Women Are Needed in Marketing to Women, You Think?

July 31, 2009 Katja Presnal


In the past few weeks I have heard several times that I should write about PR and social media marketing. And while I started a blog just for that purpose a year ago, I just haven’t felt like updating it. It really isn’t a fit for this blog, but since so many people have asked me to do it – I am asking you; would you like me to write about it?

I’ve felt that this is my spot where I share my lifestyle and show how I personally walk the walk with social media marketing.
Let me explain before you get all upset that I “market products to my readers”.

We all as consumers want to know about new products, and want to make the right decisions. Frankly, TV advertising doesn’t do the thing for many of us anymore, we can especially thank TiVo for that. If you are like me, you still want to know about new products, sales, deals and exciting product info, but not just from anyone.


I often say an example that when I am in the market of buying a new car, I don’t trust what Brooke Shields is saying about Volkswagen, I just don’t relate to her. I trust more what Ciaran, Colleen or Beth are saying about cars. People ask me what I have against Brooke Shields. Nothing, in fact I adore her, and I adore Volkswagens even more, we’ve owned three of them, and even currently have VW Jetta ’09 (for hubby, I drive Volvo V70). The celebrity endorsement is spot on for my “target market”, and that’s why it probably is one of the car advertising campaigns I remember, because I like both Brooke Shields and Volkswagen. But I still trust more what Ciaran, Colleen or Beth, and other moms like me say about the car. I relate to real moms, and I trust that they tell me the truth.

So.. when I am contacted by a company about their product – I feel that I am doing you a favor when I tell you about a kick booty product, great campaign someone is running, or sometimes just a funny commercial that makes us laugh. And if I feel that I am not doing you a favor, well, I just don’t post it. Why would I???

I want to inspire you to live life to the fullest, and yes, going to places, buying cool stuff or eating good food is part of it. Often the PR people contacting me are actually doing both of us the favor by telling me this stuff! Most of the brands that I love the most have never contacted me (never been in contact with any Volvo, Apple, Starbucks, IKEA, DeLonghi, Bose, Prada eyewear nor Stokke PR people, but give my recommendation for one or more of these brands on weekly basis). It really doesn’t matter where and how I get my information I share with you; I am just trying to help you to enjoy your life and sharing my own lifestyle with you.

The thing is that bloggers should realize – the product recommendations are valid only when the are genuine and if you are not genuine, you will eventually ruin your reputation. Haven’t you read the story of Boy Who Cried Wolf? Read that again, and then live by what you learned in your blog.

I just recently had a short discussion with a friend of mine how it is still men who do marketing campaigns targeting women, and it instantly reminded me of movie What Women Want and Mel Gibson shaving his legs. While we think Mel Gibson in pantyhose or shaving his legs is funny, the fact is that there are many men marketers right now trying on and testing women’s products so they could better market them for women. Why not just have Real Women helping you with the campaign, and better yet – being part of it? Marketers would know what women want, and the marketing message would be delivered to women the way they want to hear it. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Oh well, I could go on and on about the subject, but the question is – do you want me to keep on going?

Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comments (18)

  1. Katja-

    Just read your post just now and wanted to thank you for mentioning me! I have to say when it comes to cars I am brutally honest. And I am a Volkswagen driver through and through but would never purchase that Brooke Shields boat – I love my Tiguan though and it’s snazzy sun roof. I agree whole heartedly with you that women are the heart of major purchases – we know what we like, we know what are kids like and what our spouses like too…so it makes sense to ask our honest opinions so you can tweak your campaign and reach your target demographic.
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..In Jennie’s Kitchen =-.

  2. What an awesome post! I cannot tell you (or maybe I did) the countless times in my former ad agency life I’ve sat around in a room full of men coming up with ideas on how to market to women…and sometimes it doesn’t even dawn on them, that besides focus group data, maybe they should include the women that work at the agency in the brainstorming process….it’s an uphill battle for sure. Instead of a blog, I’ve been tweeting about marketing at @BrandEnchanting as I’m spread way to thin to even think of starting another blog! lol…thanks for the post!

    Nichelle
    .-= Nichelle´s last blog ..Fall Fashion Creativity with Lloyd Boston at Jones New York =-.

