I received several emails about something I wrote in Do McCain, Biden, Palin and Obama Think the Way We Do? (Part 1) on my BizMediaScience blog. Open Do McCain, Biden, Palin and Obama Think the Way We Do? (Part 1), scroll down to You’re Marketing. It’s in Your Blood and Wired into Your Brain and start reading.
People wondered about “The woman wearing revealing clothing (whatever that means. It’s different in every culture) is marketing, the man with the sports car (this is becoming prevalent as western cultural values become more and more ubiquitous) is marketing.”
They wanted to know if men wearing revealing clothing were marketing? No, they’re advertising. Ethologists, social anthropologists, neuroscientists, …, know that the goals are quite different when a male shows you their fancy, expensive sports car versus their…what…large pecs?
A peacock displaying his incredible plumage to a group of seals in the arctic is advertising. The basic premise of such an act is “Hey, Look at me!” Unfortunately, the chosen audience — arctic seals — for that act is incapable of responding in a way that will benefit all parties involved very much. They might be impressed but so what? Why does the peacock do it? Well, you never know. There might be a female peacock out there in arctic seal clothing.
Advertising is simply something that is done. It’s part of biology and (for the purposes of this column) business. It can be done at inappropriate times and in inappropriate places and the individual or group doing the advertising can’t help themselves (much like the peacock that can’t stop showing his plumage). Ever drive down a road, see a billboard and wonder “Who is the audience for that?” Ever see a commercial that was completely inappropriate to a tv show’s content? Ever see an online ad that was in conflict with the page it was on?
Welcome to advertising.
The peacock that display plumage in front of female peacocks is marketing. There’s a real, intentional purpose to the display, a message in addition to the “Hey, Look at me!” That additional message is “I’m the best for you!” or “You need this!”
The additional message is based on the advertisement
- being directed at a receptive audience
- with a direct and desirable ability
- to act upon that message.
Seals and peacocks may get together much as did the Owl and the Pussycat but unless their goal is to shuck oysters in their beautiful pea-green boat not much else is going to happen from their outing.
Women are designed by evolution to advertise certain physiologic features that males are wired to recognize as desirable for spreading their genes. Women who wear clothing that enhances these physiologic features when they go out on a date or a night on the town are marketing. They have a goal in mind. They know there’ll be a receptive audience with a direct and desirable ability to act.
Women wearing enhancing clothing in the workspace? That’s advertising. I think of it as trolling. You don’t know if there are fish out there but what the heck, it’s a beautiful day to be out on the lake and there are worse things you can do with your time.
Men are designed by evolution to advertise certain socio-economic features that females are wired to recognize as worthy of that male’s genetic spread. Men displaying physiologic features are demonstrating the possible results of that genetic spread, not their worthiness to spread those genes. Men showing expensive, fancy sports cars are displaying their worthiness to spread those genes, not the possible results of a genetic spread.
Very different, and a lesson for those wondering about directed marketing to men and women. This chart resulted from a study of male and female core neural processes for making a purchase. It’s simple (and over simplified here); How long will this be useful to me? Men shop for what they need right now. Women shop for what will benefit them the most over time.
Is it any wonder that the gods went from male to female when we went from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies?
Agricultural societies take a long investment of time and energy with no real promise of reward, but when the reward comes? It is long lasting and bountiful (this is why the Cornucopiae only shows agricultural abundance, not hunting abundance. Mother Earth provides). Hunter-gatherer societies expend time and energy and the rewards are very temporal, rarely lasting more than a day or two or week at best. Then it’s back into the wild to hunt and gather again.
Advertising turned to marketing when the shift from hunting-gathering to agriculture occured. People were staying in one place in agricultural societies. You knew where your audience was going to be and when. Getting a message to hunter-gatherers was like putting up a billboard in the outback. You hoped they came close enough to pick up the scent.
Advertising versus Marketing to Men versus Women
So do you want women to buy something for right now (advertising)? Show them the big pecs. Want them to be loyal to those big pecs (marketing)? Make sure the big pecs are driving a sports car.
Want men to buy something for right now? Show them the big…pecs. Want them to be loyal to those big pecs? Good luck. It’s not in male wiring. It’s possible, just not simple. You have to convince them they can only have those big pecs through you. Essentially you’re fooling them into believing that the only way to get their “now/today” fix is right here with you and nobody else.
Think of males who continually fish in the same spot or hunt in the same part of the woods or fields year after year after year. Why do they do so? Because they’ve always caught something or shot something there before. Same principle.
Good marketing isn’t a crapshoot, it simply takes some knowledge and effort. Good advertising makes you act like a peacock when you know you’re a seal.
Please contact NextStage for information regarding presentations and trainings on this and other topics.
Links for this post:
- BizMediaScience Gender Based Marketing blog posts
- Social Networks, Social Media and Gender Marketing Trove
- Gender Marketing Web Design Differences
- Website marketing across genders
Sign up for The NextStage Irregular, our very irregular, definitely frequency-wise and probably topic-wise newsletter.