Understanding what makes your target audience tick is vital in any marketing campaign. So why are many brands still getting it wrong when they are trying to engage with women? Caitlin Ryan, Group Executive Director at Karmarama, has shared a few words of wisdom to help you get it right and avoid many of the common pitfalls that organisations experience.

Avoid stereotypes
Ms Ryan believes that nearly nine in ten women do not recognise themselves in advertising, as marketers often rely on stereotypical depictions of females. She acknowledged that brands are doing this partly because they have a short time in which to convey their core message, but warned this is a “limited palette” that doesn’t appeal to much of their target audience.

Listen to what women say
Brands have plenty of ways to find out what matters to their target audience, such as listening on social media and online forums or commissioning their own studies and surveys on what issues are on people’s minds. These insights could be crucial in helping them produce a message that genuinely resonates with women. Ms Ryan highlighted Nike as an example of a brand that has done this particularly well – as it has based its marketing around issues that matter to females and therefore avoided relying on unrepresentative stereotypes. And as a result, Nike has felt empowered to tackle serious subjects head-on, as it has proved it understands the people it is talking to.

Steer clear of sexualising women
Marketers who resort to this tactic in order to sell a product are – in Ms Ryan’s view – lacking creativity and still showing outdated attitudes. This can be hugely off-putting to women, as it doesn’t make them feel brands are even attempting to engage with them directly. Organisations could therefore show they have a much more modern and enlightened view of the world by presenting women in a more positive and imaginative way. It comes back to the earlier point of women not recognising themselves in advertising – you have to present an image that each and every individual can identify with.

Remember the consequences of getting it wrong
Tools such as social media and online review sites have empowered consumers to the extent where their comments can significantly influence a brand’s reputation and image. With this in mind, it pays to do your homework or you might run the risk of offending your target market with an ill-chosen theme or statement.

There is no one way to engage with any demographic or segment of society – and since marketers often go to great lengths to understand niche groups, they should go to the same effort to learn more about larger sections of the populations too. In an age where people expect personalised and tailored marketing content, there is no need or reason why brands should be resorting to outdated stereotypes and overlooking what matters most to the people you are trying to get on board.

You’ve come a long way baby: 5 ways brands can better connect with women, Marketing

Posted by Robin McCrink