are “addicted” to smartphones. The survey looked at 5,000 moms across the U.S. (4)
  5. Moms are 19% more likely than the general population to engage in social networking (5)

On the client’s end was a marketing team led by one director – she felt print was the best effort. But the data above, along with much more, suggests the need for a strong digital campaign, but they went all in on print. I have no idea why, I made them fully aware of the importance of connecting digitally and socially with group that admits to being addicted to their digital mobile device. I let them know of the importance of connecting with the target on their preferred platform. Again, another group failed to connect with the most dominant consumer group.

Danny Schotthoefer is the digital strategist/community manager at an advertising agency in Bozeman, Montana. He is also a TEDx event organizer and an avid Oregon Ducks and Portland Trailblazers fan. You can also find him running via Nike+ and cycling via Strava – he is highly social. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn


(1) http://www.bsmmedia.com/case-studies/#0
(2) http://www.emarketer.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/emarketer_moms_demographic_infographic.jpg
(3) http://simplifywithwsi.com/blog/moms-are-the-chief-purchasing-offers-on-the-internet-digital-moms
(4) http://www.babycenter.com/100_press-release-mobile-mom_10349212.bc
(5) http://m2moms.com/fast_facts.php



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