What Social Psychology Brings When Marketing to Women


As research tells us more about the brain and the differences in the female and male brains, the way that products are marketed to the genders has changed. After earning a PhD in Social Psychology to enhance my marketing degree and experience, I have recognized that there are clear differences between the sexes and we have identified the best ways to market to women.


Male vs Female Brains

Women and men see the world differently, because their brains are wired differently. For example, women have a larger limbic system in their brains. This system is responsible for emotions and bonding. The larger size of this area of the brain clearly explains why building relationships is a higher priority for women overall. The same goes for the hippocampus in women. This system is the hub for forming memories and experiencing emotions. This area of the brain is also larger for women, which explains why women more openly express their emotions and remember emotional events better than men can.

The female brain also has subtle differences in the areas that process speech and body language, as well as manage several tasks at once. The female brain has also been designed to help build harmony into the world, especially when children are involved. Women use their bonds with other people to build relationships that will help her (and those who are in her circle) manage potentially problematic situations.

So, with these difference in the brain, women have strengths that men do not have because of their physical makeup. For example, women have more nerve cells on the left side of the brain which allows them to process language better than men can and this explains why women have such an easy time with communication. The differences also affect the way that women read and understand cues in emotions and body language.  Men more often do not notice subtle shifts in tone or small movements in body language. Both strengths help women care for children and work cooperatively within communities. Because of the more connections between the two sides of the brain, women are often more successful with multitasking than their male counterparts. They also make connections between thoughts and ideas that may mean they offer ideas while men are thinking. Some men see this as “getting off course”.


Subtle Marketing Changes for the Differences between the Sexes

When it comes to marketing, understanding the differences between the sexes can make campaigns more successful. Products that are marketed to men can also appeal to women. But, if products are marketed to women clearly to women they usually don’t appeal to men.

Therefore, it is critical for marketers to learn about the values lifestyles of their audiences. Listen and watch their preferences and how brands fit into their lives. Do not rely on stereotypes or your own unconscious bias.


Women Have Buying Power

Women are shoppers. But, not in the stereotypical sense. In western countries, Women have built very strong purchasing power, and it is becoming more common for them to earn more than their partners. In 2013, 40% of women earned equal to or more money than their husbands and this number is up from 25% in 1990.

Women not only are responsible for a significant percentage of household shopping, but they also prefer to influence purchases in important ways (think of men buying clothes or cars). Women are very conscious of how and where they spend their hard-earned money. In fact, more than 85% of women do business with companies that know the needs of female consumers. Considering that women are responsible for more than 80% of the purchases in the US, companies that cater to women’s needs will be more successful than those that do not.


Women’s Roles as Automotive Consumers

Women’s spending habits defy traditional roles. Take the auto industry, for example. Women are influencers in the automotive industry as they affect up to 80% of all new vehicle purchases as they by vehicles for themselves and their children after they become licensed drivers. Women are the ones who service their family cars (in 65% of customers) and they spend over $200 billion on their cars and servicing them. Women are clearly spending more time and money at car dealerships, but many automotive marketing campaigns fail to reflect these facts. Fraser Communications has done in depth research on women and how to communicate and market to them.


Create Marketing Campaigns for Women Using Brain Research and Financial Data

It is important for companies to evolve. Marketing campaigns should be designed using useful data regarding the brain as well as shopping and spending habits of potential customers. Businesses that want to be successful understand how and why women see the world differently than men do.


What Creates Loyal Female Customers

When women feel like they are understood, they are more likely to buy products. Women who have purchased cars do report that they are not understood by those who sell and service vehicles. Understanding and respecting the needs of women is necessary for companies and their marketing plans to go to the next level. When women feel they are being treated with respect by a company or brand, they become loyal. Women will pay more for quality, respect and peace of mind. If they feel they are being taken advantage of because they are women, companies will never see those women again. Sometimes it is “in the details” for women. Small differences and signals make a difference. Listening carefully to women and asking what they want is a critical starting point.