Marketing to Women

I’m always thinking about marketing and business (yes, that’s because I’m running a business) and I’ve been thinking that if more marketers focused on women and marketing to their interests and needs, whoa, there’s really a lot of moolah to be made.

I’m sure married men will agree that they leave most of the shopping to their wives. Most married men I know aren’t bothered about this weekend’s sale of Milo and milk powder or Breeze detergent. They couldn’t care less if Milo goes up by 20 sen or 50 sen. Men will pay for price increases without much fuss.
Now women. Oh we bitch about prices of foodstuff going up. We get huffed up if Milo is 50 sen more expensive in this supermarket, and we’ll get our husbands to drive us to another supermarket 10 minutes down the road so we can buy cheaper Milo.
And women bargain harder too. In the wet market, you will see women haggling over 100 grammes of peas or wanting to swipe some free red chillies, as a bonus for buying some vegetables! (I have a supermarket mentality though – I buy stuff without haggling so most of the market people love to see me. I’m not really that bothered about 30 sen extra as long as I get good service, haha).
Seriously, marketing to women also means fulfilling our needs. A couple of years ago, I saw this product in Watsons which I would NEVER buy. It was a paper cup-like device, which can be used by a woman going to the loo. Most women hate sitting on public toilet seats so this device is designed to enable a woman to pee without sitting down!
Hah! To enable a woman to pee without sitting down. The product was designed by a man. Does a man know what a woman carries while going to the loo? Tissue paper, handbag. And then she may be wearing heels. Or wearing a skirt. Or jeans. How does one maneuovre in those narrow toilet cubicles, which can be sometimes wet and icky, trying to pee standing up?
That’s why I no longer see that product in Watsons anymore. It was just a weird idea.
But there are also plenty of good ideas around. How about creating a line of taxis driven by women and only picking up women passengers? I would be the first to use this service because safety is a main concern for women travellers. Or gays could drive the taxis – women always feel much safer around gays anyway (gays could even promote makeup and women’s products while driving these taxis!)
How about designing a kitchen (OK, this is for contractors and housing developers) that’s really useful for women, instead of being eye candy? The kitchens I often see are nice to look at but a torture to work in!
Unless we all cook gwai-lo food (you know, saute a bit of onions and then put the meat in and then taking the whole thing and chucking it in the oven for a good bake), having a shiny, stainless steel kitchen isn’t going to help us cope with everyday Asian cooking. We chop and stirfry, we tumis and deepfry, we do all types of things in the kitchen. An Asian kitchen has to look good and still be robustly useful. How to make sure the kitchen’s really user-friendly? Ask a woman la! Ask a woman who cooks too. Not an interior designer who doesn’t cook or spend much time in the kitchen.
OK, how about sanitary pads? The ones with wings? Do you know that women do chafe down there? I’ve talked to other women who find it awfully irritating and who resort to using diaper rash cream. Otherwise, they’ll scratch themselves silly. Hmm, who designs sanitary pads anyway? I hope it’s not men!
Marketing to women also means using lots of commonsense. Women can see through a bluff anyday (that’s why our Moms were so good at telling if we’re lying for the umpteenth time!) and they can smell a bad idea immediately. Marketing to women also means asking women if the product is what they need. That “stand-up-and-pee” was such a bad idea.
And how about those cutey cars (was it Suzuki or something) in the early 90s which had compartments for makeup so that women could put their makeup on while driving? Bad idea. Women don’t put makeup on in the car. Women cannot draw a straight line on their eyelids in a moving vehicle (we risk poking ourselves in the eyes and blinding ourselves). And women won’t be stupid to put RM500 worth of makeup in their car – the makeup will ‘bake’ under our Malaysian sun! Plus, it’s recommended to put lipsticks and nail polishes in the fridge so why the heck would we put makeup in the car? Maybe it’s OK in Japan because the weather ain’t hot!
Can you think of other more ridiculous ideas which target women and make you laugh? Share please!

3 thoughts on “Marketing to Women”

  1. It’s kinda the opposite in my family. Dad does all the marketing (Wet Market and Supermarkets) and he knows the slightest differences in price in those stuff. Whenever mom and I go shopping at the supermarket, I’d usually ask “Mom is this considered cheap?” And mom would usually tell me “I think we wait for your dad to buy. He knows the what the best price is.” Weird eh?

  2. Another girl friend was just on the very same topic about shopping at the wet market and how ladies loved (sic) in general, loved to haggle over the price. She commented that her husband will never heard of that and never will mine. I told her that I am not too bothered about the prices that which would have prevented most from going to this particular wet market in a reputable residential area which is basically 10%-15% more expensive than the rest. I value the once-a-week touching base with the fish mongers, vegetable sellers and and occassional bric-a-brac. That kind of experience is something I look forward to each week. Don’t know how many women would attest to that?

  3. Hi Vern: That’s interesting! Nic often knows the prices of stuff too… surprisingly. He does go with me to the market and all the market ladies love to yak with him! When I was growing up, it was my Dad who did all the marketing and he often took us along. Mom would be snoozing. Lucky her.
    Hi Kate: Yes, sometimes I may be too busy to cook but I always look forward to my weekly marketing at the Lip Sin market. I love talking to these market people, I learn about lots of stuff… how to choose the best fish, how to choose the choicest cuts of pork, how to cook (with recipes too) and which restaurants to visit for good food! A treasure trove of info is in the market, if one cares to talk to these folks. I am a market person definitely. Most people run away because of the smells of the market. I may be like you, I love my markets!


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