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Given all the press that marketing to women has been getting lately, I imagine we'll see a surge of new ideas, approaches and campaigns competing for the womens' market dollar....


There will be those brands that actually read the recent articles and absorbed their point - and so talked with women before developing products and marketing strategies. And, there will be those brands that want to get a "women's market" thing out there quickly while the topic has heat, and forgo the "just ask" part of what women want.
I've got two examples to consider today:
As a follow up to my April 10th post about Fashion Shows, Spas and Car Marketing, "Curve Hugger" is a new eyeshadow inspired by the Ford Fusion, and created by Benefit Cosmetics. According to a New York Times article ("My Toenails Match My Hood Scoop," as cited by Reveries, Linda Perry-Lube, a former Ford communications manager put it this way:
"I think that for women, the dealership experience is even less pleasant," and suggests that Ford-branded makeup helps prospective Ford customers "engage the brand, away from the pressures of the dealership."
Ohhhkay...
Then, on a somewhat more brand consistent note, Advertising Age published an article this week on the expansion of the Kellogg's Special K brand into the health/wellness realm. It is now selling protein waters, protein bars, a diet drink and a "personal trainer" watch that calculates calories as part of the Special K Challenge Diet Plan. This seems to make a bit more sense and appears to be connected in a pretty strong way to the original product.
So, it may be true that I really don't understand how young women buy cars these days - but, say it isn't so: getting a loan to make a significant (and likely first) purchase based even partially on the fact that you like the colors of its eye shadow (and nail polish - which was mentioned in the NYT piece)? Could young women who were raised by super savvy Boomer shoppers really let that influence their car purchase in any way?
On the other hand, Kellogg's does have years of experience and consumer research in tapping the calorie conscious minds of its customers (who they've long since known were mainly women). This new expansion would seem to deliver a product line-up that makes more sense and serves a real purpose. (Though, you do still have to wonder about the brand's jumping on the "organic" bandwagon - in what seems a very "me too" non-substantive move.)
Delivering relevant products in relevant ways to the women's market does take a little work, but it is worth it. Did Ford "just ask" young women in order to discover that eye shadow would be a great branding idea for the Fusion model? I'm not sure. But, it seems a bit more clear that Kellogg's was inspired by their uniquely diet conscious customers in the launch of their new beverages and bars and, even, personal training watches.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Andrea Learned
Andrea Learned is a noted author, blogger, and expert on gender-based consumer behavior. Her current focus is on sustainability from both the consumer and the organizational perspectives. Andrea contributes to the Huffington Post and provides sustainability-focused commentary for Vermont Public Radio.