Why a “one-size fits all” audience marketing approach doesn’t work anymore.
When I think about my childhood experiences shopping for new soccer shorts, baseball t-shirts or a new basketball, it brings back underwhelming feelings. In a sea of athletic gear options made for the boys, there was only one teeny tiny section dedicated to the girls. And the products in the girls’ section were basically the same as the boys, just smaller and more “girly.” The strategy was so prevalent, it even earned a nickname: “pink it and shrink it”.
Thankfully today, my female consumer shopping experience for athletic clothing or accessories is significantly different, and far superior.
The industry has moved beyond marketing strategies that simply modify the products and ads once directed toward men, and is recognizing the interests and buying power of females. In fact, according to a Nielsen study, women have tremendous spending power in America today—and it’s growing, estimated at anywhere from $5 trillion to $15 trillion annually.
While companies’ recognizing the importance of developing audience specific strategies geared toward women is not new, it is ever changing and incredibly competitive. In fact, in the last few years athletic brands and designer brands alike (Patagonia, Puma, Nike, Victoria’s Secret, Tory Burch) are becoming more sophisticated in how they appeal to female customers, in terms of products and unique message targeting.
My recent favorite example of a company that found success in their female targeting strategy also created an opportunity beyond their historical primary audience is Lululemon. Who isn’t just crushing the women’s fitness marketplace, but now appeals to men!
Yep, the brand that was once only know as “that women’s yoga brand”, has taken advantage of their successful business model and brand recognition among millions of women and turned it in to a brand for men, too. In fact, Lululemon’s CEO Laurent Potdevin sees men’s clothing as a billion dollar opportunity. Don’t believe me? Check out their latest ABC (anti-ball crushing) construction that men are crazy about.
Back in those “pink it and shrink it” days, a phenomenon like this would have been unthinkable. But today, it’s becoming the norm. Audience profiling and marketing tools—like those we have access to at KC—have evolved to become much more sophisticated and powerful. Brands, in any category, that don’t recognize the potential of using these tools to market to the needs of a specific audience are at best, missing a huge opportunity. And at worst, they’re risking looking like dinosaurs.