Managing Marketing: The importance and the difference in marketing to women

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights, and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Kylie Rogers, Managing Director of Mamamia Women’s Network, and Lauren Joyce, Head of Broad, their strategic consultancy, talk with Darren on how women are driving commerce today, and why marketers may be missing out on this dominant audience by not marketing specifically to them in the way they want to be engaged.

marketing to women

marketing to women

 

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing and today I’m here at the Mamma Mia Women’s Network with Kylie Rogers, Managing Director and Lauren Joyce, who’s Head of Broad, which is the strategic consultancy here at Mamamia. Welcome.

Kylie:

Thank you so much for having us, Darren.

Darren:

In actual fact, I should be saying thank you for having me because coming here to Mamamia, as soon as the lift doors open and I saw all of the pictures on the wall and all of the people and the energy I could tell that this was a very different place to work.

Kylie:

I appreciate your saying that. Sometimes in the furore of your working week you forget the energy that really does exist in this place; it’s very progressive. It’s almost tangible.

Darren:

It’s palpable when the doors open. I think that’s why I walked in a bit confused; it was like being hit with this energy and noise. There are workplaces where there are people screaming but it was just this energy that is happening here. It was very exciting.

Kylie:

Of 85 women who have lots of ideas and who want to execute those ideas and we have famous women on the walls that inspire us every day.

Darren:

And are executing. You guys produce a huge amount of content.

Kylie:

We average around 45 articles a day, give or take the news cycle, around six to ten videos a day and now 18 podcasts a week. And of course, you’re standing in our pretty remarkable podcast studio. We have one in Sydney, one in Melbourne, and one in our New York office.

Darren:

Amazing, and the infrastructure as well to support this. In a way, you’ve reinvented the news platform but you’ve also done it in a way that you’ve embraced technology as well, haven’t you?

Working to understand Australian Women

Kylie:

Yeah, thanks and I guess why we’ve done that is we’ve focused on trying to understand Australian women; trying to understand what they want from media today and trying to anticipate her needs and deliver her what she wants.

And we’ll probably get to it throughout our podcast but our women are telling us that they want media on her terms. They want personalised media. They’re very busy; they want media on the run. Therefore, we have worked hard at delivering that for her.

And case in point; our 18 podcasts. They are being downloaded in droves; we have celebrated our 20 millionth download and it’s quite extraordinary. It’s a really exciting time.

Darren:

Wow. But it seems interesting, Lauren, you look at Mad Men, which was a very popular programme a few years ago when women in that show were the secretaries, right? This is very much 21st century. This existence of the Mamamia Women’s Network is evidence of the fact that women are now front and centre in the workforce, in day to day life, and especially in commerce. Women are really driving the commercial realities, aren’t they?

Lauren:

They are. We do a survey each year of our readers and at the end of last year when we did our survey they told us they were feeling really powerful. They felt they had a figurehead in Hilary Clinton and they were following that kind of trend around female empowerment.

And I guess over the last few years we’ve seen brands get on board with that as well because they have recognised particularly the purchasing power that women now hold. Women are accountable for 50% of male spending are they are accountable for 85% of purchasing decisions on average so it varies.

Darren:

And a 100% of their own spending.

Kylie:

Yeah, that’s right.

Darren:

My mother used to say to my father, ‘what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is me own.’ He’d make all the big decisions like how the family felt about politics and the environment and things like that and she’d make all the small decisions like what we ate, where we’d go for holidays, what car she’d like—all those small things that didn’t really matter as far as he was concerned.

The economic dominance of women

Lauren:

Yeah, the inordinate influence that they hold is amazing and that has been known for a long time but I think that brands, in the last two years or so, have become much more aware of that. We’re starting to see some really lovely examples of how brands are leveraging this theme of female empowerment.

But we feel that that is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s really an of-the-now trend that brands are really getting involved in but there is opportunity well beyond that around unlocking the influence that women have over various categories.

Darren:

You say it’s of the now. Why is it now? Why wasn’t it 10 years ago, or 20 years ago or even 30 years ago? Because we’ve had the sexual revolution of the sixties where women became more empowered as they got more control. Women dominate the workforce now apart from salary equality but there are more women working than at any time in history.

Lauren:

I think because biologically they are built to operate within the way the economy is built today. So, the way that businesses interact with each other.

