Archive for the ‘Marketing to Women’ Category

Trend Watch: The Snarky Spokeswoman

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013


I’ve been noticing a new trend in advertising: the Snarky Spokeswoman. More “Juno” than “Star Search,”  the spokeswoman  is typically an attractive and witty brunette who comes across as confident and knowledgeable about the products she’s hocking. Ads frequently feature the spokeswoman played against a bumbling or confused male, presumably with the intent of connecting to female audiences.

Notably, the Snarky Spokeswoman is being used to sell products in markets less traditionally marketed to women, including insurance, technology and automobiles. This seems to show a growing awareness among marketers that women are driving actual purchases in each of these markets.

Examples of the Snarky Spokeswoman include “Flo”(TM) from Progressive Insurance, Carly from T-Mobile, and “Jan” from Toyota. Each of these characters has been used in a series of television spots. Here are a few examples:

I should note that T-Mobile appears to be backing away from the Snarky Spokeswoman in more recent spots, which feature Carly strutting in tight leather and rarely opening opening her mouth to talk. It’s not clear to me whether they’ve intentionally shifted their focus to target male audiences (which these ads do), or have simply reverted to more traditional marketing that objectifies women as Carly gains in online popularity with men:

In fact, T-Mobile’s about-face from Snarky Spokeswoman to objectified sex kitten is even more obvious in one of their more recent spots, featuring “Sexy Carly” in a helicopter, not only does she not talk anymore, but there’s an authoritive male voiceover! Oh well, at least they kept the pink. That’s sure to connect with female audiences (note sarcasm).


Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

When I attended my first White Bear Lake Downtown Business Association meeting, I jumped at the chance to refresh the image of their current “Girls [sic] Night Out”. I’d received their emails in the past, and—being the branding snob that I am—knew that the emails weren’t doing a good job of appealing to their target audiences or communicating what the event was about. So I—gulp—volunteered to give the program a refresh.

As I wrote about earlier, stereotypes and cliches abound in Girls’ Night Out (note correct use of possessive apostrophe) marketing. As far as I could tell, marketers and their designers everywhere took the theme a little too literally—with all of the flowers, Barbie-like images and pink thrown up everywhere, you’d think they were marketing to 4-12 year olds. I made a conscious effort to class it up and de-pinkify the identity. (more…)

Will the real women please step up?

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

From a Google search of “Girls’ Night Out”, here’s how marketers are attempting to reach the lucrative women’s market:

In contrast, what women themselves are posting on Pinterest. This is a snapshot from the “Popular” tab:

Notice any discrepancies? I sure do! 

• Women, in fact, don’t post images of things drenched in pink

• Women show a depth of interest in things they like. Sure, fashion is there, but so are inspirational quotes, ideas for Henna Tattoos, solutions for organizing, home projects, art projects, vintage finds, recipes, piercing ideas, upcycle ideas, rock posters and more.

Women show a depth of interests, with a focus on practicality

• Women, at least those posting on Pinterest, favor clean, classic fonts with lots of white space over whimsical, curly fonts

Classic fonts appear with frequency on Pinterest

• Women posting on Pinterest appreciate carefully crafted art and photography.


• As far as humor goes, sarcastic seems to get the most posts.

Sarcastic and snarky humor runs large on Pinterest

So what’s this mean? When marketing an event directly to women, we need to consider the real audience we’re marketing to, and not the stereotype we’re so accustomed to seeing, if we want to reach and appeal to this diverse and sophisticated diverse audience.

Boating Industry Discovers Women

Friday, June 8th, 2012


Chris Dicke, left, and Amanda Blotsky enjoyed a recent “ladies-only” afternoon on Prior Lake. The friends regularly rent boats through Your Boat Club.

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

Today’s Star Tribune cover page article, “Women discover that rentals float their boat,” is a bit unappropriately titled. Why? Because the article is much more about how the boating industry is discovering that women, who make 85% of all household purchasing decisions (including big-ticket items), are a profitable target market.

But identifying a new audience is just part of the puzzle for the industry. The challenge for marinas who are looking for women to rent their boats for a summer as part of a “boating club,” is to overcome the potential barrier that women often have no experience driving a boat, since many women traditionally defer driving to their spouse. So, they took the tact of going all-in: offering ladies-only boating instruction classes and catering to women in their clubs.

Smartly, focusing on rentals to get women on the water is a tactic that’s translating to greater industry sales. Once women get a taste of how fun it is to boat, they become interested in investing in their own watercraft. And boat-related sales jumped in Minnesota, where boat clubs are marketing to women: up 42% from 2010.

“The vast majority of household spending trickles through the hands of women, even in categories that seem unlikely,” the article quotes from marketing firm owner Beth Perro-Jarvis. Indeed, besides boats these categories include tires, vehicles, stocks and bonds and home renovations.

This is a great example of an industry paying attention to the statistics and changing their marketing tactics to reach an audience that has and spends money. It’ll be interesting to see when and if other industries that traditionally market to men will follow suit.


