What we can learn from marketing-to-women fails and successes

When it comes to marketing to women, some brands know how to reach the target while others completely miss the mark. Here are two recent examples of a marketing (/M2W) fail and success, and what we can learn from them.

  1. M2W fail
    US-based IBM probably meant well when the major computer corporation set out to transform misconceptions of women in technology, science, engineering and mathematics, through their recent campaign effort. The company had released a YouTube video asking women in these fields to “hack a hairdryer” then post their results on IBM’s website, according to a recent article.

The response, particularly from females with science and engineering expertise, was far from positive. Thousands of tweets slammed the campaign as sexist, patronising and reinforcing of gender stereotypes. To make matters worse for IBM, the London Fire Brigade sent out a tweet cautioning that hacking a hairdryer was a safety hazard and shouldn’t be attempted.

IBM since apologised for “missing the mark” and removed the video.

Takeaway for brands / The takeaway
Gender stereotyping is out. Moreover, it’s crucial to remember that the female consumer employs social media now more than ever to rally support, speak their minds and connect with other women for purchasing advice. Word-of-mouth is what women are about, brands.

  1. M2W success
    In other news, Italian tyre company Pirelli apparently did their homework on today’s emerging female-dominated economy: For the brand’s annual calendar, they replaced their typically “scantily clad” models with “largely clad, female heroes”, reports the UK Telegraph. New (role) models included writer/director/actress Amy Schumer and pro tennis player Serena Williams.

Takeaway for brands / The takeaway
Pirelli’s choice to include “sheroes” in their calendar reflects a smart response to the fact that the worldwide income among females totals a whopping $18 trillion (as of 2014). Furthermore, half of vehicle purchase decisions are made by women and 75 percent of females influence such choices, the NY Times reported in response to Pirelli’s move.

If that wasn’t enough, Boston Consulting Group recently revealed that women pass along a positive vehicle experience with an average of 20 people, in contrast to the two people men typically share with. Once again, word-of-mouth is everything when it comes to female consumers.

The new female economy is upon us, brands – so it’s time to step up your smarts and stop ignoring women. We at Venus can help. To find out more, give us a call on (03) 9510 7000.