Marketers targeting a male audience need to understand the critical differences between men and women, according to Dr. Bob Deutsch of marketing firm Brain Sells. Namely, men consummate and women cycle.
Male Consumers Seek Powerful Image
Men and women are different biologically, psychologically and socially. Deutsch advises that men live in the “now.” They are concrete thinkers that like to consummate and complete what they set out to do.” Men are interested in power and in looking good, even more than being good.
When it comes to attractiveness, both sexes want to garner attention, but each for different reasons. For men, looking good is looking strong, confident, authoritative and adventurous – being a standout. Men concentrate on looks to the extent that it signals something about what they do, have done or can do.
In contrast, regardless of how much a woman wants to attract in the contest of beauty and brains, their focus is on hope and details, and they concentrate on how appearance reflects their inner being. Therefore, successfully marketing to men, as opposed to marketing to women, requires more than changing colors, fonts and/or packaging.
Four Tips for Marketing to Men
With these essential gender differences in mind, Deutsch offers the following four tips for marketers seeking to appeal to male consumers:
1. Time. Men tend to hone in, more quickly than women, on what they’re looking for. Men are not browsers, but shop for what they need “now.” In contrast, women can shop for something now and put it away for “later.”
2. Causality. Men are concrete and tend to tightly focus their awareness. Their notion of cause and effect is linear and men are visually-oriented because of this concrete literality. Seeking clarity, men create absolute distinctions: black-white, yes-no. Men dislike ensembles and tend to buy individual items. In contrast, many women like to think about how they can put together “outfits” and are creative in selecting, say, a variation on a scarf or a belt that will change the nature of one basic outfit.
3. Space. Men structure and relate to space as compartmented and sequential. To men, space is not relational, as it is for women. These kinds of underlying, fundamental gender differences can have critical implications not only for what makes an item compelling, but also for store design and product layout. For example, many women like the challenge and somewhat disorganized variety of off-price retailers such as T.J. Maxx or Marshalls. Men, even men who shop in such places because of price, are not there out of joy or desire.
4. Other People. For the male, it’s every man for himself. Men prize individuality and self-reliance. They conceive of other people as “my competition.” Daily life for them is a contest with winners and losers. This is in contrast to women, who often view other people as a source of strength. Note, too, that men never shop together. Women often shop with a friend and make a “day” of it. A man focuses on himself – the “me,” while a woman is focused on the “we.”
As noted above, men are interested in power. Women are more interested in security. Men relate to “things” themselves. Women relate to the relationship between things. In today’s world, men might, for example, be paying more attention to grooming aids than they did years ago. But men are still grooming to go up the hierarchy, to be Number One, and be recognized as Number One. Modern man is still primal man, regardless of how much hair a man has to groom.
How Marketers Should Appeal to Women
Deutsch offers the following seven tips for marketers seeking to appeal to female consumers: Recognize women’s ability to appreciate underlying patterns, realize women’s need for authenticity, provide quality as well as quantity or size, offer communality, validate women’s personal feelings and social intentions, offer quality of life as well as accumulation, and provide reasonableness rather than exaggeration or absolutes.