How I Learned To Market To The Most Powerful Consumers In The World
As far as I can remember, I have spent my entire life trying to figure out what woman want in one form or another. I guess it’s convenient that I have spent most of professional life also targeting the demographics of “Woman 18-34” and “Woman 34-54.” But how could I make an informed marketing decision regarding this demo, when I’m just this young colt running in a world of old colts and understandably more prepared mares? Generally everything I knew was a pre-determined typecast from a case study I read, done in an office that I wasn’t present for. How do I possible find a way to impact this demo?
Unconsciously, I started doing one thing right. I got closer to this consumer. Growing out of my early 20’s and into a functioning adult, living pay-check to pay-check was a burden, sharing my bills with my parents was amateur, not being able to balance my own checkbook was is tragic, and this was the just the start. Buying shots for everyone at the bar sounded like a really nice thing to do at the time and I really needed the new Oakley sunglasses to maintain proper social appearance. But this baller didn’t have the budget for this circus act. This will lead me to the media man I am today.
I came from a house where my father was the main provider but my mother was the guardian of it all. I knew I needed to tap into this source if I wanted a fighting chance to gain control of the big green monster. I leaned on my mother and learned her spending habits. Just as I got a handle of the debit and credit columns on my leger sheet, I met a lady. And with a wink and a smile, we were laughing and living dollar by dollar.
Meanwhile while at work, being asked to be in meetings has turned into the assumption of attending meetings. I became a regular for strategy meetings with department heads, consultants or research companies. Always the youngest person in the room, I picked a spot on the wall and I sat myself under the radar. When I had a question, I didn’t ask. I knew I was one pointless question away from awkward stares. I just smiled and silently took notes, piecing one study together, to the next perceptual, and back to the newest ratings breakdown. The fear of embarrassment pushed me into making my own conclusions on these demos. Realizing if I can harness this skill set of understanding the consuming wants of arguably the most important two cells in the world of marketing and advertising, I will be a valuable media man.
Meeting after meeting, I was trying to figure out what woman want, growing as a marketer, but it wasn’t until this one particular meeting that I made a breakthrough. I was taking notes for an upcoming promotion, with a client that happens to be a concert promoter. He turned, looked at me, nodding his chin up slightly and asked one simple question.
“What do you think?”
The room was silent, and I felt my core body temp start rising, but the room was cold with stares. It was a rather simple question on a rather complex subject. Will this concert work or not? So I quickly ran through my basic training on concert promotion. I asked myself simple questions to respond with a compelling answer.
Does this show provide a unique experience and benefit to our listener? Yes. Will the headliner drive ticket sales? Yes. Would I want to go to the event? No!
But right there, in a split second, I realized why the last question was wrong for TWO reasons. The first reason being that my personal discernment, being a male, was inconsequential. So my reaction was to form an opinion from a woman I could predict. I ask myself if my girlfriend would want go or not? Yes!
After this battle in my head, I finally composed my thoughts and responded logically. It went along the lines of this concert having a unique experience for the market, targeting the demo of woman 24-34 with the good portion of this cell having the desire and expendable resources for this recreational income.
I left the meeting satisfied, but it wasn’t till weeks later until it came clear answer to second wrong reason. I was sitting in a room with a research firm reviewing the recent studies of this new measurement for radio called PPM. They were reviewing the forms of active vs. passive listening. Running through how this measurement doesn’t just measure what consumer’s listen to, but what they are exposed to. While processing this, I was thinking of ways to apply this. The game changed. It wasn’t just about what the station you choose to listen to in the car radio anymore. What matter just as much is the background music in the mall or the station that the host of your party decided to play. This made me picture my mom; sitting in her office with the radio on that I gave her for Christmas. She would go about her day with this broadcast, exposing her to ads and programming that she wasn’t even aware of. What I had going for me, the station she listened to was part of my media cluster. And BOOM… That’s it. I can use my mom as a test subject. And my girlfriend’s P1 station was the other station. Now I have two guinea pigs!.
As soon as the meeting ended, I jumped into my office chair and gave my mother a ring. I lead her into a conversation about work and probed her to see what promotions she had retained. The next call was to my girlfriend. I delved into what her favorite songs on the radio were; predominantly my interest was her judgment of newer tracks. Consequently, using my mother as measurement tool and gauged my girlfriend for marketing insight.
The behavior of woman in the 18-24 demo can be vastly different from the behavior in woman 34-54. My mother was habitual whereas girlfriend was impulsive. My girlfriend hated commercials but my mother just let them run. And changing my mother’s decision or to consumer? You’re better off trying to change politics. What I have come to conclude, even with the separation of theses female demo’s, is one emotion was the foundation of their consumption. This emotion was the second answer to my previous mistaken assumption. Need not to fulfill what women want; except fulfill her needs.
My NEED to find success in the demographics of woman is found in exposing their NEEDS. Asking the question of “what woman want” isn’t enough. My marketing campaigns to woman start with aligning a product to a need of a woman. Regardless if a female is 18, 35, or 47, once she realizes there is a need to consume, for whatever reason that is, the market share will come. Need I say more?