Darren:

The collaboration economy.

Lauren:

Exactly, and if you look at the inspirational leaders of today it includes people like Sheryl Sandberg and Arianna Huffington who drive these leadership qualities around fairness and collaboration.

Darren:

And dare we say, Mia Freedman.

Lauren:

Or Kylie Rogers.

Kylie:

That’s very sweet, thank you. Mia tells a great story, maybe only four years ago she was pitching to a client (this was before my day) and the client was a man, and she said, ‘I’ve created this digital women’s network’ and he stopped her and said, ‘women’s network –what do you mean?’ And she said, ‘well, creating content by women for women’ and he said, ‘that’s interesting, it’s quite a niche, isn’t it?’

And she nearly fell off her chair. Fast forward four years and women are driving the economy. I think there’s a greater growth opportunity than India and China combined.

Lauren:

That’s right, yeah.

Kylie:

Women have found their voice. They’re telling us they feel more powerful than ever before. They’re breaking down stereotypes. They are saying they’re o.k. without partners. They’re saying they’re o.k. without children. They’re saying it’s o.k. for them to create their own journey.

And we’re standing up for the first time and listening to that. And excitingly, marketers are starting to understand why they need to have a separate comms strategy for women if they want to have a meaningful conversation with her.

Darren:

And this is not just about playing out role models and things. This is not casting certain types of women in commercials. It goes beyond that. To really build engagement goes beyond just holding a mirror up to people, doesn’t it?

Communicating and Engaging a Female Audience

Lauren:

Yes, there’s a job to be done in terms of the representation of women in the media; diversity in general I think but this is very much about creating a communications strategy that is going to play on those key elements that will influence her purchase decision-making.

There are top line things like we know that positivity trumps negativity, so she wants to see things that are positive or framed in a positive way.

Darren:

Positivity rather than negativity—maybe this is a lesson for up at News Corp. I don’t see many newspapers come out with front pages that give me a positive message. It’s all about bludgers, it’s all the bad things and all the old mainly male-driven editorial style was bad news is always good for news.

Lauren:

It’s the shock factor they go for I think. Women don’t necessarily want that framed in a negative way.

Kylie:

I think marketers think it’s all too hard to have separate strategies to communicate to men versus women so they think, ‘oh, we’ll just bundle it together and hope for the best with people 25 to 54 but if they leaned on great people like us or others who spend a lot of time and a lot of money surveying and interviewing women.

We survey 30,000 Australian women a year. It’s our job to anticipate her needs and we can tell marketers what it is that women are doing today and how they can influence them. And if I can summarise what women are doing today that’s different to men; she is always on, she has never felt busier, she has never felt more pressured, and I think 71% of our audience say, ‘I simply don’t have enough time in my day to get everything done’. She has her mobile on all day, every day.

Darren:

They’re always connected, aren’t they? That’s both social and functional in a way.

Kylie:

It’s an extension to her hand and they are more likely to give up TV than they are her mobile phone.

Darren:

It’s interesting what you said about it’s too hard marketing to women. The default is almost like an androgyny isn’t it because if you just target 18 to 54 or 35 to 59’s what are you actually targeting? Are you saying that men and women are exactly the same in the way they process communications, their interests the same? If that were really true the world would be a very different place.

Lauren:

Exactly.

Darren:

Well a different place, maybe simpler but not as interesting.

Kylie:

That’s very true too. Women keep telling us they want to have a real relationship with brands. They want to have a two-way conversation with brands. So, brands have got to consider how they communicate to them so that they can do that rather than the old-fashioned let’s just interrupt them for six weeks and then have a four-week rest and then interrupt them for another six weeks.

Women are saying, ‘no, I want to have a meaningful relationship and engagement with you’.

Darren:

I always like converting things to real life, like I say to people when they’re pitching for a business, ‘think of it as a first date—the chemistry session’, things like that.

But imagine if brands were like a relationship where they’re in your face for four weeks and then they disappear for six weeks (and there are men that do that).

Kylie:

Do you know what that does to a woman’s brain when she’s starting seeing a guy and he doesn’t talk to her for four weeks? We go crazy.

Darren:

I’ll call you but I didn’t say in six weeks’ time.

