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Capture female customers with the right PR and marketing

Men are from Mars and women are in your competitor’s store, and that’s where they’ll remain if you don’t get your marketing and PR suited to a female audience.

Don’t get too excited; this post isn’t going to help you find the love of your life! Since this Thursday is International Women’s Day, this article will help you to better target women in your business.

In the past, female audiences were only targeted if a specifically feminine product or service was involved, e.g. shoes or make-up. However, there are now new niches and campaigns being created that are only focused on women. This isn’t sexist, it is simply because women are often considered to be ‘high quality’ customers because they are said to control or influence as much as 80 percent of household spending.

This greater understanding across businesses about the importance of targeting female consumers has resulted in more ‘noise’ and poorly created marketing and PR campaigns that actually turn people off brands. Campaigns that focus on ‘girly’ or ‘homemaker’ stereotypes and use cheesy language have led to a level of cynicism that businesses now have to cut through in order to reach the female audience.

The solution is for you to do your research and get the marketing and PR messages right the first time, because first impressions have a greater impact on female audiences than they do on male or generic audiences.

The first step is to define the type of woman that you would like to target. Ask the following questions:

  • How do they like to communicate?
  • What are their needs and desires?
  • What are their demographics?
  • What influences their purchasing decisions?
  • What do you need to do to gain their respect?
  • Do they know that you exist or have they used your product/service before?
  • What keeps them up at night?

The next step is to identify where you can reach them (no stalking, please!), such as magazine of interest to your particular female audience, and to make sure your business has a positive presence in that outlet.

What a lot of businesses don’t realise when they’re creating their PR and marketing campaigns is that men and women have different brains. It’s a fact.

In particular, parts of the frontal lobe, responsible for problem solving and decision-making, and the limbic cortex, responsible for regulating emotions, are larger in women.

As a result, women are much more detail oriented and find dialogue and emotive experiences inviting. They also appreciate it when you listen and give them opportunities to discuss their needs and your business further. Some businesses find this difficult because it generally goes against traditional marketing efforts, but if you want to form long-term relationships with female customers, this is essential.

The key is to get to know your ideal female customers and work out how to best reach them and address their multiple needs, concerns and desires. Not only do they need to know that you exist, but they need to:

  • Trust you;
  • Feel comfortable or feel or a connection with you;
  • Believe that you understand them;
  • Have a positive emotional reaction to you and your business; and
  • Be confident that you can solve their problems with your goods/services.

This is where effective PR comes in. PR isn’t just about creating awareness of your brand. It’s about getting people to think and feel about you and your business in a certain way, and conveying aspects of your business that you cannot always convey through other marketing tools.

Let me give you an example. My business used to do the PR for a not-for-profit organisation. All the research showed that females were the highest donors and the most loyal supporters of the charity. So, we decided to create some specific PR campaigns for the female audience.

In these campaigns we targeted the media outlets that women read, watched and listened to. Our messages were different, too. Instead of talking about the organisation’s unique strategy, we used compelling and emotive photography and told first-hand, personal stories that showed how recipients’ lives had changed as a result of the charity. These campaigns were received much better than previous campaigns created by men for a generic audience, and there was a significant increase in donations.

And just in case you thought I was making all that brain stuff up, here’s some proof!

Can you think of any marketing or PR campaigns that have successfully targeted women?

What do you think?

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Phoebe Netto

Phoebe Netto

Phoebe Netto is the Managing Director of Good Business Consulting, a business advisory specialising in marketing and public relations (PR) for small-to-medium sized businesses. Phoebe has lead PR and marketing programs for a diverse range of clients, from listed Australian companies, global brands, not-for-profits through to sole operators. She now takes these skills that are often reserved for big businesses, and uses them to help good small businesses grow and meet their objectives by retaining their customers and attracting new ones. Follow Phoebe on twitter for PR, marketing and small business advice, plus a little nonsense! @Phoebe_Netto

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