Posts Tagged ‘marketing to women’

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).

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…)

NBA Missing Its Shot to Reach Female Fans

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Women and Basketball


Superstar point guard Ricky Rubio has done the unthinkable—he’s got me watching and following a professional sports team for the first time in my life. I suppose I should have seen this coming, after spending weekend upon weekend watching my son’s basketball team play back-to-back games, but nevertheless, my friends and family remain bewildered at my transformation.

Apparently, though, I’m not the only female NBA fan out there. Rob Mahoney’s article, The NBA’s Forgotten Demographic, states that 40% of NBA fans are women. Despite this significant demographic, women—such as blogger and Hornets season ticket holder Sarah Tolcser—reports that the NBA fails to understand female fans.

Sarah observes that scantily dressed dancers and advertising spots with sexist overtones fail to connect with her as a female consumer. And attempts to connect with fans like herself by offering pink jerseys (“Do you know that you’re wasting your time bedazzling things and making them pink, when my team wears teal?”) and “family friendly” promotions have little effect on her. In fact, Sarah identifies herself as part of a growing class of unmarried women, ages 25–44, without children.

As for my experience, I jumped at the opportunity to attend a game for just $20 as part of the Timberwolves’ Ladies Night Out promotion because the price was right. But given the nosebleed seats that came with the offer, I’d gladly trade the $20 spa and $10 restaurant coupons (which I’m sure I’ll never use) for first deck seats. Heck, I’d even throw in the free wine or beer (which, as my son pointed out, was different from the “beer-only” offer the NBA offered for Guys Night Out).

But it’s not just the NBA that’s missing the mark in appealing to folks like me. As a recent sports convert, I’ve found myself wrestling the sports section away from my husband to read about the previous night’s game and pour over the stats for my favorite players. In the process, I’ve encountered a bit of a language barrier; I struggle to decipher insider sports jargon that my husband seems to know intuitively. For example, even though I played basketball as a child, I struggled with terms like “hit it,” “at the elbow,” “getting to the line,” and dozens of phrases which all seem to mean “field goal.” I also searched in vain to find the key for the abbreviations at the top of the stats columns.

But it’s not just the jargon that feels off. The focus of the writing doesn’t feel like it’s for me. While sports articles center on male-oriented objectives that assess “who’s the best”—records, stats, and contracts —deeper “people” stories, more likely to appeal to women, are missing: Why didn’t Randolph play last night? How is Derrick Williams feeling about his rookie year now that it’s half over? Why is Love considered such a great player when he’s always blaming his hands or the referee? Perhaps it’s because as a whole, women comprise roughly only 10 percent of the sports journalism work force. Whatever the cause, there’s a missed opportunity here to present a more balanced perspective of the sport that will appeal to a broader audience.

My journey into the world of NBA basketball might have started with the flash and dazzle of a Rubio-ruled Timberwolves game, but it’s also presenting itself as a valuable lesson to me as a marketer and for others who market to women. What have I learned?

  1. Ask (and listen to) what your audiences want. If the Timberwolves had asked me what I had wanted for Ladies’ Night Out, I would have told them $20 off main floor seats. Getting feedback could avoid the sense in your audience that they’re “buying a product we aren’t even sure you want us to be buying. Because we love basketball. And sometimes I feel like we’re putting up with a lot, just to love basketball,” as Sarah Tolcser states.
  2. Don’t isolate potential audiences.Beer advertisements that air during games clearly continue to market to men. But with women accounting for approximately 25% of beer sales (but 55% of wine), there’s a growth potential for this market (that number goes up when you consider purchases women make for events).

    Beer advertisers take note: women turned out in large numbers for this beer event.

    In marketing to women, should advertisers be concerned about men running the other direction? In a word, no. According to Marti Barletti, “effectively targeting women generates higher customer satisfaction among both women and men”, in part because women want the same things as men—and then some. Fulfilling the expectations of women, she says, more than fulfills the demands of men. (Marketing to Women: How to Increase Your Share of the World’s Largest Market, 2006)

  3. Skip the jargon. Jargon, by its nature, is fun for people “in the know,” but excludes others. If your goal is to appeal to a broader audience, it’s best to stick to plain English.
  4. Strive to paint a balanced picture. Understand what your audiences want to learn, and work to present the information in a way that enhances the experience for both men and women.


