Sisters doin’ it for themselves
September 1, 2006
Extending the use of any core product is the based around the upgrade business model. Attaining a new audience for a core product is normally based upon a skin job – customising the facial to resell the basic offering under a new guise. But when it comes to diversifying the market from one gender to another, all kinds of horrible ideas ensue.
Since the iPod offered a range of colours, Sony have followed with their pink console. With the PS2 already available under the price point of under 100GBP; you know they can try and shift a few more units of old stock in the bubblegum lipstick hue. This hardly asists the market in leveraging a female audience – as soon as the P3 hits the shop floor, the boys will inevitably sneer at a the girls with their outdated hardware.
Meanwhile, over the road, we have OhMiBod offering the latest ‘plug n play acsexsory’ for the ubiquitous iPod.
Female adoption of technology, gadgets and digital lifestyle has on the whole been hard for markets, primarily because the play on early adoption is male oriented. I’ve been
reading flicking through Tom Peters and Martha Barletta’s ‘Trends’ handbook. What stands out is the emphasis of the ‘Woman’s way of thinking’ (‘We’ rather then ‘me’) and their interest in connecting (‘peer’ rather than ‘pyramid’). This is exactly the same base formula for success for online projects.
Heidi Dangelmaier runs a New York based creative agency, 3iying.com, specialising in marketing for females 15-25. In a blog interview with womentowomenonline, she contrast the old marketing approaches with the new:-
Old – Companies tell girls what to buy
New – Girls tell companies what to sell
Old – Media firms form exclusive executive boards of directors for connections and power
New – Girl media firms invite WWW mass to help build connections and gain power
Old – Make it fake, loud and fantasy-based to get attention
New – Make it authentic, honest and accessible to get attention
Old – Media and girls follow and mimic buying habits of celebrities. Brands pay stars for identity and attention
New – Girls are individuals who follow their own instincts. Brands don’t need stars to succeed
Old – Loyalty is achieved through making girls feel inadequate
New – Sustainable attraction and loyalty are achieved through helping girls become strong and independent
What’s interesting is that the new approach are very much an open strategy – replying on audience feedback and input into product development and harnessing the inherent female traits of networks of friends rather than the male top -down early-adopting influence.
3iying state they have a process how to convert the female opinion into valuable marketing, of course this is not disclosed – which is surprising an un-friendly, un-sharing and thus out of character with the whole female ethos they are trading. I suspect, it’s not much more than understanding the peer network relationships that we see in online social networks today – bringing together opinions, sharing the value across a network, building a community to declare interests. Click here to see 3iying’s promo – which is the source of these pink screengrabs.
What is missing is the del.icio.us factor – where personal greed drives the application. Competition among women is just as high as with men, it’s just not worn on the sleeve.
Applying a gender mentality to networks is a curiosity. Networks can grow asexually, that is systems, can adopt and reproduce without the need for intervention. Yet when you have a intervention, or prevention, such as rights management, the system does get a little ‘screwed’, resulting in complex relationships that are normally doomed in the long run. Support, encouragement, compassion and attention – all the attributes of an open system and a happy female.