Lauren:

Though the brand would be appreciative of the Facebook stalking I’m sure.

Kylie:

But we rely on our friends. He said he’d call. Why hasn’t he called it’s been four weeks –what’s going on? So, brands can’t work that way. They’ve got to have an always on conversation with her.

Taking a Different Approach to Engage an Important Audience

Darren:

And that’s where brands especially really struggle because it means actually being responsive. It means always being in the conversation and being willing to engage on that level because for so long (we go back to the Mad Men era) it was all about a power play.

You could buy media and media would be blasting out messages that you paid for into the amorphous audience and the audience either bought or didn’t buy but they couldn’t say anything about it. There was no social media, there was no networking. There was no blogging, podcasting or any of these things to actually build a response to what was going on.

It was command and control, which was very what? What sort of behaviour is command and control?

Kylie:

Male.

Lauren:

Very masculine.

Darren:

Command and control; the traditional marketing paradigm is all about…

Kylie:

Command and control and now that’s blown itself out of the water because consumers have a voice. Technology has enabled that voice so we have to change a few things. We have to change our strategies.

Darren:

And especially because it’s a conversation and if you’re entering into a conversation there are two parts to a conversation. One is talking, which everyone jumps to do; the other one is listening.

And one of the things I’ve noticed is that organisations find it really hard to listen. They’re very quick to tell you exactly why you should choose us or do business with us.

Kylie:

And is that because they don’t really have the time to sit back and try to understand what it is you want and how you feel about a certain product, they’re just rush, rush, rushing and push, push, pushing?

Darren:

I think time is a convenient excuse. They certainly don’t feel that they have the resources, so the default is I’m going to go for mass. I’ll do a bit of research and get a particular view; my view of my particular audience, my customers and then I’m just going to bombard them.

Kylie:

Spray and pray.

Darren:

Spray and pray. I could hit 100,000 people with what my research has told me they want to hear but if I had to engage in 100,000 conversations?

Kylie:

Too hard.

Lauren:

I think there’s also a fear of missed opportunity when it comes to marketers. They’re very reactive because what if we don’t react to that and then it has a negative impact on our sales today or tomorrow.

I think that brands have become used to the immediacy that digital advertising allows them and want to respond in an immediate fashion, but then as a consequence, it means they’re not listening and actually finding what the real opportunity is underneath and then playing that out for the longer term.

Darren:

I think they respond but they respond in a mass.

Kylie:

That’s right.

Darren:

You see, I think the biggest mistake, all of these Mark Ritson and everyone going on about digital under-delivering I think it’s because they’re bring a traditional media/advertising paradigm/lens to digital and going, ‘wow, it’s all about hitting the numbers’.

Kylie:

Exactly.

Darren:

And in actual fact it’s called social media—I don’t know if anyone’s noticed that—it’s where they’re sharing ideas and thoughts and then someone comes in and pours a bucket of brand crap on top of it and then goes why didn’t that work?

Lauren:

When we think about the way men and women interpret marketing differently, females actually prefer a more passive mode of communication and a more passive message than the overt kind of sales pitch that you would see in a spots and dots advertising.

Darren:

That’s really interesting because I was in medical research, got into copywriting, and I was working for a retail agency in Melbourne called Y&R Mattingly, and they used to do the Myer bargain basement ‘take a look at the Myer bargain basement’ and it was David Mattingly who used to do the voiceover.

He stopped doing it because he was the head of the agency but we had a voiceover guy who would mimic his style and it was very much that hard sell and I said, ‘why can’t we use a female voiceover for this’ and they said, ‘oh, everyone knows the reason for this; research says women respond to a man’s voice more than they respond to a woman’s’ voice’.

So, you’re saying that there is actual evidence or proof that that’s not true?

Lauren:

Our research (not in terms of the male voice versus female voice) in terms of the overt versus passive sell tells us that they much prefer the passive messaging as opposed to the overt messaging. But there is a time and place for everything.

Catalogues are still an effective means of communication for the hard sell; product and price, product and price on every single page and you can look at that. It’s a contained experience; you know your expectations are managed. You know exactly what you’re getting but then when it comes to consuming content online, she’s got a minimal amount of time in her day.

