Although women make up half the population, many companies still treat them as a niche in the marketing industry. In the second episode of J&See: Views on Marketing, Meg Goodman sits down with Patti Minglin. Patti is the founder and CEO of Go Girl Communications, a marketing agency that specializes in helping clients reach female customers. Patti and Meg discuss how to successfully market to (or as Patti would say, with) women — and the common mistakes you should avoid. Read on for a few excerpts from her insightful interview. And of course, make sure to subscribe to J&See: Views on Marketing to hear a compelling conversation like this once a month.
Q: Why is it important to reach women through marketing — and what kind of influence do women have when it comes to buying decisions?
A: Women are influencing more than 80% of all purchasing decisions across all categories and all industries … Just because you are not seeing women literally walk through your door and hand you money for a product or service doesn’t mean they haven’t influenced that buying decision … You have to really look at the influence behind the purchase and not who’s just giving you their money … A lot of women are what we call the “sandwich generation.” They are taking care of elderly parents and they’re raising children. They are making purchasing decisions for everyone in their household.
Q: Why [are women] still treated as a niche? Why isn’t [marketing to women] more prevalent?
A: The voice of women, as much as we’ve elevated it, still isn’t elevated enough. Seeing women in leadership positions is still a rarity. Right now, out of all the Fortune 500 companies, only 30 of them, the CEOs are women … Women are still not part of the normal conversation. They still seem, for whatever reason, like the exception.
Q: What are brands doing wrong? What mistakes do you see companies do again and again?
A: One of the biggest ones — and I can’t even believe in 2019 I’m still seeing this — is the “pink it, shrink it” mentality. A lot of businesses they just think, “Okay well, we’ll just take a product we already have and we’ll just make it pink and we’ll make it maybe a little smaller and women will love it … [Companies] are not taking the time to truly understand who women are as consumers and what they are doing with your product … Women are categorized into one big category: women.
Q: What can we do to start to change that?
A: My biggest advice is don’t force it. Don’t be something that you’re not. Because women … can tell when you’re faking it. So, you have to really know your topics and your subjects and not just think, “Hey, we’re marketing to women” … On a more global sense, we’ve done a great job … When you look at politics, more and more women are getting into political races … over 20% of congress are female and over 20% of state executive levels are now female. That 20% is a big deal … When an organization reaches [a point where] 20-30% of leadership are female, change happens. That’s when change happens.
Q: What channels do you see women gravitating towards today?
A: Women love social media. I don’t think that’s going to surprise anyone at all. They are ahead of men in usage pretty much across the board except for LinkedIn and YouTube … Really look at who you’re trying to reach. If it’s younger women, Instagram is huge. Millennials all use Instagram. Facebook is great if it’s moms … You really need to look at beyond just that she’s female and [look at] what’s her lifestyle like and where is she getting this information.
Q: What can we do to get more women into leadership positions?
A: That is the big question. The first thing I always think about is just elevating the voice of women in our own organizations and communities … Women don’t necessarily see themselves in those leadership positions … We were not taught to negotiate right. We were not taught to be as assertive as men just from society. So, a really great thing we can do is offer education, support and encouragement for women to teach [other women] these kinds of skills so they can compete effectively in the market.
Listen to the whole episode to hear Patti’s thoughts on how to identify flaws in female-focused marketing campaigns and how to fix them. Download J&See: Views on Marketing on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Or you can listen to the episode on Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio and Simplecast. And make sure you subscribe to get a new episode every month.