What does she want?

Faith Popcorn likes to tell a joke as part of her marketing seminars: A man is walking down a beach on the East Coast when he kicks a bottle and a genie pops out, saying, "Your wish is my command."
The man thinks a minute and asks, "Well, I'm afraid of flying, and since a major part of my job is on the West Coast, I need you to build a bridge so that I could drive back and forth."
The genie strokes his beard and says, "That's a difficult request. Don't you have anything easier for me?"
The man says, "Well, I market to women, and it would be really helpful to know what they want."
The genie scratches his head and says, "About that bridge, will that be two lanes or four?"

It's just a joke, but Popcorn, speaks to an awful truth. Men head the vast majority of ad agencies, and 85 per cent of the Fortune 500 do not have a women in the top five positions. And those male managers know far too little about their female customers.

Popcorn starts her new book EVEolution: The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women, by scaring the heck out of those male marketers. "Women buy or influence the purchase of 80 per cent of all consumer goods," says Popcorn. "That includes 51 per cent of consumer electronics and 75 per cent of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs."

Yet despite the differences in how men and women think, there are few books, agencies and strategists that specialize in marketing to women. And Popcorn thinks there is a big opportunity being missed.

Popcorn - formerly Plotkin, until she realized that people were having a hard time remembering her name - runs a New York based consultancy, and already has two highly successful marketing books under her belt: The Popcorn Report and Clicking.

As the title implies, her latest work is an attempt at getting marketers to look at marketing to women in a new way - an EVEolved way.

Since women unlike men, are less likely to say what they want, Marketers have to devote more effort toward anticipating their needs. This means getting to know women, and not just in a superficial way, but all about them.

Men to think in straight lines, -- they compartmentalize -- so they tend make product decisions based on the specifics of a particular situation. As a result of the multiple roles most women play, women tend to think in terms of interrelated factors. "If you market to just one of her lives, says Popcorn, "you are missing all the others."

Women also have an innate need to connect to each other, one of the reasons they now comprise more than half of the online population in the U.S. "Connecting females customers to each other connects them to your brand," says Popcorn.

Like many marketing books, EVEolution is chock full of annoying gimmicky talk and slogans -- not the least of which is its title, -- and although she shamelessly self promotes, the work is a fun read. Popcorn goes over the top too often for anyone to agree with everything she says. She is especially brutal in her chapter-long dissection of the marketing problems at cosmetics marketer Revlon. But there is something going on in that brain of hers and EVEolution is worth a look.

 

EVEolution: The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women, By Faith Popcorn and Lys Marigold, Hyperion Books, 272 pages

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