So, she’s consuming something from a brand she’s going to want to see something that adds value to her life, whether that be useful, informative, funny, entertaining, whatever it may be. And so, for a brand to have a very overt sales message as part of that is kind of at odds with why she is consuming it.

Darren:

But men want information. They want something that’s entertaining, informative, educational, interesting—how is it different?

Lauren:

I think by nature women are much more multi-dimensional in the way they make decisions so they’re considering things that are happening three steps ahead, where as men are often looking for the solution right there and then.

Darren:

Absolutely. I just think about the way I shop and the way my wife shops. I’ll go in and get exactly what I want and leave.

Kylie:

We like the journey. We like to consider how this object will sit in our lives for at least the next 18 months and before buying it we’ll make sure whether the brand’s values are aligned with ours. And they’re three things that our research suggests men do not consider. It’s, ‘yep, that’s perfect for me today—doesn’t matter about brand values, doesn’t matter about the experience—I’ll take it today’.

Darren:

So for a man, it’s immediate functionality, quick solution and move on.

Lauren:

And of course, brand will play a role in terms of how it’s wrapped and does it appeal to me?

Darren:

We’re human beings; we’ve all got egos.

Kylie:

Exactly, men and women.

Lauren:

But does it solve my needs? Yes–o.k. I’ll buy it.

Darren:

So the main difference then of marketing to women is that you need to consider this more multi-dimensional or (God forbid) holistic approach to communication. So how then would the work that you guys do at Mamamia Women’s Network take that approach compared to say a traditional advertising campaign or approach? Is it significantly different or is it just the nuance of the way content is developed?

Kylie:

It’s the nuance of the way the content is developed. It’s where we put that content to make sure that it’s where she is right now. Branded content plays a larger role. So, with content it allows a brand to be the content; not interrupt it.

And all of our research tells us that women seek it out because it’s entertaining, because it’s informative, and it usually adds value. So, in every scenario we’re looking at how can we allow our brand to be the content and where shall we best place it?

She wants media on her own terms so she’s looking for SVOD, she’s looking for podcasts, she’s looking for mobile and for social so we will then tailor our solution around those platforms.

Branded Content and not Native Advertising

Darren:

I don’t know why they called it native advertising because you’re not talking about native advertising.

Kylie:

I do not like the term native advertising; I never have.

Darren:

Where did it come from because I get branded content? It’s actually content…

Kylie:

It was digital trying to be fancy. So, Graham what’s his name from the 70’s was doing branded content with live reads.

Darren:

Branded content goes back to Graham Kennedy and beyond that—you know the Lever Soap operas came from Lever brothers doing content.

Lauren:

Popeye was a character – spinach. I mean it was a happy coincidence but it had an enormous impact on the American spinach industry—it doubled in sales over a 12-month period when Popeye came out.

Darren:

And if I drank that much olive oil would I be that skinny? I’m really not sure why she was called Olive Oil.

Kylie:

It worked but we try not to call it native because when digital applied the disciplines of branded content onto their platforms they wanted to call it something new.

Darren:

Because I think the term native advertising actually sets up an expectation in a marketer’s mind that it’s going to be more like advertising than it is going to be about engaging content.

Kylie:

That’s interesting, yes.

Lauren:

Mmmm.

Darren:

Because the term advertising goes back to command and control. I get to put the messages I think are important in there and so native advertising is – I’ve got this space that looks like editorial, acts like editorial, smells like editorial except I get to ram the message I think is important.

Content is much more about what can I give in this experience and interaction with the person reading it, watching it, listening to it that they get value and they walk away feeling rewarded or enriched for participating.

Kylie:

And I think with the term native there is an assumption you are deceiving the consumer and marketers don’t like that, and a lot of publishers do that the wrong way. Branded content is simply branded content and offers so much value to women so that plays a big role in our solutions and our strategies.

Which is More Important, Channel or Content?

Darren:

And the other thing I’m interested in apart from the content itself it’s about delivering it into channels so of course content and channel work together but of the two do you think one dominates over the other?

Kylie:

There is no point in creating outstanding content if your target consumer doesn’t see it. There’s no point in being in her face if the content’s not compelling.

Darren:

I get that but I would argue that channel selection is more important than the content itself. I think that channel should always come first and this is the reason why: the hardest thing in the world is to work out where, when, and how the consumer is receptive to the content.