As for why I like Rubio: it’s not because of his “twinkling eyes” or mischievous grin*,  as so many people assume when I talk about Rubio and the Timberwolves. It’s his love and passion for the game, and how he makes the people around him better. That’s a theme that should resonate with men and women alike.

*JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune, “Ricky Rubio seemed to suggest with that twinkle in his eyes and a mischievous grin

Author Katrina Hase looks forward to attending the Timberwolves vs. Indiana Pacers game in the nosebleed section of Target Center tomorrow night.

Recap of a Successful Social Media Campaign

Monday, January 16th, 2012


For many of us, there was clearly something special about Old Spice’s “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign from the first time we laid eyes on it. Overnight, the commercial became the “have you seen it?” talk of households, with those who had missed it rushing to YouTube to see what the fuss was about. Cheesy, ridiculous situations paired with a deliciously deadpan performance by the shirtless Mustafa, and culimnating with a truly absurd line (“I’m on a horse”), made this commercial stand out in multiple ways. And for many of us, it was the first introduction we had to the bold, bright red re-branded product packaging that departed significantly from the cream-colored, nautical-themed predecessors that graced our father’s medicine cabinets.

Later, as marketers rushed to analyze this successful campaign, it also became clear that it was one of the few men’s product campaigns to directly market to women—a demographic that is clearly supported as an influential market when it comes to making decisions about what fellas are placing in their showers.

An article written by Paul Maccabee in today’s Star Tribune, “Beyond the ‘Man your man could smell like’: Marketing lessons from Old Spice’s online video campaign” focuses much of the attention, however, on what the campaign achieved in terms of viral marketing via social media. Stemming from its popularity on YouTube, the Mustafa videos—and the Old Spice campaign—rapidly gained momentum on Facebook and Twitter, increasing the reach of the ads, which originally aired during the Superbowl and on American Idol. Here’s a paraphrased summary of what the article listed as “what companies learn from what Mustafa called a ‘life-altering, society-changing’ interactive campaign”: (more…)

The Power of “She”

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Should Your Company Be Marketing to Women?

2011 was an eventful year for Mix Creative: we helped to rebrand and market a chain of retail stores, designed collateral for an awards ceremony in Los Angeles, helped to brand businesses with storefronts in Stillwater, Ottertail and Minneapolis, and continued to partner with a wonderful mix of existing clients. We also did a fair share of speaking—at the Destined to WIN conference, at a summer eWomen event, and for students at both the U of MN and MCTC. Mix Creative also received some pretty great recognition in 2011, including two design awards and a case study of our work that was included in the 2011 book, Visual Marketing.

A highlight of 2011, though, was attending Stephanie Holland’s talk at the October MIMA Summit in Minneapolis. Author of She-Conomy, a blog that bills itself as a “guy’s guide to marketing to women,” Holland eloquently presented the facts of how and why companies should market to the female consumer. Some statistics she presented:

  • 70% of new businesses are started by women
  • 85% of all consumer brand purchases are made by women
  • Women are the majority of Facebook users, and drive 62% of activity in terms of messages, updates and comments, and 71% of the daily fan activity
  • Women ages 50 and older own more than 75% of the nation’s wealth
  • American women spend over 5 trillion dollars annually
  • Women influence the clear majority of purchases in travel, homes, healthcare, consumer electronics, cars and more

But the most telling statistic from her talk was that 91% of women report that advertisers don’t understand them. Clearly, there’s some room for improvement!

Here at Mix Creative we continue to be specialists in marketing to women, helping our consumer-facing and retail clients to reach and connect with this powerful market. As Holland suggests, this means understanding women’s needs, studying the buying process, and engaging her social networks—not flooding every design with pink! We look forward to sharing our experiences and insights with you about marketing to women—and marketing in general—over the next year. Thanks so much for reading, and keep in touch!

