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Gini Dietrich

Women Rule the Social Web and Your Sales

By: Gini Dietrich | September 13, 2012 | 
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There is an older blog post (from January 2010) that keeps making the rounds via the web.

A Rant About Women” by Clay Shirky is based on the premise that women are not self-promotional, which holds us back. He quotes a magazine editor who tells a friend of his that men promote themselves all the time, but women wait for people to take notice.

He goes on to say that, in order for us to be treated equally, we must be forceful and self-confident. He says:

It’s tempting to imagine that women could be forceful and self-confident without being arrogant or jerky, but that’s a false hope, because it’s other people who get to decide when they think you’re a jerk, and trying to stay under that threshold means giving those people veto power over your actions.

And therein lies the problem. When we act like men, we’re seen as the word that begins with a B… you know, another name for a female dog. But if we act like women, we’re not going to get ahead.

The Glass Ceiling

But even if we acted like men, had the self-confidence to be called mean names, and were forceful and self-promotional, there still is a glass ceiling.

I’ve written about how I had to create a fake personality for Charles Arment, my “business partner,” who doesn’t exist, in order to do business in the early stages of Arment Dietrich.

Charles was a great partner. He gave me negotiation power. Prospects took me seriously. And he didn’t exist.

I’ve always figured if you can’t fight the battle, join them and then have the last laugh. I beat the glass ceiling with my own Remington Steele.

Women Rule the Web

But, at least online, the glass ceiling is beginning to be shattered. Not only does social media create a level playing field, women rule the roost (80 percent!) when it comes to purchase decisions (not a surprise) and brands are turning their attention to them.

Just Who Do You Think You’re Talking To? Owning Up To Women explored where women are hanging out online. It showed women spend more time on the social networks than men and they also spend 30 percent more time being social, connecting with brands, and buying. They’re also more likely to share their purchases online via sites such as Facebook and Pinterest.

In fact, women are nearly 80 percent more likely to buy something they saw on a social network than through any other channel.

Rant Against Women

This year, we’ve seen it all, especially with the election heating up. Call it the mommy wars, the war on women, “legitimate rape,” or whatever the latest and greatest non-PC, asinine comment is.

Whatever it is, this “rant” against women is setting all of us back 50 or more years.

Women rule the roost at home and they make most of the purchase decisions. While some companies are creating products specific for women (Bic Pens and Evernote for Women?), I’m not sure it has to go that far.

We’re not stupid. We don’t all like, need, or want things in pink. What we want, instead, is to be treated like intelligent human beings who make careful and thoughtful decisions about what we buy for our families.

Either you target us or you don’t. But whichever way you decide to market your products or services, discounting women – or target us in a condescending way – will only hurt your sales.

P.S. Mr. D called me a feminist the other day. After re-reading this, I guess I have to agree. I am a feminist! Hear me roar! Do you hear this Jenn Whinnem? Oh. And. A version of this first appeared on Search Engine People.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

112 comments
TedRubin
TedRubin

What is happening now, as more women spend more time on more social networking sites for more reasons, is that women’s purchasing power now goes well beyond the purse … into women’s relationships.

 

Consider how important relationships are in social commerce, and you see that women and the relationships they bring with them are key to expanding brand visibility and company growth through their powerful and innate desire to share.

 

Before brands go any further in implementing their current marketing strategies, they need to ask themselves:  What are we doing to connect women with our brand/product/service? What are we doing to make sure women are engaged in all aspects of our product and service cycles? What are we doing to build and nurture relationships with female consumers, and empower them to spread the word?

 

Build relationships with your women consumers, and you will see exponential returns (Return on Relationship: ROR). Why?… because Women ROCK the social world!

 

justmoritz
justmoritz

@Snowflake07 @SpinSucks And men rule just aboy anything else. Men and women are not equal by design. #unddasistauchgutso

rdopping
rdopping

@CraigMcBreen @ginidietrich Oh no! Not the INTERNET! Dammit.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@CraigMcBreen crap. I meant yes. Not he's.

BillGiltner
BillGiltner

2 points:

1.  Clay Shirky does not necessarily know squat about anything.

2.  The idea that women need to steer clear of behavior that will get her called a bitch is outdated, and may not have ever been a reasonable guideline as a guideline for undesirable behavior

sirpa_aggarwal
sirpa_aggarwal

Thanks for a great post, Dini! You got me laughing there in the beginning. So true: Sometimes it feels like we're between a rock and a hard place. Yet, as you pointed out, it's wonderful for *all* of us that women's rights continue to progress towards eventual equality. And there's no stopping that momentum!

geoffliving
geoffliving

@JGoldsborough How is it going in Kansas City?

geoffliving
geoffliving

@laurenfabrizi @ginidietrich Did a nice job on that.