So, once I’ve solved that problem via channel first then I can customise my content to actually fit the needs of what the consumer is reading.

Kylie:

It sure is.

Darren:

Let’s say I create a piece of content like this podcast except that I find out they actually like reading. I’ve got a transcribe it. Is that going to be interesting? Or they actually like watching it on video—oh I’ll take the audio from this and put some pictures.

If we don’t understand how anyone (but from your point of view—women) want to consume this content, how it fits into their day to day life. How do they maximise the value that they squeeze out of every second then how are we ever going to be able to deliver the content in the way and the time that they’re receptive to it?

Kylie:

And that’s why I have always said that the consumer is the disruptor. Technology is the enabler. So, understand what the consumer is doing today and in five days’ time, get the technology to be able to deliver to her and you’re on your way to success.

So, we invest a lot of time and energy to research our women trying to understand what channel she likes. Podcast is a big play. I think there’s a limit to screen time. Women love content. There’s an insatiable appetite for content but there’s a limit to screen time because she’s busy.

So, she’s finding ways to engage with content providers when she’s cooking, when she’s in transit, and when she’s exercising—they’re the main three areas that we find.

Darren:

Yes, you can’t drive and look at a video. Well, you can but you’ll get hit with four points and a couple of hundred dollars.

Kylie:

$450 to be precise. And you can’t so you’re absolutely right; channel probably trumps content.

Lauren:

Darren, my career has been spent coming up though media agencies so I firmly believe in the importance of channel planning, but one of the things I’ve realised over the last few years in working much more closely with creative agencies in the space of branded content has been that too often agencies lay strategy upon strategy.

Ideally, whoever is leading the strategy comes up with the insight. This is the insight we’re going to leverage. There is a core platform or thought that everybody is working to and that then influences your channel selection as well as your creative direction and when you get that sweet spot that’s when a campaign is really successful.

Darren:

Absolutely. A whole strategy is important and the implementation like planning it has to be, from my perspective, channel first. But the reason it’s become such a big issue for me is that I still see people think about campaign development the other way around— ‘here’s the idea or here’s the content’.

Lauren:

Or here’s the TV ad.

Darren:

But it’s about the content. Even the TV ad is a piece of content. It’s advertising content but it’s content but then do we have the budget that any will see it? Or are you just going to run this once in regional television at 2.00am?

Kylie:

Or to realise that the audience doesn’t watch television anymore so what’s the point in creating that 30 second spot?

Darren:

So we can put it on YouTube and so they’ll all watch it.

Kylie:

That’s true.

Are Marketers Missing An Opportunity Here?

Darren:

Do you think the marketers are missing out at the moment because I’m not sure that marketers feel that there is a burning platform? They’re just hitting the audience in a demographic sense and leaving out that part of gender.

Lauren:

Yeah, I’m really interested in the numbers behind it and one of the things when I speak to marketers and you say to them, ‘what is it that keeps you up at night?’ One of the responses that commonly comes back is how do I do more with the same or less?

Budgets are declining or there’s greater scrutiny around what they’re spending and I guess you go for a few years optimising and optimising and you get to a point of diminishing returns.

I think there is a big opportunity around recalibrating that audience. Because we know that women make the lion’s share of the purchase decisions, and they hold more influence when it comes to making those purchase decisions, if you actually look at the split of your audience and then look at the weights they hold in making that decision, you can unlock a more powerful or potent consumer in the woman.

So, if I give an example it might be easiest. If we take the automotive category for instance and we’re targeting professionals, we know that 37% of professionals are women but women make 79% of purchase decisions in the automotive category. So, when you do the calculations if you target your advertising towards the women despite them only accounting for a third of your audience you’ll get twice as many decision makers so it makes the female audience 2.2 times more powerful than men.

Darren:

So that’s how the numbers stack up. Apart from automotive, I’m sure that that trend carries across so many categories.

Kylie:

It’s about wastage.

Darren:

I wonder is there a fear that by focusing on women we’re going to alienate men because I see so many ads that are flagged on social media because they make men look stupid. Oh, the only way to empower women is to make the men look stupid.

If they put some rules around it–it became so prevalent in the last few years that they started saying, ‘well we’re not going to do that, anymore are we?’

