It is true that the differences between men and women extend beyond common gender stereotypes. Yes, men communicate, think, and respond differently than their female counterparts. However, our understanding of how these differences influence their shopping behaviors has been largely based on assumptions and not real research and insight! A troubling insight in itself!
As marketers, we have played a key role in not only adopting but also perpetuating these ideals, levying the ubiquitous nature of gender disparities as the punch line in campaign after campaign. However, we live in a world of constant change. Much like the impact mobile technology has had on general shopping behavior, cultural and socioeconomic changes have significantly shifted the dynamics governing today’s households, reframing the role of men in the household to create a new type of modern family.
Last year, our team sought to challenge the assumptions that have governed how we market to men by identifying the factors that drive how men shop. The idea of men being largely inactive in the day-to-day operations of their household and child rearing is no longer relevant or even accurate. Whether by choice or obligation, men are doing more shopping than they have in the past. They are empowered by technology and a growing recognition of the contributions they make. More importantly, unlike women, men often shop in a less passive context, engaging in less “window shopping” and more buying across all major retail categories.
So what does this mean for brands and retailers? Connecting with Mansumers mean creating parallel conversations that are timely and relevant to their needs.
1. Start talking to him…directly
Yes, it’s true that the presence and opinion of a spouse or significant other greatly influences the purchase decisions of men, however converting their influence to an actual sale means maintaining men as a vital part of the targeting and messaging strategy.
2. Embrace his need for simplicity
Simple is not always a bad thing. Shopping is need-based for most men. The process should be simple and direct. From research, to in-store engagement, to purchase, streamlining the shopping experience is the key to winning this audience.
3. End the notion of the befuddled dad
We have to begin this journey by putting to rest the stigma of the clueless and ignorant father figure. Messaging to men of any background means building a rapport that speaks to their value system and leaves the silly images on the cutting room floor.