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.
A generation ago, Old Milwaukee virtually ensured no women would buy its beer. The Pabst Brewing label's ads from the '90s featured the "Swedish Bikini Team" coming to the rescue of fishing buddies and other outdoorsmen. Now, marketers seem to be more concerned about catering to the interests of the buying segment that makes up 50.8 percent of the U.S. population. Still, says Kayla Green—the director of digital strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles—the mobile technology firm she worked for a few years ago almost sent out a consumer packaged goods app targeted at American moms that would've required both hands to operate. Almost did—until she, one of four women at the firm, said something about how moms rarely have both hands free. It's this kind of insight that can benefit a lot of mobile marketing efforts, because right now mobile marketers are mainly men, she says. And it's why she wrote "Mobile Marketing's Gender Gap," an article that appeared Feb. 25 in CampaignLive.com.