How to do marketing to women? We brought practical tips, with examples and data! – WAU

Never has gender been so discussed. Feminism and the definitions of masculine and feminine are debated everywhere: magazines, blogs, series, films, lectures, TV shows etc. And the feeling we have is that, even with so much information available on the subject, we continue to see brands and companies taking a conservative view – and […]

Never has gender been so discussed. Feminism and the definitions of masculine and feminine are debated everywhere: magazines, blogs, series, films, lectures, TV shows etc.

And the feeling we have is that, even with so much information available on the subject, we continue to see brands and companies positioning themselves conservatively – and cliché – when promoting products and services to the female audience.

But why do brands keep making so many mistakes? Why every year, on March 8, do we see cases of advertising erring (and ugly) in communication with women?

After all: in 2018, how can we do marketing to women?

Why marketing to women should be better thought out

London women do not feel that advertising represents them. In a survey conducted by SPC Brasil, 58.5% of women stated that the advertisement does not portray the real woman.

The reasons vary:

  • Almost 60% of respondents believe that the women portrayed in advertising are very different physically from reality;
  • 32% mentioned that they feel uncomfortable with the objectification and sexualization of women in advertising;
  • 30% do not like the image of the perfect woman that is built by brands.

It does not stop there.

This problem has worsened so much that women are no longer impacted by advertising.

According to a survey carried out by Think Eva, for 62.4% of the interviewees, advertising awakens the feeling of “sameness”. 55.7% failed to remember advertisements that caught their attention.

The fashion, beauty, automobile and beer segments are the most cited as problematic in SPC research.

49.2% of these women want to see women warriors in advertising. 46.6% want women portrayed without the standard of unattainable beauty of cinema and TV.

They want to see dynamic women. By asking what characteristics they want in women in advertising, Think Eva found that 85.8% of respondents want to see smart women and 72.3% want to see independent women depicted.

If this data still hasn’t convinced you, know that 73.2% of women in the same survey claim to be interested in technology, but feel that companies target only the male audience in their media.

This is not just a matter of adapting to the new times or being politically correct – by getting the wrong hand when marketing to women you are also losing a valuable audience with high consumption power.

4 practical tips on what to do (and what not to do at all) in marketing to women

Okay, by now you should have understood that communication for women needs to be done well. They are ordinary consumers and want advertising worthy of their money.

But if you’re not sure where to start, here are 4 practical tips:

1. Stop seeing women as a niche

Women are not a specific niche in the market.

They are more than half of the London population and, guess what: they also buy beers, cars, technological products… and if your product is more geared towards women (such as feminine hygiene products, cosmetics, women’s fashion, etc.) it is a big mistake bet they are all the same and think or behave the same way.

We live here talking about the importance of building personas focused on your business. And with women it’s the same. If you’re selling makeup, for example, your persona can’t just be “25-year-old women who buy makeup.”

It needs to be specific and really tease the tastes and habits of the person who is going to consume you.

Want cool examples?

Avon reversed the idea that makeup is only for women. In addition to talking to a much more modern audience, they showed their support for several causes and, let’s be honest: they made a super fun video!

Who Said Berenice is another very cool example of how to talk to the female audience in a true, natural, modern way. No talking to a woman who doesn’t exist!

And if you thought you would only have examples of beauty products, think again. The campaign This Girl Can gives The National Lotery shows how real women exercise: sweating, swinging, that is, nothing like those perfect and artificial women in the image banks.

2. No objectification

I know you may have been taught that sex sells. And that nude or semi-nude women are a great way to get attention.


The University of Ohio overturned this advertising myth in 2015, showing that content with a high sexual or violent content may even draw consumer attention, but in a negative way.

If objectifying women will not increase your sales, it will contribute to an oppressive culture and still offend a large portion of your audience, the question remains: why still insist on it?

3. Stereotyping women is a thing of the last century

Not every woman hates sports, not every woman wants to get married and be a mother, nor does every woman like makeup or fashion. “Not every woman” is an important word when it comes to advertising.

Never assume that all women are equal or have the same taste. The role of women has changed a long time ago and stereotyping this audience is a big mistake for any brand. Do you want to see an example of this in practice?

marketing for women

The Proibida beer brand thought it would be a good idea to create a beer for women that is delicate, sweet and fragrant. We don’t even have to say it was a shot in the foot, do we?

This product alienated women brewers who were already consumers of the brand and generated a bad negative buzz on the company’s social networks. After all, who said that all women like delicate things?

The beverage brand Catuaba Selvagem managed to take advantage of the negative buzz in their favor. They did a campaign making it very clear that “women’s clothing is what she wants”:

marketing for women

How to use the mistake of another brand to promote yourself, lesson 1: Catuaba Selvagem

Generally, products with versions for women are a bad idea. If they offer exactly the same thing and what changes is the name and the packaging, what is their true purpose? They can also generate something known as a pink tax, which we will explain below.

Understanding the pink tax

Have you heard of pink tax?

O pink tax it happens when products made especially for “women” cost more than products aimed at the male audience.

And we are not talking about differences in the production or composition of these products. Usually, they differ only in packaging – women’s is pink and costs about 7% more than other products.

Do I really need a pen made especially for women? In 2014 Bic created the line of pens “For her” and comedian Ellen Degeneres made a video mocking the situation – finally a pen made just for us women!

Considering that women, on average, receive lower salaries than men, it is even disgusting to think that a product costs more just because it received the color pink and they decided that it was made for the female audience.

The lesson here is: each woman is a different human being. Don’t put us in a bubble and try to sell us something universal.

4. Build relationships and understand the pain of the female audience

Being a woman is not easy. And the last thing we want is advertising trying to sell us fake recipes and unattainable bodies.

Advertising well done to women today is one that understands what it really is to be a woman. It is that brand that empathizes with the things and situations that we go through every day.

Let’s take the examples:

#FightLikeAGirl, by Always

Always’s #FightLikeAGirl campaign touched on a very sensitive point: the idea that doing things “like a girl” is an insult. The campaign went viral and the brand became known for bringing this discussion to the fore. The women saw themselves in the campaign. It is an incredible case of good storytelling and relating to the pain of your audience.

Blood, by Body Form

Who knew that a menstruation campaign could be so exciting? It shows strong, real women. No women dancing around, happy with life, while birds sing along the way.

#MyBeautyMySay, by Dove

Dove has already gone viral with several campaigns and actions to show different bodies and faces to promote its products. My Beauty My Say is just one more example of this.

What appeals to the public is normalcy: the women we see in Dove campaigns are women we see in our day-to-day lives.

They could be our friends and coworkers, not a perfect, unrealistic Hollywood beauty.

For a March 8 without clichés, Netflix

Every March 8th is the same thing. A thousand campaigns sprouting around with flowers, roses, chocolates, extolling how incredible, delicate, cute women are.

And we don’t want any of that! Netflix showed very well how to run a different campaign on March 8 and we know that your brand can also escape these clichés, huh?

Advertising is improving (but we still have a long way to go)

See how marketing well done to women is not that difficult? We are improving, little by little, but we still have a long way to go.

Each macho publicity that is broadcast is like a shot at all the women who work for this market (and for consumers too!).

Finally, a little reflection: what would advertising be like if the roles of women in advertising were replaced by men? Buzzfeed asked this question:

We are and can do better. We can do interesting marketing that really talks to women, without ideals and insults.

Let’s go together?