  3. Although not a marketer or a blogger who does anything for money, I’m loving these conversations. I agree that I do trust my bloggy friends more than a tv advertisement, and I will continue to trust them until they break that trust.

    That being said, I still think it is possible for a regular reader to siphon out the paid from the unpaid. I do however have more respect for bloggers who are transparent about things. I think if we have transparency, it will allow readers to be better informed and therefore more likely to trust.

    -Abby
    .-= @sweetbabboo´s last blog ..Grr… =-.

  4. This is true. Reliable sources and endorsers are better than any sugar-coated, honey-dipped narration of quote and quote spokesperson no matter how popular they are. I, too, check reviews from real people who has tried the product or service firsthand before buying it. Their raw honesty and transparency is what helps me decide and this is what I try to do with my reviews. If there’s anything I want to maintain, it would be my integrity and the continuous trust of my readers.

    And yes, I agree that because women are the incurable “shoppers”, it is not surprising that they are the top targets for marketers. Now the question is, are we going to give an honest opinion on these products when asked to recommend them?

  5. I’m pretty aligned with marketing mommy here – I LOVE bloggers who give me honest product recommendations! I love the one who just adore something so much they can’t race to share it with me. I think the best blogs that make recommendations do just that.

    But then I wonder, if the blogger is being compensated by that advertiser to write that review, how is it any different than Brooke Shields, really? It’s kind of the same, right? Even Brooke really, really does love Volkswaagen.

    Which she probably does.
    .-= Mom101´s last blog ..In which I introduce you to lesser known BlogHers and lesser known fruits. =-.

  6. Thanks for bringing this subject up Katja. I am right there with you on marketing to women with people we can identify with. I think advertisers are just silly if they think that we sit there telling ourselves that if Brooke Shields (or any other high profile celebrity) endorses a product it means we will be high profile and just like her if we buy it.

    Here’s another thought: why do plus size clothing catalogs put size 2 women in their clothes to advertise? It’s so misleading. That is not what that pair of spandex pants and midriff top will look like on someone like me. Be honest and be real. By putting small sized women in plus sized clothes it is insulting to the average size woman (which is crazy that a size 14-16 is considered plus size)..it’s like saying we know you’re fat and are embarrassed of how this will really look on you, so we are going to put a skinny chick in this swimsuit to spare you the shame.

    Women need more women in marketing, for sure, and if a blogger like you or any one of us can bring that reality to the marketplace then I say…YES!
    .-= Coree Silvera´s last blog ..Michele Miller Interview – Author and Marketing Wonder Woman of Wonder Branding =-.

  7. Katja,

    I agree with you–I trust real women more than paid spokeswomen. It’s the same thing in magazines–do the editors really like that new vibrating mascara or are they saying they do just because a company gave it to them free? That’s why I always read real reviews of a product before buying it on sites like Amazon, BabyCenter and Sephora.

    I’m constantly contacted about reviewing products on my blog and honestly, I turn most of them down because they’re not what my readers want or it’s something that I just wouldn’t use in real life or in business. My readers have asked me to keep my blog “just business, please” and I try to respect that. I could sprinkle it with these random product reviews but that wouldn’t be “keeping it business, keeping it real” for me.

    I totally want you to be real and I’d love to hear more about it from you.

    Heather
    .-= Heather Allard´s last blog ..The Mogul Mom Features…Holly Thaggard of Supergoop! =-.

  8. PartyPlanningProfessor

    The answer is simple. Katja, you are real and this blog is about your lifestyle. I don’t see anything wrong there with that! Your views are pretty amazing. We want(Well I want) you to be real and that means if you have something to say about a topic then I am all ears. I watch ladybug landings and am always up to hear what u say no matter where.
    .-= PartyPlanningProfessor´s last blog ..Birthday Party Ideas =-.

  9. I would love to hear more about this and I totally feel the same way. I will even contact companies that have a product I would like to review that I feel would be beneficial to my readers and clients. In my niche I couldn’t possibly buy every product before I try it so I surely hope my readers don’t think less of me when it is given to me. They are only getting my honest opinion. Sometimes I will test different brands of the same item and run the review of the one that really does what it says it does. Of course the company with the less than favorable review would rather me not post it and I oblige. I am not out there to product bash either but I want to find quality products to recommend.
    Thank you for this timely post!
    .-= Tanna´s last blog ..Easy Cover To Hide Wire Shelving =-.

