Breaking Boundaries

So Radio X launches in its own self created furore of being a radio station for men. And promptly denies it with it’s first presenter, on its first programme on its first day, Chris Moyles claiming that was purely “just a marketing thing”.

Whether Radio X really wants a male or female audience listening isn’t really the issue. What is is that some marketing agency/consultancy/guru has decided there is a gap in the market for a male radio station (Radio 5 Live, Talk Radio, Talk Sport anyone?) and has based their content strategy on targeting this gap, and then realised what an out-of-date, cliché strategy that really is.

Doesn’t put marketers in a good light, doesn’t it?  

Funnily enough, at the same time as the furore around Radio X was happening, my friend and journalist, Matt Gaw was writing about female stereotypes in his regular column  and Independent reporter Laura Bates continues her Everyday Sexism Project

All of these gender conversations have made me think about how we market to the sexes, and whether there really is a differentiation of engagement to be made based on whether they were born a girl or boy.  Is it really as basic as that?

I think not.  As a mother of three sons, I have always felt slightly bemused at strangers’ comments about whether I wanted to have a girl with the underlying assumption that a girl would be different.  As individuals their traits, personalities, likes and dislikes are as unique as their DNA and balancing these often conflicting tastes is a career within itself. 

In my opinion, customers are just as unique. Where there is no doubt that there are definite parallels and trends that can be drawn by analysts and number crunchers, the best marketing finds the hub of what the individual customer needs and wants and reflects that back to them in their product or service. That’s why account management remains the strongest asset in most company’s growth strategy even within today’s technology driven world. 

Painting everyone with the same brush is the easiest, and most cost effective way of marketing, but like the majority of things that take the easiest route, has the least rewards.  

So when it comes to content, it is about listening before you talk, finding out what the customer wants and then trying to help them find that solution through your products and services.

Gender should not be one of the factors within this process unless of course you specialise in pants or breastfeeding bras.  

As marketers we need to break the boundaries not adhere to stereotypes.