Gender differences abound. Obvious, right? Feminism and equality aside, failing to recognize that women write and respond to writing differently than men is a recipe for ineffective communication. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that the following differences are generalities; women are no more alike among themselves as men are.
Difference #1 – Trust. Women are more trusting of authority than men, generally speaking. According to Dr. Frank Luntz, an influential pollster, author, and speaker, “Women typically put more faith in government than men.”
Difference #2 – Language. Linguistic studies show that women write softer, more polite language and respond more favorably to it. Short, direct, in-your-face text is designed to appeal to men, and is more likely to turn women off.
Difference #3 – Lifestyle. Family status and employment status are the single most important factors to consider when writing something that appeals to women. The questions for marketers to ask: 1) Does our female audience have children at home? 2) Do they work full-time?
Stay-at-home moms are much more likely to respond similarly to each other, than to working career women, regardless of age.
“Men are exactly the opposite,” writes Dr. Luntz. “Family status and career barely matter, while age, income, and education matter considerably.” Furthermore, men have a narrower range of opinions than women. Luntz goes on to say that a “thirty-year-old man is far more likely to share attitudes and opinions with a fifty-year-old man than are women with the same age spread.”
Difference #4 – Decision Making. Look back again at employment and family status. Men make a majority of decisions for themselves. On the other hand, women typically make financial or consumer decisions not only for herself, but also for her significant other, for her children, and sometimes even for her parents. This boils down to the fact that women are making major pocketbook decisions, from home buying to grocery shopping, and marketers would do well to keep this in mind. Women have more control over family finances than ever before.
Source: Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear by Dr. Frank Luntz, Hyperion, 2007.
What are your thoughts? Have you experienced other differences in your marketing efforts? Leave a comment!