Spotlight on Single Women

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012


Think of the last advertisement or television show you saw depicting a single woman. Was she on a quest for love? At home living with her cat? A young, Carrie Bradshaw-ish woman who buys Manolo Blahniks and sips cocktails? Or . . . can’t think of an advertisement or show depicting a single woman?Rejecting the Old Maid image

The above examples illustrate common stereotypes about single women, many of which are perpetuated by marketing professionals. Such misconceptions about single women hamper efforts to connect with this group and tap into their purchasing power. That’s unfortunate, since over 51 million American women are single. That’s a lot of money to leave on the table!

To get your head around this demographic, let’s take a look at some stats:

OPI: Marketing Missteps or Irreverent Branding?

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012


If you’ve ever been to a nail salon, you’re likely to recognize the eponymous O.P.I. line of nail polishes. Featuring theme-based wacky names like “Barre My Soul” (a ballet-themed color), “Super Bass Shatter” (a Nicki Minaj theme) or “Gouda Gouda Two Shoes” (a Holland-based theme), the company frequently looks to themes to influence their collections.

Kardashian Kolors advertisement

The OPI line based on the Kardashians had rather unfortunate timing.

So it wasn’t a big shock in itself when they unrolled their Kardashian Kolor campaign last fall. It was, though, unfortunate for the company that the unveiling of the collection and heavy promotional advertising occurred right at the time when miss Kim Kardashian made her unpopular decision to end her 72-day marriage, making all things Kardashian pretty unpopular for a chunk of time—a reminder that tying your brand to a celebrity can be potentially risky business.

Apparently, however, O.P.I. and the Kardashian Kolor line (does no one else see the “K” alliteration as somewhat offensive, given American history??) did just fine. And now O.P.I. has unveiled a new line. Based on a cartoon mouse THAT ALWAYS WEARS GLOVES.

Yep, Minnie Mouse is the inspiration for the newest line of nail polishes. At least it’s believable

OPI Minnie Mouse theme

OPI selected a glove-wearing mouse to promote a line of colors

that the Kardashians might wear the product they’re endorsing. Now, apparently, a cartoon mouse  that never unveils her fingertips it the taste-maker of choice for women selecting polish. Hmm. . .

As I scratch my head with my own well-groomed nails, wondering how such strange marketing strategies can pay off for the polish brand, it occurs to me that I’m possibly over thinking the strategy. After all, they also have a new line of polishes based on Spider Man. Surely he doesn’t wear polish under that superhero unitard?

A more likely explanation for the seemingly bizarro branding is that they position their brand as contemporary, irreverent and fun. It’s a little humor to feed a mini-vacation at the salon for overworked and underpampered women.



3 Big Blogging Tips for Marketing to Women

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

How to Write Effective Blog Content For Women

For several years now, we’ve touted the power of blogs to drive traffic to your site, position your company as an expert in the field, and inform current and prospective customers about products. Turns out, blogging can be equally beneficial when marketing to women online. Why?

Well, for starters, women are nearly twice as likely as men to use blogs than social networking sites as a source of information (64%), advice and recommendations (43%) and opinion-sharing (55%), and 45 percent of survey respondents stated that they decided to purchase an item after reading about it on a blog (1). Consider how women shop online, and a deeper picture emerges: studies show that women research products and services extensively before making a purchase, mirroring how women shop in brick-and-mortar stores (2). And, women spend about 20% more time on retail sites overall than men; 25% of that time is spent comparison shopping (3).

So what should you blog about? Here are three tips for creating blog content that will resonate with women:

BLOG TIP #1: Write honestly about your products and provide exclusive insights. (more…)

Some Fun Facts about Women and Travel

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

This month I’ll be taking a much-needed vacation with my mother to Italy—a dream trip that’s been years in planning. As a result, Mix Creative will be closed from April 19–May 2. Please send non-critical requests to me or use the form on our contact page.

With all of this talk of travel, it’s got me thinking about women and travel. For example, according to Why She Buys by Bridget Brennan, trips where female friends and family travel together—dubbed “Girlfriend Getaways”—are increasing in popularity. (more…)

Getting into Pinning

Thursday, April 5th, 2012


Ten Pinterest Board Ideas for RetailersPinterest, a virtual visual bulletin board, is getting a lot of buzz these days—and for good reason. Attracting primarily women (68%) with average annual incomes of $100,000+, this social media site has shown itself to be a major source of referral traffic on the internet, outpacing YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. If you’re a business marketing to women, it’s time you take advantage of how Pinterest can increase traffic to your site and better target your products and services to your audiences. Here are three tips to get started:

1. Get on Pinterest. Using either a Facebook or a Twitter login, you can start a Pinterest account and give it your company name. Once you’ve got an account, you can create boards—categories of images that focus on a topic. (more…)

Recent Work

Monday, March 5th, 2012


Recently, we had the opportunity to design the identity, website and business cards for a new store: Forget Me Not In Stillwater. For the design, we drew upon a combination of trellis-style frames and old world illustrations with fresh, contemporary colors. Here’s the result:

Forget Me Not Business CardsPin It