Father’s Day was celebrated this weekend, and as I watched the digital sphere light up with all kinds of advertising to celebrate Father’s day, I cannot deny the polarity of how similar things have stayed but also how different things have become.
In the beginning of my career, I worked at one of the biggest advertising agencies in the world, out of their offices in Dubai, and one of the clients my team handled had products targeted to men.
This was in the beginning of the 2000’s where most of the marketing and PR strategy for products designed to target men didn’t pivot much from the ones we saw in Mad Men: the advertising made sure there was a beautiful female next to the product OR sports was the core of the theme, football (soccer) most of the time. Cliché, I know, but guidelines were set from the client, and they based that on their research.
Over the years, the evolution of marketing to men was distinct. Efforts in research to understand a man’s psyche and motivations grew and researchers made the right move to pivot from the classic questions and start asking deeper, more relevant ones. As a result, the growth happened on both sides of the coin; companies became smarter at growing their product portfolio to cater for the “different” types of men while advertising/PR agencies started working on developing campaigns that looked deeply into men’s different interests and requirements.
In my opinion, one of the significant factors that supported in slowly removing that blanket approach to reach men is the rise of social media. Although many companies were leading in “figuring out” how to market to their different male clients by listening closely, such as Nike, Adidas, RedBull, NIVEA For Men, to name a few, the rise of social media helped many other companies and marketers to fall in line in putting more effort in better understanding their audience.
With the help of social media, content created a mirror of what was of interest to the different groups of men in society. Between the different platforms, content helped showcase how men thought at different age groups, cultures, race, income bracket… all helping researchers pay attention to first hand information and start the real digging to better understand.
For small business owners and young entrepreneurs, these platforms hold a wealth of information, supported by the right research; one can begin to better understand this target audience. Emotional Marketing is on the rise, and when partnered with some of the marketing fundamentals, business can create messages and campaigns helping them to get closer to their audience and clients. Some of those marketing fundamentals include:
– Making product/service benefits relevant to men
– Proof and validation of numbers
– Ditching the cliché’s
– Considering their unique needs
– Target through digital platforms, enhance your search, build solid social networks
– Give weight to customer service departments and to the power of word of mouth
– Understanding that marketing to men is different from marketing to women: luxury VS utility, brand VS price, simplicity VS detail
I don’t think we are there yet, but I believe that we are on the right path.