March 15, 2019
How marketers can think beyond International Women's Day
Many companies, including Autopilot, recently celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD). Our Instagram feeds were full of inspiring images and witty memes honoring the numerous achievements of the women in our lives. And on LinkedIn, we came across many photos of women in their respective workplaces, collectively beaming with pride.
Advertisers were also getting into the spirit. In Korea, Nike’s IWD ad campaign featuring everyday Korean female athletes and K-Pop stars encouraged women to express themselves and be phenomenal. And we saw Walmart produce a feel-good commercial about female executives who worked their way up the ranks of the company after starting out as interns, trainees, and cashiers (below).
Despite all the buzz that occurs every year on March 8 and despite big pushes for change, women remain sorely underrepresented in marketing campaigns for the rest of the year — and we think that’s unfortunate. In fact, a Google-funded study found that in the 10 years between 2006 and 2016, the percentage of females in commercials increased by a measly 3 percentage points to 36.9%.
We think it’s important for brands to make gender parity in their marketing message a priority all throughout the year, not just on IWD. Here are a couple of tips to ensure that #IWD is celebrated every day of the year:
Data is your friend
At Autopilot, we’re huge fans of data-driven marketing. A data-driven approach allows you to gain a true picture of your audience and uncover important insights — in this case, a data-driven approach can also help you understand why gender representation in ads should be a business priority. And a study conducted by IRI backs this up.
The IRI study analyzed female representation in ads using a benchmark called the Gender Equality Measure (GEM), which scores ads based on how they depicted women. Ads with the highest increase in sales had the highest GEM scores while ads that didn’t perform so well had the lowest GEM scores. As you can see, data provides a powerful tool for your brand to become an industry leader and enhance the customer experience.
Implement an inclusive marketing strategy
Inclusive marketing is about responding proactively to traditional stereotypes in marketing. In the context of marketing campaigns, this means telling your audience that your brand is built for all women while simultaneously acknowledging the fact that every woman is different. You must also ensure that you’re not just featuring a diverse group of women but that you’re portraying them in the right way.
It’s important that you engage and connect with your female audience — and this involves making sure your message is relatable. This means doing away with stereotypes such as a mother mopping the bathroom floor and trying your darn best to avoid depicting every female in your ad campaign as a superhero in a cape. Ultimately, most women simply want to be portrayed as equals and in a realistic way.
Remember: with any new strategy, you should always set goals and measure progress. Marketing automation software like Autopilot can help you do this easily in one spot. Use Autopilot to segment your audience, analyze campaign insights, and track website or email campaign CTRs, allowing you to analyze the impact of your inclusive marketing strategy.