Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What Women Want (And Men Don't)

In the 2000 classic "What Women Want" starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt - Mel, a hotshot (but arrogant MCP) creative director comes out with brilliant advertising campaigns targeted at women because he develops the ability to read women's thoughts, and hence know "what women want!"

But when you're not Mel - and you often cannot read women's words (leave alone thoughts) how to you communicate and connect with them as a marketer and communication professional?

Well Dr Luan Brizendine offers some insights in her recently published book "The Female Mind". She conclusively (and scientifically) states that women talk more than men - an average of 20,000 words a day, against just 7,000 words spoken by men.

She also says the inherent genetic difference between men and women's brains makes women more talkative. And women love to hear their own voices - they get a buzz out of it, and devote more brain-power to chit-chat.

Don't get me wrong, I love to hear women chit-chat. It's fascinating. And as a communicator, and lover of long-copy I find women beautiful audiences to communicate with.

Men on the other hand are less patient and more action driven. Quit the talk and show me the money (or honey in many cases!)

So as a communicator in the new world and new media, what would I do?

  • Create more interactive plans when talking to women. Use great layouts with happy and soft imagery that's inviting and involving. Use chats, q & a, discussion forums, and explain all the tech stuff easily, patiently and respectfully.

  • Provide racier, more visually stimulating and action oriented programmes for men. Galleries, games, perspectives, and just lay out lots of techy stuff for men and wait for them to figure out and feel good about it.

  • Use more audio and text based communication tools for women online - podcasts, long explanatory and involving text.

  • For men, use videos, flashy imagery and interactive tools.

  • Expect that women will get involved for longer durations and will be more loyal to your programs (will stick to you through think and some thin).

  • Be prepared that men will be in and out, and remain flirtatious in nature, and need greater "what's in it for me" (men are like that only)

  • Of course, treat both with equal respect and don't treat either like an idiot.

And if you want to learn how to hold the attention of your male and female audiences in any medium, and keep them loyal for life, follow the paths of the two great masters - Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey.

Yes, Jay with his slam-bam-shooting-from-the-hip one liner style is brilliant with men!!!

Oprah with her soft-earnest-we-are-with-you style brings out the women loyalists like no other :)

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