In the marketing and advertising industry we create a lot of different ads and brands for our clients, some of the products we use, some we never have or never will. I am of the opinion that you need to understand the buyer of the product, the consumer in order to be able to market it. You need to be able to shop. What does that mean? Does it mean you physically need to go to the mall and go shopping for the products you are working on? No. It means you need to become the buyer, the shopper, the consumer mentally.
Last year I put a challenge to my MBA students asking them if they owned a cosmetic company and were in need of a new Marketing Director would they consider hiring a man, or would they need a woman to hold the position since all the customers were women. The responses were mixed, some said either a man or a woman could do it, and some said it most definitely would have to be a woman, how could a man be in charge of marketing to just women? My response to them was that prior to the 1960’s women mostly stayed at home as homemakers, and the working world was largely men. Most households had one income, the husband went to work and earned, the wife stayed home taking care of the kids, the house, did the cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. They also took care of the shopping and purchasing most of the household items that were needed. So that means that most marketing managers and directors were men and that most buyers of everyday household items were women, not to mention the female products such as cosmetics and pantyhose, clothes and more that women bought. But mostly men were in charge of the advertising and marketing. How can a man advertise a product he has never used, will never use?
Very simply; a good ad man or woman has the ability of putting himself or herself in the shoes of the buyer so to speak. They mentally become that person, so that they can understand their needs and wants. If you have ever seen the Mel Gibson movie “What a woman wants” while funny it had some very true attributes to it. It showed how a man had to really understand a woman in order to sell to her. This is true in any product, regardless of whether a man or woman is purchasing, what age they are, and regardless of what sex the person in charge of the marketing or advertising campaign is. They have to put themselves in the mind of the consumer, become the consumer. Meaning if a man is in charge of selling lipstick to women, than yes in his mind he has to become a woman, understand what is important about the lipstick being bought, why they need it, why they want it. A good marketing person can do this. So if you are looking for a good marketing company, don’t let someone’s sex sway your decision, they might just surprise you.