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Venus and mars in marketing

The difference between
man and women in marketing

Venus and mars in marketing

The brains of men are on average 10-12% heavier than those of women. Having a bigger brain does not necessarily make men smarter, but there is a difference in how the brains of both sexes work. Of course it is not a black-and-white-story, there are also individual differences. Some women have more masculine features than others, and vice versa. Yet it is important to consider the overall physical differences in brain structure. Thought processes are controlled differently and external stimuli are processed differently, and it is the same with marketing communications.

The brain (m/f)

university-mitsubishi-men-women For centuries there have been lots of clichés about the behavioural differences between men and women. However, studies of certain brains has proven that behaviour, in subtle ways, actually stems from differences in the structure of the brain itself.

For instance, the inferior parietal lobule, sometimes simply called the “bottom wall lobe”, is bigger in men, especially the lobe in the left hemisphere. This part of the brain is involved in the process of estimating time and distance. It is also used in making mathematical calculations. Well known mathematicians, such as Albert Einstein, often have a very large lower lobe.

Women on the other hand have a larger corpus callosum, Latin for “tough body”. This area forms a connection between the two hemispheres. This means that the exchange of information between the hemispheres in women moves faster. Thinking is associated with feeling.

Women also have a larger deep limbic system. This brain system has several complex functions, but above all it has a special role in the processing of emotions, emotional memory and long-term memory. Also the feeling of belonging in relationships is controlled from here.

The brain and advertising

How do male and female brains look at advertising? It is notable that men look at the components of an ad separately, and look for a hierarchy: text, images and other elements are considered separately. A man thinks progressively and effectively and he dares to take risks, making him more susceptible in general for ads with cutting edge actions.

Women, thanks to the strong relationship between their two hemispheres, look more at the big picture. In addition, they also see all the details, but the sum of all parts must fit. The woman thinks long term and makes less impulsive major purchases.

It is notable that although the language center of the brains in women are often more developed, they are the ones that read less text ads. Imagery is important to them, especially where a particular association and identification plays a major role.

Sex sells

Sexy models and sensual messages. We all know that sex is a great way to sell. But not everyone realizes that this is as strong for a female audience as for male consumers.

The difference lies in how sex looks for both sexes. Men are more primitive and become aroused by beautiful bodies and nudity. Women need a much more subtle approach. They are sensitive to colour, atmosphere, suggestion and connectedness. Eroticism does not literally have to be in the picture: that association is created automatically in the female brain.

The right platform

Besides the right tone and design, it is important to choose the right platform. Due to the differences in brain activity between the sexes, these two groups also look for different online channels.

Quicksprout made an investigation in 2014 into the difference between male and female social media use. Women were found to be active on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. More than men, they use these channels to maintain friendships. Interestingly they also feel this social bond with brand pages, and they exhibit a high degree of brand loyalty. Men on the other hand, were mainly found on Google, YouTube and LinkedIn. They are more concerned with getting information and business contacts.

Marketing emancipation

For a long time, marketing was mainly something of men, for men. Less account was taken of the female audience and there was little awareness about what appealed to women. Fortunately this is gradually changing. There are more female marketers, and advertising is more feminine. And not without reason. It has been found that women are in charge of almost 80% of the household budget, but also are heavily involved in as many as 85% of non-domestic purchases within the family. Even advertising for DIY supplies is increasingly aimed at women. DIY is traditionally seen as a man’s thing, but the woman turns out often to be the one that makes decisions about which materials are purchased for the job. Moreover, their social nature ensures that women influence each other strongly. In a nutshell, if you convince one woman, you have an audience of 10.

When determining your strategy it is invaluable to be aware of the physical differences between a male and female audience. And thereby not to underestimate the importance of the female consumer. Design, message and platform: it’s not just a matter of taste, but also a matter of biology.


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