We’re getting closer to Christmas and Hanukkah with each day, I hope that your business is filled with cheer and good will (and lots of sales!). Today I thought we’d take a moment to talk about one of the challenges when it comes to marketing and business. There are 2 general audiences and 2 sub audiences that businesses may try to reach: the general audiences are men and women, and the sub audiences are boys and girls. No, everyone doesn’t fit into those neat packages, there are men who have no interest in football and women who love football for example. But as I was thinking about the differences between targeting men and women in business it got me thinking about Christmas and making sales this time of year.
It struck me as interesting that many of the Christmas stories we know and love are based around men (or boys); think about Santa, Jesus, and Scrooge, not to mention more modern characters like Buddy the Elf (Elf), Jack Frost, Kevin McCallister (Home Alone), Charlie Brown, George Bailey (It’s a Wonderful Life), Clark Griswold (National Lampoon) and Ralphie Parker (A Christmas Story). Yes, some of these were given the lead role because men are traditionally seen as leaders. And yes, each of those stories has at least one female in a serious role too. But I couldn’t name the women like I could the men that the story is based around.
The point is that it’s easy to stick a man in a lead role because that’s what we know, just like it’s easy to try to incorporate sports, sex, cars or success into your marketing to target men for example, or kids, love, relationships and beauty to target women because that’s what a large portion of them like. But what more businesses are realizing is that there’s a lot more to men and women than just those blanket categories. The recent Dollar Shave Club ads highlight this well with regards to men. In the ads you’re shown a bunch of different guys who shop for different types of body wash or some other related product. There’s Mr. Muscles, the Slob, the Cool Dude, the Clean Cut Guy, and the Average Joe. Yes, all these guys use the same types of products (body wash etc.), but each product isn’t right for every guy (no matter what a celebrity spokesperson might say).
In this world of customization and numerous companies offering something similar yet different, it’s very hard to be successful with a blanket product or campaign that speaks to (or tries to speak to) one or more of the general audiences as a whole. In those cases there’s a specific goal with the ad, and it’s usually more often about branding, not a specific product (think about some of the holiday ads you’re seeing for major companies). I understand the appeal to selling to “everyone” but let’s face it, that’s not a reality anymore with all the options that are available in 2016. Taking the time to really get to know your customers and their likes, dislikes and interests will help you get clear on how to target within the larger general audience to speak to your specific audience. Don’t stoop to the old standby, easy answers unless they’re the right ones when it comes to your customers. Take the time to customize your marketing and show your customers that they matter to you and you understand them.