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel

 @ginidietrich Read this. It's another take on the UVA story, but the interesting part is how intent one woman, the Rector, seems to be in tearing apart another woman, the President. To your point about supporting each other. An exerpt:

 

"That’s my biggest disappointment with Rice’s piece. It puts personality first, so we miss the meat of it. We learn that [Helen] Dragas criticized [Theresa] Sullivan for how the president dresses. Then Dragas bristled at the notion that such a comment could be construed as sexist. But at no point did Rice or Dragas consider the fact that such a criticism is also classist. Sullivan, it seems, is not Dragas’s kind of person. This personal rift is true—perhaps relevant, certainly interesting—but ultimately banal."

 

http://chronicle.com/blogs/conversation/2012/09/12/the-uva-drama-just-wont-quit/

lmspreen
lmspreen

Thought-provoking as always, Gini. My eyes were opened when I read "In The Company Of Women"  http://www.amazon.com/In-Company-Women-Indirect-Aggression/dp/1585422231, which says the reasons women treat each other the way they do are related to brain and hormone chemistry and other kinds of hard wiring. Interestingly, although the book addresses women:women relationships, the authors also extrapolate the interactions between men and women. And I will tell you, Clay Shirky's advice might ring true with men, but it's 85% guaranteed to fail if that's the strategy the top-woman takes with female coworkers, no matter their rank.

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

I take issue with the idea that women rule the roost at home and make the purchasing decisions because that is painting with too broad a brush. It doesn't specify which purchases we are talking about.

 

More than a few of us men cook and do some of the shopping for food. We are usually involved in the decision making process for larger purchases.

 

Within the online world I am curious about how they developed the numbers as to activity levels and who does what. Are there really more women online or are women just more vocal? I don't think it is black and white.

 

Don't get me wrong, I love women and I want a world where my daughter believes she can do anything she wants, I just wonder about some of this.

 

And I wouldn't be me if I didn't say that I still think that a woman's biggest enemy is other women. 

 

Other than that I think we are on the same page.

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

I knew a guy just like Charles Arment! Maybe Charles knows him. His name is Burton. He was a partner with a Chinese guy named Sen Ching, who makes antique reproduction English and French furniture. It's really high-end stuff - one of his conference tables in the US Supreme Court. Sen's English is horrible, and being Chinese in the US, decided that he needed an English partner. So he joined forces with Burton. In the first 18 months, Burton-Ching expanded to 15 showrooms across the US. 

 

Funny thing, Sen's wife Stella did all of Burton's work. 

Snowflake07
Snowflake07

¯(ツ)/¯ hehe @justmoritz hɑ̤̥̈̊vє̲̣̥ ά̲̣̥ nɪ̣̝̇cє̲̣̣̣̥ Wє̲̣̥є̲̣̥kღ

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen

@ginidietrich The he's are in trouble because the she's are taking over :)

ideasurge
ideasurge

@ginidietrich Hey there lady! Great tweets as always. How are you?!

JGoldsborough
JGoldsborough

@geoffliving Not too badly. Thanks for asking. Enjoying spending time with the new kiddo! How about you?

lmspreen
lmspreen

 @rustyspeidel  @ginidietrich And COMPLETELY PREDICTABLE. The book I referenced, even though written in 2003, should be required reading in high school sociology classes.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @thejoshuawilner Don't get me wrong...I didn't say men don't make purchase decisions or cook or clean or do the grocery shopping. But Josh, you're in the waaaaaay minority. That's why Nintendo is asking for your advice and counsel. You're not the norm. I don't know the exact number, but I think the women decision makers are in the high 80 percentile. 

 

That said, I do agree women are our own worst enemies. 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@ideasurge I'm great! How the heck are you??

geoffliving
geoffliving

@JGoldsborough Isn't being a dad the greatest?

jackinessity
jackinessity

 @ginidietrich  @lmspreen oooh me too. I need help with this. I had to rebrand myself "Warrior Princess" to survive in the SIlicon Valley tech culture... but you're right, that doesn't work on my fellow ladies. What to do?

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

 @ginidietrich  It is not just about groceries and the daily household items. Big purchases like appliances, cars, electronics. Is it just one person or is the couple involved in making those decisions together. I think it is more complex than just looking at a few items.

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

 @ginidietrich Seriously, Burton-Ching's handmade, hand-polished reproductions will just blow you away. I think they're in Chicago at a showroom called Michael-Cleary, which may not have any floor samples on hand. 

JGoldsborough
JGoldsborough

@geoffliving Yes, it really is awesome. Lovin it!

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

 @ginidietrich  I am not buying into that research. It has been a while, but I have seen research that contradicts this too.

I'll lay odds that you are in the minority and are the exception. Most women are not making the decision on what lawn mower to buy on their own.

I know stories about women who decide what refrigerator or washing machine they want but they still talk about it with their partner before they spend the money.

I wonder whether the researchers checked with the stay at home dads because most of them handle huge amounts of "traditional" female decisions.

 

I am not trying to be adversarial, it just doesn't match up with what I hear, see, know and have read.

 

Something is off about this.

 

 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @thejoshuawilner I agree, but the research shows most decisions (all of the things you mention and more) are made by women. All of those decisions are made by me in my house. I even bought the stinking lawn mower.

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