Video Parody Holds Lessons for Marketing to Women

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011


This video, a parody about common phrases women say, was meant to amuse but it’s got me thinking about marketing to women. When I first saw this video, posted by a friend in my Facebook stream, I couldn’t stop watching it—I think I’ve said most of those things (except “Twinsies!”) at one point or another! After watching it several times it occurred to me why I enjoyed it so much: these comedians were clearly paying attention to women: not only what we say, but our mannerisms, the way we dress for different social occasions, and the differences between how we behave around the men and the other women in our lives. I’m not alone in my enjoyment of the video: to date it has nearly 2 million views, and has been accumulating likes and reshares on Facebook, almost exclusively by women.

Imagine if companies marketing to women took the time and effort to understand their audiences as well as the comedians in the video, instead of guessing what they think we might want. Perhaps they’d stop creating women’s versions of men’s shavers by simply putting flowers on them, or creating a “girl’s” website version of a computer site (Dell’s tragic “Della” experiment). With women’s 85% share of buying power in the market, one could argue its in companies’ best interests to get to know women well—really well—as the writers and actors in this video has done. Sure, it’s more work, but the payoff can be substantial for those who take the time to get to know women and market to them in a way that connects with us as this video has done.

Lands' End: Pros at marketing to women

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
Lands End Catalog

Lands' End proves it understands how to market to women.

Paging through a Lands’ End catalog, it’s clear that the folks at Lands’ End understand how to market to women. Products and descriptions reach three demographics of women, (for example: “Fit 1: Modern”, “Fit 2: Original”, and “Fit 3: Traditional”), and leave it to their readers to self-select a category. The different fit categories are clearly labeled and illustrated throughout the catalog, and are accompanied by images of women with different body shapes and ages.

The copy is helpful and non-condescending. It anticipates issues women are likely to have about their clothing, and addresses them directly. For example:

“Straps stay securely in place.”
“Wide waistband lies smoothly over sides — won’t dig in.”

The copy also understands what aesthetic qualities women are searching for:

“Adorable details make these modern tops as cute as they are comfortable.”

Graphics and typefaces are contemporary and readable and colors are fresh and allow the products to take center stage.

Overall, well done! Good job, Lands’ End!

Marketing the GoGirl

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Yesterday morning I came across an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about an—er—implement that allows women to urinate standing up. It’s being marketed as a GoGirl, a pocket-sized piece of silicone that slips into a container in your purse and gives women the ability to discreetly take care of business when conditions are less than desirable.

Now, I realize you may be thinking, “This is an odd thing to write about on a marketing and graphic design blog!” but hang in there. The back story of the GoGirl is what interests me.

Turns out the product is currently in its first rebrand, being led by Sarah Dillon, a market researcher by trade. Sarah saw the potential in the product, but given her background, approached the business opportunity strategically, enlisting focus groups to learn about the product’s potential in the marketplace. Clearly, the research paid off. Everything about the product appears to be crafted to appeal to active women: its size, the price, the name, the package design, and even the tagline: “Don’t take life sitting down.” They aggressively market the product to women who are literally “on the go”: at festivals, fairs and womens’ expos, and take advantage of non-traditional marketing mediums such as sponsoring races, Facebook and other internet marketing.

Photo by Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune; "Go Girl sales director Jan Edman, center, and President Sarah Dillon in front of an advertisement for their product. They project that the Hopkins-based company will produce more than 1 million units this year and achieve $15 million in revenue by 2013."

Clearly, Sarah Dillon understands women, and has put together a marketing and branding package to sell an unusual product to the masses. Which is more than can be said for the first incarnation of the GoGirl.

Originally designed by Dr. Jim Block and dubbed “FemMed”, the product never went anywhere. The name and appearance was far too clinical, and didn’t appeal to women’s lifestyles. Now, as GoGirl, the product has the brand and marketing strategy in place to reach its target audiences and turn a profit. So: same product + understanding of target audiences + good marketing strategy = successful outcome.

I love this story because it really speaks to the power of the process we follow here at Mix Creative. When we get to know a new client, we go through a branding process that explores audiences, competitors, product features and benefits, the brand description and story, and the tone; then we use that to strategically design visual elements of the brand and determine the best route for marketing the company’s product or services. The result? Success in the marketplace.

So, Sarah Dillon, for getting it right, let me say, “You GoGirl!”

(tee hee, couldn’t resist)