Lauren:

This isn’t about man-bashing. Earlier in our discussion you said it’s much bigger than painting things pink or just putting women in the ads themselves. It’s about tailoring the conversation so that it appeals to the most influential audience. The example that has really touched me recently has been how Unilever’s brands Lynx and Axe have repositioned themselves.

They’ve been famous for using the pinup girl in their ads for many years.

Darren:

Sexual gratification. Use our product and you’ll get laid even if you’re a geek, works for a teenage boy.

Lauren:

Exactly, 15-year old boys. The thing is that’s the end user of their product but the majority of people who actually go and pay for that product at the counter are the mums.

Kylie:

Not the teenage boy that wants to get laid.

Darren:

Because he’s a teenage boy. He smells really bad. If I buy him something he’ll at least like using maybe he won’t stink so much.

Lauren:

Yes, there’s a branding exercise happening there: making an appeal to a teenage boy.

Darren:

But you’re alienating your prime buyer.

Kylie:

So they shifted their strategy based on that.

I can assure you in Australia today (because I’ve seen it) marketers will brief us and I’m sure others on a female only campaign and at the last minute they get cold feet and they say, ‘we’re just concerned we’re going to alienate our male consumer so we’re going to go with a people demographic’.

Darren:

That’s so bizarre.

Kylie:

It does happen. There’s a bit of work to be done on that.

The Importance of Diversity In Communications Planning

Darren:

From my perspective seeing marketers select agencies and even marketers that have products that are absolutely 100% female targeted, they never think about or articulate or even as part of the briefing say we really want an agency that understands women and even if they do, all the blokes turn up to the meeting and they don’t even ask the question about how can you even communicate with women if you’re all blokes?

It’s a sausage festival.

Lauren:

You’ve nailed it there. It is a real challenge in the industry. You want to have diversity of thought, but you want to have that female lens, but no amount of just desktop research is going to give you that lens without you having been in those shoes yourself.

So, if you don’t have a diverse group of people looking at solving the problem then you’re simply going to get something from a cookie coloured lens I suppose.

Darren:

Well, diversity is absolutely core to creativity. It’s really interesting that all of the studies into creativity show that the more diverse the base of the experience the more likely you are to be creative.

We started this by me saying just walking here and the energy but this is a big organisation with lots and lots of women. Where’s the diversity come?

Kylie:

We have a gender diversity problem: we don’t have enough men. Isn’t that ironic.

Darren:

Well, there’s more to diversity than just gender but you’ve got a gender diversity problem.

Kylie:

We have a gender diversity problem. We have 15% men. We want more, but we are not going to hire just because they have a penis. We’ll hire because it’s the right person for the job.

But we work hard on having in-house age groups from 17/18 to 55. Our head of marketing lives in Orange, you live in Terrigal on the Central Coast so we get diversity through geography and it’s very important when we’re at the boardroom table to have different views and different aspects and we’re working hard on that.

Darren:

But the rest of the industry has to catch up, don’t they?

Kylie:

And the rest of the industry has to catch up.

Darren:

You worked in media for a long time…

Kylie:

Surry Hills, white, privileged.

Darren:

Or Bondi.

Kylie:

The English are down at Bondi.

Darren:

Along the coast there. And I think it’s a real problem. And I think it’s something that the industry seems to pay lip service to changing, but I’m not seeing a lot of change.

Kylie:

I’ve had conversations with CEOs of media agencies who are doing their darnedest to change it so, it’s on some of their radars. And it needs to be on everyone’s radar as it is on ours because you’re absolutely right; you will only come up with the same solution and strategy if you’re all from the same place and that’s what’s happening today.

Lauren:

And the suggestion would be that if you were happy with an agency that was predominately male but they’re coming up with creative work that you feel is representing the brand well but you’re conscious that the brand needs a female lens then bring females to the table.

If they don’t exist in that agency insist that they sit at the table. Get them from elsewhere. Bring them out of your marketing team and ensure that they have a deeper role to play in the creation of that work because then you’re going to get that perspective.

But you can’t just keep asking other workplaces to change overnight. You’ve got to be the change yourself.

Darren:

But a lot of senior creatives (who surprisingly or not are all male) will say ‘well I understand how to communicate with women’. Do they?

Lauren:

As I said before I think you could look at all the research in the world but you don’t truly understand somebody else’s perspective until you’ve stood in their shoes unless you are that person.

