Think Beyond Pink and Lovely-Marketing to Women

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on March 19, 2013

The Article written by Akanksha Garg from IIFT Kolkata is the First Prize winner of the Feb 2013 Article Writing Contest.

She glides like a feather

Putting everything in order

Be it home or office

She nourishes, care and get all together

She is the superwoman in action

An epitome of perfection

Today’s woman plays power role in all the spheres of life. Be it home or office, she is balancing her life and family in the best way. Though home decisions have always been the domain of woman but with the advent of her power avatar in professional life too, her say in purchasing decisions has increased many folds.

Pink and Lovely

Feminine pink dainty figure with flower in her hair and autumn wind caressing the tresses, walking in the yellow fields with the sweetest of fragrance emanating – That is how the companies have always perceived the ideal woman. In front of whom they have laid their numerous products spoiling them for choice. This perception is clearly evident in how companies have designed their products .As when you think of women, color pink automatically pops out by default refusing to divulge easily and this same color recall has been exploited by various companies like Dell .It has come out with a pink model targeting girls at teenage – the age when all they want is in color pink! Color may not be a major issue in any other segment’s purchase but in this segment it surely made a difference. But the obsession of pink for women does not end up here only. Rockstar energy drink has launched a new variety Rockstar PINK which is targeted towards women .It comes with a straw so that lipstick don’t get smeared off and with a claim of ‘Zero sugar, zero carbs’. But sometimes such obsession gets overboard in company’s mind. For instance, launching a pink tool kit serves no additional purpose. Being women is not just seeing the world in pink glasses. It represents the faster growing segment in the market which has high aspirations and willingness to spend more on less utility high aspirational value. Fashion statement has just spread its arms wider.

The change in social aspects has changed the way companies have perceived this new segment and gauged its capability to leverage them. This is in sync with the emerging feminist trends. Now the woman of today has come out of her pink silken cocoon to venture in the market set for technological advanced people. Such women have inspired Taiwanese mobile phone company HTC to launch a new model HTC Rhyme targeted towards women.

Though it has kept mum on being women phone but its plum colored satin finish body along with ‘charm’ call indicator has given away its secret. OfficeMax, one of largest American office supplies company redesigned its notebooks and file holders to attract the female customers. Women is now also gliding on the path less travelled of online games which once was considered male centric activity .According to the Entertainment Service Association, 47% of gamers in 2012 were women and there are more adult women playing games then boys 17 and younger.

Another thing which was conventionally male dominated and has now tasted the feminine flavor is the car segment .Toyota has launched new model as Honda Fit She’s. It is designed especially for women -fact that is quite evident with its pretty pink color and features such as windshield which blocks skin – wrinkling ultraviolet rays. Even Porsche, car brand known for its masculine image, in its desperate attempt to cater to female, had launched sports utility vehicle for women. This though tarnished brand but to get whipped out in recession was not an option either.

Especially at the time of recession, companies in the wake of finding new customer segments turned its attention to this pink brigade to boost their sales. This segment talks number when it is quantified in terms of population and tendency to spend.In 2009, U.S. women represented a growth market more than twice the size of China and India combined. According to them, they control 70% of the total consumer spending. This claim should be seen in the light of women being the target customer for products ranging from home care, personal care to even baby and kids products. Though not always she is the consumer but would be the one who dons the responsibility of buying such products.

In this age of predominating services industry, services are not only being customized but also designed for women. The love for shopping and an inherent habit of women to pay bills within time , has lured credit card companies to divulge credit card specially for women , with varied discounts on many utility stores. Visa Ladies First Credit card and HDFC Women’s gold credit card are the ones which tapped this segment. Also , few years back, in order to safeguard women Gurgoan police has launched pink auto service that was exclusive for women. Extra safety measures and compliance to only ferry women are being strictly monitored since then.

Not only products, but also how they are advertised seem to be changing. Information from Facebook regarding relationship status of women changing to engagement is being used to display customized ads about weight loss and wedding planners/photographers.Also, there have been proposals in Japan in 2010 about piloting billboards that would gauge passer-by’s gender and approximate age such that appropriate ads can be displayed. This clearly shows the difference in perceiving ads and products differently by different gender. Also the shopping behavior is varied among gender, women buy goods targeted for both the genders whereas men usually do not buy products targeted towards women.

New age women do not intend to be just considered fairer gender and treated too timidly with the pinky lacy products .Instead the voice of equality is raising its head up and need to be listened. For instance floral kiss laptop featuring a flip latch which can easily open the display even with long nails and body daintily adorned with golden and pearl finish, does not serve much purpose. Instead padding up with useful features may seem a rational decision if women segment is being targeted at but merely painting it pink for the sake looks lame attempt to woo this powerful segment. Complex the women are , complex are their needs and lot difficult to understand and cater. This challenge still remains for the companies and the budding entrepreneurs to tap the unstated needs and surprise them with something new and not same old thing tied in pink ribbon.

This article has been authored by Akanksha Garg from IIFT Kolkata.

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