In a world where gender fluidity is hitting the headlines on an ideological level almost every day, it is interesting to look again at the marketing strategies of companies and ask the question as to whether or not companies should create and market men-only (or indeed women-only) product ranges.
We assess the advantages and disadvantages of being gender specific or open-gendered in your target audience.
What are the advantages?
There is a whole wealth of products and services which are traditionally aimed at men only, and this makes crafting the marketing messages around that particular demographic so much more effective and results driven. If you know your audience well, you are more likely to talk their language, know intimately what appeals to them, what resonates with them, what makes them feel empowered and uplifted.
Based on this the entire focus of any marketing campaign can be finely tuned to capture the attention of that specific demographic, that in itself helps to increase the overall ROI Return On Investment of the marketing budgets.
Before you even get to the marketing, you need to formulate your product range. Every product or service needs to solve a problem. While there may be a raft of products that are aimed at a more general audience, there are a number of products which you could argue are specifically masculine, solving men’s problems and not suitable for a female audience. While that may feel exclusive, it is also common sense, and there it does not make financial sense to dilute the message for the sake of appeasing an audience for whom your product is not actually relevant.
What are the disadvantages?
Ask yourself – are you limiting your audience? Are you alienating a whole spectrum of people who might actually like and buy your product for themselves, but make a conscious decision not to because they felt excluded by your marketing messages?
Both the mainstream media and social media work hard to be as inclusive and diverse as possible, to ensure that no groups of people feel excluded. This is seeping through to the companies that use them as platforms for lead generation, and as much as you want to attract interest, sometimes that interest can be repelled by the content of your marketing messages, even if you have no intention of upsetting anyone, rather simply speaking to a certain group of people.
Unfortunately, any upset can result in negative energy that might reflect on your brand, which in turn could reflect on your overall profitability.
Of course, the flip side is that if you start to dilute the message you may well end up alienating everybody. If you have a men only product, and that your core audience, the people who regularly buy your product, end up feeling as though you no longer care about them, then they will start to vote with their feet as well.
Bud Light – a cautionary tale
A recent example is the decision by brewing giant Anheuser Busch to use a trans woman to advertise its beer product Bud Light, which led to a mass boycott by the beer’s core customer base who felt this change in direction was making a mockery of them. As a result, the company’s sales dropped by 24 per cent in the four weeks following the announcement.
Sometimes, honouring those who support you the most can mean that you exclude or alienate others. The key is to ensure that your public messaging is balanced and all encompassing. It’s a fine line to tread, but ultimately money talks, and plummeting sales are a warning that in business, understanding your core audience is essential to long term success.
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