It took a recession for marketers to take another look at actually who is buying their product. Due to cut backs, marketing efforts had to be fine-tuned for even greater impact. What many marketer’s learned was that the people buying their products were not the same people they were speaking to. It actually came as a surprise that marketing for men’s products should not necessarily be targeted just to men.
Some large manufacturers have already made adjustments to reflect this revelation. According to the Economist magazine, the snack manufacturer Frito-Lay, which is owned by Pepsi Cola, has launched a campaign called “Only In A Women’s World,” to convince women their products are not just for men, but women too. The same article mentions that Office Max, the second largest office supply company in the United States, redesigned its notebooks and file-holders to appeal more to women. Office Max is also running advertisements to encourage women to make their office cubicles more colorful. The article further noted that McDonalds became a fashion week sponsor for the first time this past February. The event was used by McDonalds to promote a new line of hot drinks targeted towards women.
The economic climate also had the unexpected effect of further increasing the influence of women as the driving force in purchasing. Since unemployment has hit men disproportionately to women, it has decreased men’s buying power as a group. When you consider a women’s increasing earning power along with her previously established role as the purchase decision-maker in the home, the importance of marketing specifically to women cannot be denied for almost any product.
It is quite ironic that it took an economic meltdown for marketing to catch up. “It is hardly news that (women) control the vast majority of consumer spending. They buy 90% of food, 55% of consumer electronics, and most of the new cars,” says Bain & Company’s head of global consuming Eric Almquist.
The sooner marketers shift their efforts to the correct target and look at their product through a women’s eyes, the better chance they have to hit a bull’s-eye.