  10. Great post, Katja! I completely agree; social media has changed marketing forever, where just about anyone can become a brand ambassador. Authenticity and transparency is key, and the impact of word-of-mouth can’t be ignored in this new reputation economy. Especially in the parenting space, exchange of knowledge and tips is key to discovery of ways to do things, as well as a way to keep connected to the rest of the parent community. Bravo!

  11. I agree that I love the personal stamp that the blogger give to the products. We are real people (not that the TV personalities aren’t) but without fancy cameras filming us…just our little personal flip or hand held cameras – so I know that I can relate to that person much better than some glam person on TV.
    I would much rather see a mom of 4 or 5 do a video and review a car and really see what it is about…instead of a fancy commercial where they show glamor shots of it driving in a busy city and do not show the ins and outs of it that us “moms” really want to see.
    I will be ready when ever Ikea or Container Store want reviews or room make overs!! They can bring it on to this Blogger!! LOL (But I am with you and I can talk about them…and have…. without any prompting.)
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Tall Bloggers at Blogher! =-.

  12. Thanks for the shout out Katya. I find the topic riveting but then I don’t think that Social Media is just about selling products. I think we exist in an age of social change and the anthropology/psychology geek in me is endlessly fascinated by this discussion. What I find most interesting from a marketing standpoint is that in many ways Social Media and blog reviews are a big step backwards for marketing. It harkens back to ye olde testimonials and the days when people stood up in front of a crowd in a tent, proclaiming their ailments cured. I think also, that this is perhaps why women who blog and review products are met with suspicion. The term “snake oil salesman” comes to mind. It’s embedded in our cultural consciousness as something we need to be wary of. It puts a heavy burden on bloggers and reviewers to act ethically and responsibly and also the certainty that even if they do, there will be mud slung most likely.

    Incidentally – I drove the Volvo SC60 yesterday with gorgeous wood panelling on the interior. I REALLY liked it! I was test driving cars for my blog, but also shopping for myself. Which I will write about and I hope, ultimately, is something others can relate to.
    .-= Ciaran/Momfluential´s last blog ..No Room for Competitors on the Social Media Brandwagon? =-.

  13. Most marketers would agree that positive word-of-mouth from a trusted friend is more compelling than any TV spot, in-store sign or celebrity endorsement.

    What worries me, after BlogHer, is that too many bloggers, in a race to make money or keep the blogola rolling in, are forgetting about the “trusted friend” part.

    If your good word can be sold to the highest bidder (or be bought for free diaper bag), who is going to look to you for recommendations?
    .-= Marketing Mommy´s last blog ..It pays to tweet (the squeaky wheel gets the grease) =-.

  14. Yes, Katja, I couldn’t agree more. And as a female who works in the advertising industry, I work daily to convince my clients of the same. From a marketer’s perspective though, they risk lack of control. Control over their message — and that is a hurdle that takes time to get over.
    .-= Sarah Jo´s last blog ..Finding the Perfect Mommy Hands =-.

  15. Interesting post Katja. I just stumbled it because I think this is an important discussion to have.

    I think your approach makes sense. For me personally, the approach that I take is that I will review products that are a fit with the subject matter/audience of my blog. But, I let the companies know in advance that my format for reviews includes writing about both what I like and what I don’t like about the product and that I do not guarantee a positive review. I think it is important for my readers to learn about the bad stuff as well as the good. If a company isn’t confident about their product, they had better not send it to me!
    .-= Annie @ PhD in Parenting´s last blog ..It takes a village to raise a child =-.

  16. Thanks for that post. I’ve actually written a blog post on our site (the only person in our company who is trying to understand women marketers/bloggers) and you’re right, I don’t try to market to women now, without asking my women marketing friends first. It just makes sense that women know what women want, and vice versa. I’ll ask my wife questions about marketing that my boss wouldn’t know the answer to. So I agree 100% with you.
    .-= Adam´s last blog ..Hashing Out the Pros and Cons of the Microsoft-Yahoo Merger =-.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *