EVEolution: The eight Truths of Marketing to Women By Faith Popcorn, 272 Pages, ISBN 0786865237, Hyperion Press
Reviewed by: G.A. “Andy” Marken, Marken Communications Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve been a fan of Faith Popcorn since we stumbled upon her first book, The Popcorn Report many years ago. Her second book, Clicking proved to be just as informative, insightful and helpful to us as we worked to help clients understand how to position, brand, promote and sell themselves and their products. EVEolution clearly establishes her as a futurist and trend-spotter worthy of your attention.
We’d read Eveolution several months ago, found it interesting and informative and then quickly filed (and forgot) her infuriation in our mental databank. Then one afternoon in a client meeting we were trying to determine how we were going to increase sales in a product area beyond the technologic early innovators. Everyone in the room agreed that we had the same problem as the airlines – we, like our competition, were focusing all of our attention on “the frequent fliers.” We weren’t doing anything to bring in the “new fliers.”
One of the executives – a very bright, aggressive and professional female – suddenly noted that we were looking at our “market” as one big mass that had a technology application need that was common across the board. More important than the fact that they had varying degrees of technical understanding/capabilities was the fact that the marketplace wasn’t unisex (as technology companies like to look at customers) but rather they were men and women.
Eveolution immediately rose from the depths of my mental databank. We were attempting to treat men and women as logical equals. But as Faith points out – it’s obvious – men and women are biologically and “shop-ologically” different. We were trying to build a market relationship that had no future. We needed to reach the person who will not only buy the product but actually buy into it.
Let’s look at this from a personal example. My wife and I happen to have the same new convertibles – different colors. I like mine. I’ve bought six from the same manufacturer over the years. I’ve always liked the lines of the car, the feel of the interior and ride and the admiring looks when you pass people. She loves her car. After returning from a trip she’ll always go into the garage and tell her car she’s home and she missed it. Sure she likes the admiring glances; the surge of power when she steps on the gas and all of the things that goes with her car.
But come on fellas, admit it. When was the last time you went into the garage to tell your car you were back from a trip?
In Eveolution Faith boldly spells out her eight truths of marketing to women. For the price of the book she delivers the keys to attracting and engaging the lifelong female customer.
These are not “aha” truths. These are slap on the side of the head truths and they are typical of the reason she is so widely sought after by leading corporations around the glob and the reason she is a very effective cultural detective and trend-spotter. She sees the obvious and articulates it very clearly, concisely.
As we move at Internet speed in an out-of-control world, Popcorn lays out the roadmap for successfully marketing to women:
make your brand a contributing and worthwhile member of the community you create
acknowledge that women lead multiple, simultaneous lives and market to all of those lives
be subtle in your marketing efforts – women think laterally and notice things peripherally
In all, she boils down her recommendations into eight truths. Now you can say this is a very calculated and crass way to position and brand your company and its products but keep in mind that a company has a number of responsibilities in the world. It should return a profit to its shareholders, provide meaningful employment for as many people as possible and deliver value to the consumer. Women – especially in the U.S. – make 80 percent of all the purchasing decisions (whether we like to admit it or not) and they influence a least 9 percent of the male’s buying decisions.
Put in that light it makes solid sense for companies of all types to understand the actions they need to take and the areas they need to articulate not just to gain a customer but to earn a partner…for life.
Oh yes, getting back to our client’s situation. We reshaped the “look and feel” of the product messages – all of them, redid the packaging, completely tore apart all of our publicity messages and pitches. We even took these messages to a whole new set of news and reviews editors and reporters.
Product and review articles have begun appearing in a wider range of media – beyond the technical and application media. Even reporters and reviewers who covered the product when it was first rolled out have revisited the “new” news. The articles, TV and radio coverage is much more to what we believe is tailored to our real decision-maker.
Don’t believe it? Well we have better shelf frontage in CE outlets. We’ve opened new sales outlets that were “lukewarm” to us in the past. We’ve attracted a whole new “set” of community members to the company’s on-line chat room and support/application area. Sales have doubled for the initial product in the past six months. And now we’re looking long and hard at how we’re marketing our other “professional” products.
Maybe there really is something to this “difference.” But you’ll never know until you pick up Eveolution and test it on yourself – whether you’re a man or a woman.