Marketing with several markets in mind

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I was reading an article the other week that gave advice on designing websites for women. It claimed that a pink, pretty site with lots of images and obvious calls to actions were what was required to keep women amused online. I found the article quite condescending, I’m female and have never been into anything girlie and pink and kind of resent the stereotype (and hate even more that it was written by a woman).

I also remember reading a similar article (in the same magazine) a few years previously, that went so far as suggesting that a unisex website should have two faces to it, one for the women and one for the men. Imagine if your gender determined what skin your Facebook profile had or when us ladies logged onto the BBC site we we forced to view it through a pink, easy to read and girlie site to aid you us in reading the latest headlines. Surely there’d be an outcry at this stereotyping but that’s exactly what this article was suggesting. Pah!

But I digress, my point isn’t to whinge about the article as it was apparently based on a lot of research and I’m not going to argue with it…so, I’ll wheest for now and get on with the point of this post 😉

We all know that with any design, marketing or branding process, researching and knowing your target market is the most important part. Knowing what you’re selling and who you would like to sell to is one thing, really knowing your target market and getting into their shoes in order to appeal to them is another.

Case Study : Coke Zero

So what is Coke Zero? Is it an incredibly different version of Coke, maybe like Cherry Coke but slightly less ‘icky? Or could it be pretty much Diet Coke re-packaged and aimed at non-diet drink buying young men?

Coke found that young men associated the word ‘diet’ with women and were less inclined to purchase a drink that used the word in it’s packaging. By rewording to Zero and creating young action style adverts (in keeping with James Bond), Coke began to market this ‘new’ drink specifically at young men.

Much in the same way they created the Diet Coke, office adverts (where the female workes ogled the workmen), Coke identified their targed market and ran with it. Were they right to segregate it in this way though? Maybe it’s not just men that hate the word diet, no woman I know likes to admit to being on a diet and out of the two advert styles, I’d be far more inclined to choose Zero myself.

How far would you go with your branding if you are selling a unisex product? Do you think branding and marketing is as ‘black and white’ as blue for the boys and pink for the girls?

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