So that’s why it’s so important to have the person at the table who can share that experience.

Darren:

It’s like that film, ‘What women want’ with Mel Gibson where he could actually read women’s minds and it almost drove him crazy. It was beautifully sexist while trying to be enlightened.

Kylie:

Meschel Laurie tells a great story where she was at one of the radio stations as a 31-year-old woman, and she’d be at the boardroom table with all of these men, and the men would be telling her what it’s like to be a 35-year-old woman and coming up with solutions for what it’s like to be a 35-year-old woman. And she’s like ‘I am one—I can actually tell you what it’s like. Can I please talk?’

So, it’s just extraordinary how they assume they knew. But there was someone sitting there and they didn’t even ask her ‘what is it like?’

Darren:

It is interesting because I think the industry is changing a little bit but not in necessarily the right places. A lot of marketing decision makers are women and they are increasingly well represented there, which is great but then there are other pockets.

The trouble with media agencies is that they’ve flattened the structure that those few at the top are almost always men and then there’s lots and lots of young women and men in this bottom bit and they just don’t get those opportunities to fulfil the few at the top.

Am I advocating actively promoting people? No, but I am saying we have got to be conscious of it and start doing thing a bit differently.

Kylie:

Those that are, are benefitting, there is no doubt about it.

Unconscious Gender Bias and the Importance of Authenticity

Lauren:

There is a 35% male bias in the media marketing advertising industry and I think it’s about rectifying that bias and ensuring there is representation at the table to give you that female lens.

Darren:

I read a great piece about gender bias. It was about selecting musicians for a symphony orchestra and they said, ‘no we’re not going to select on gender and went through and did it deliberately not selecting on gender and they still chose 70% men and 30% women.

Someone came in and studied what they did and it’s because the person came out and stood on stage and performed with the selectors looking at them. What they did was to get them to play behind a screen and it ended up much closer to 50/50 because it wasn’t about the performance; it was about the unconscious bias that occurs as soon as you see a person of a particular gender or a particular look.

Beyond gender there’s all sorts of bias that just gets reinforced so how do you overcome that and work the other way?

Lauren:

I read the same thing and they’d advised the women to take their shoes off so that the heels didn’t make a noise on the floor. So, that’s the main thing; take your heels off.

Kylie:

But you have to be really conscious of the unconscious bias to get around it. And as a leadership team to constantly remind your teams that it exists.

Darren:

That’s created one more question about authenticity. People talk about authenticity but have you found that this is particularly important when communicating with women? Do they have a better radar?

Lauren:

Absolutely. We find that with branded content we will often change the headlines out to test which ones are going to perform better on the site. If we are talking about a product that is really good and useful and so has been written about in the genuine way that will perform a lot better with a headline that is quite overt.

The content itself is still very natural and engaging but the headline might be tried and tested and then the name of the product versus a headline that a is a little bit more, dare I say it, ‘native’ in persuasion and we haven’t changed the content of the article itself but women know that if a particular writer has written the piece and it’s coming from Mamamia that that will be authentic in its recommendation.

Darren:

There’s a level of trust.

Lauren:

Absolutely.

Kylie:

Authenticity took over from aspirational a couple of years back and whenever we ask our women what are the qualities of influence they will say first and foremost, authenticity followed by credibility, followed by relevance and independence. So, it’s big on our radar and goes back to women saying, ‘I will only buy brands that align with my values because I want them to stand for something and if they don’t there are other options.’

Darren:

And also how it reflects on them not in an aspirational way but in an authentic way.

Lauren:

Correct.

Darren:

I bought this because these are the values that are true to me.

Kylie:

And I’m going to tell five friends about that product and so it better represent something that aligns with me otherwise there is a disconnect.

Lauren:

And frankly, if you are inauthentic you’re going to get called out.

Darren:

Well, you’d hope so except it doesn’t seem to happen as often. I think it happens on a sub-conscious level rather than actually being called out. The only people that seem to call each other out in Australia are the media and that’s when they’re pointing fingers at each other but that’s for another podcast.

Thank you for inviting me over. It’s been terrific catching up.

Lauren:

Thanks Darren.

Kylie:

We’ve loved having you. See you soon.

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About Darren Woolley

Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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