Sunday, September 13, 2009

Marketing to The Different Sides of Her

School is back in full swing, and we’re finally done with back-to-school shopping. Shopping with my 17-year-old, high school senior daughter proved eye-opening, as always. I was buying, but she was definitely calling the shots.

For jeans, she wants very low-rise flares. I want trouser-style dark wash jeans. She likes Pac Sun’s Tilt brand, but they appear to be closing them out. For back to school, they were only available in sizes 0 and 2 (she wears a 6 or 8), and the store was full of Bullhead brand jeans, which she's not into.

We tried Gap. Despite all their new styles and the big promotion around the 1969 brand, my high schooler pronounced Gap jeans still too high-waisted and unflattering. Then, the ultimate epithet: "They're for moms." Sounds like they still haven’t found the key to millennial appeal. On the other hand, I found the perfect pair for me there.

Funniest to me was her assessment of Aeropostale jeans – “they make me look like I have no butt.” I thought that was supposed to be a good thing. Apparently not for millennials.

I always have good luck at Banana Republic and convinced her to give it a try. Despite initial protests and millennial expectations to the contrary, she found her perfect fit jeans there.

The point is that understanding my receptivity to marketing depends hugely on context. Simply looking at where I shop and what I purchase tells a garbled story. Demographics- or purchase-based segmentation is not enough.

Women are often the ‘Chief Purchasing Officer’ for their households. That makes it key for brands to know who she's shopping for to really land their promotions and messages. Moms are not always in Mom-mode. And career women are not always shopping for career wear.

What’s a marketer to do? Talk to her. Find out which “her” is shopping on a particular occasion. Show you understand and respect her. Help her satisfy the different personalities she’s channeling when she's shopping.

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