Marketers may think there's nothing wrong with an all-male marketing team working on campaigns and programs aimed at women, especially if focus groups and research efforts include representatives of this segment of 50.8 percent of the U.S. population with trillions of dollars of buying power. However, more female marketers are coming forward to say that's a bad idea. In the best-case scenario, women may portray themselves to marketers in an idealized manner that perpetuates stereotypes. In a worst-case scenario, some deeper problems can emerge.
In the case of the former situation, Katherine Wintsch—founder and CEO of the Mom Complex—says women who are mothers "have a long-standing tendency of portraying themselves in a romanticized manner—raving about their obedient children, helpful husbands and spotless homes."
In the article she wrote on Feb. 13 for the Wall Street Journal, she asks, "Marketing To Moms, Why Is The Bar Set So Low?" She proposes three steps marketers can take to raise the bar. A fourth comes from a former mobile tech firm worker:
1. Take the Velvet Gloves Off. Stop treating mothers as saints, she writes. Their lives can be messy, frantic and filled with uncertainty. "Take a page from Old Spice's book and realize that owning a provocative insight (moms don't want their boys to become men) can help open the aperture to more provocative executions," Wintsch says.
2. Don't Let Moms Posture. "Stop putting moms in focus groups and start treating them like co-brand managers before advertising is ever developed," she writes.
3. Drop the Formula. "Let's have … digital platforms that actually help create an easier life, not just depict it," Wintsch writes.
4. Hire Women. A consumer packaged goods manufacturer might've sent out an app aimed at moms that would've required both hands to operate, but she mentioned to the mobile tech firm app creators when she worked for that company that mothers rarely have both hands free, writes Kayla Green, the director of digital strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, in a Feb. 25 article in CampaignLive.com