Ian Fleming once famously said that women “should be an illusion.” He had it about right. In the marketplace, women nearly are. More like mirages than matter. There they wait, out there, in the distance, unobtainable, and shimmering all the while. Women are the cool, crisp pool of new prospective consumers. Oh the giddiness we feel at all the possibilities. But try as we might, neither the words we speak, the speed in which we speak them, or even a sturdy piece of Velcro, can attach them to our media message.
So you restyle.
You add posh elegance and alienate the girl-next-door, you add maternal tones and tune out the career woman, you tie on pink ribbons and are ignored by all the girls who loathe pink.
Whatever move you make creates an equally unproductive countermove. Like Newton’s law of motion with cute shoes.
The female customer or congregant should come with a master key, an algebraic equation, or a set of stereo instructions that – simply and without opining – make their motivations easier to understand.
How about a new language?
That’s what Michele Miller has discovered. In her book, “Unzipped: a portable guide to the anatomy of the female customer”, Miller says women are – wait for it – different. If you’ve ever been in doubt, doubt no longer.
That means obtaining, maintaining, and containing their attention takes speaking their language. And the translation comes in two easy to remember key phrases.
- Sources of Energy
- Time Horizons.
Master these dialects of the female language and they may not notice you’re a tourist.
Women are motivated externally, except for those motivated internally. If this confuses you, then you are most likely a male. Miller says women get their charge, their energy, their mojo, if you will, from either external sources, i.e. other people, or internal sources, i.e. their own thoughts and feelings.
To turn the head of the external girl, think people. She wants connection and feedback and social interaction. That could be as simple an achievement as making sure your phone number is visible and prominent on your website. Before she commits, she’ll want to connect.
On the other end of the spectrum, the internal woman wants information. Most likely, she won’t reach out. She won’t ask questions. Instead, she’ll read every shred of info you post on your website, on your brochure, on your advertising, and on your mailers. Make them available. Give her details and then give her time.
A woman is timeless. How she views the world, however, is not. Her lens, Miller explains, has a time connection. She makes decisions based on whether she lives life “in the moment” or lives life to “leave a legacy”. And that makes her – you got it – different. “In the moment” girl thinks about the “now”. Carpe Diem, baby. She wants immediate results, immediate life. Living is happening now and that’s where she resides. Later isn’t her style. If you want her to join or buy or participate, show her what she gets instantly: spiritual strength, emotional freedom, a t-shirt.
Miller gives an ad example:
Skechers – “Shape Ups”
Now you can get in shape without setting foot in the gym! Workout while you walk! New from Skechers…it’s Shape-ups, the newest in exercise equipment. Wear your Shape-ups everywhere and anywhere and your body will feel the difference immediately. Skecher Shape-ups are designed to strengthen back, abdomen, buttock and calf muscles, improving your circulation and reducing the impact on your joints and lower back. Today’s new walking shoes – finally you can get in shape! Skecher’s Shape-ups – your first step toward a healthier you!
For the “leave a legacy” woman, Miller says she views the world as bigger than herself, even bigger than her time. She wants longevity. What will she leave her children, her church, how will she benefit the world, the community, these are her motivations. Reaching her means showing the big picture. You could get her to plant a sapling now, but only if she knows her grandchildren will be climbing the branches later.
Here is Miller’s example:
Lincoln Financial Group – “Hello Future”
Will you spend your retirement in a comfy chair, watching the world go by? Or will you be out there, with your sleeves rolled up, changing the very shape of it? Saying, “Hello Future.” Call your advisor about the powerful resources of Lincoln Financial Group.
Don’t mix the messages, Miller warns. Speaking the time horizon language means separate ads, separate messages, or, in the case of website copy or mailers or brochures, separate paragraphs.
Otherwise, you confuse them both.
Keep it separate, however, and you speak to them both.
Ian Fleming must have known something about women. He created James Bond. A scoundrel, for sure. But never a lonely one. Fleming once said, “A woman can put up with almost anything; anything but indifference.”
Notice what makes her unique, speak to that uniqueness, acknowledge that uniqueness, and she’ll respond to your message, your request, or your invite to battle villains with apocalyptic plans.