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Marketing Is Feminine; Sales Is Guy Stuff

You all know about the theories behind John Gray's best-selling book: “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.” Men and women have decidedly different ways of viewing the world.

Fran Lytle, a brilliant brand planner at G&M Advertising, Short Hills, NJ, runs a seminar she calls Marketing to Women, in which she studies this phenomena in detail. Fran believes to effectively sell to those of the fairer sex, you need to make an emotional connection … win her over by telling her a story that she can relate to.

The difference between the ways the sexes think has been imprinted on our subconscious since pre-historic times.

Men learned to compare. As hunters, men developed cognitive reasoning and comparison skills. This helped them make sound judgments out in the field — where it was all about winning or losing:

“That tiger and I both have eyes on the woolly mammoth. Should I kill the tiger and then also the mammoth or shall I take a pass? But weak men are repulsive, and if the others see me flee, they might look upon me as a weak sissy. Ayheehahhh! Here I go to kill the tiger!”

Men who showed good skills were honored and looked up to.

“See how Hugar killed that tiger? And the mammoth, too? It was amazing. Now we have two meats to bring back to the tribe. Hugar is a hero. He is to be honored.”

Or, if the outcome wasn’t so good …

“Eugene was stupid. That weakling thought he could fight a tiger. Now tigers think that people are enemies and are weak. He is forever to be cursed!”

Women learned to connect. The ladies took care of things back at the camp. There was a lot to do: raising the kids, cleaning, getting grains and berries, cooking and trying to persuade their husbands to stop trying so hard to be so damn macho.

Women learned ways to get along. They found it made more sense to share responsibilities than to compete.

At the watering hole, time went faster and it was more fun chatting, sharing stories and cave-keeping tips with the other gals than suffering all by yourself. It wasn’t about who was the best washer — it was about getting things done with less effort.

Group success was valued over the glorification of any one individual.

We haven’t come all that far, have we?

For the most part, a man still prides himself on learning the mechanics of a golf swing and getting a better score, or driving the ball farther than the others in his foursome. A woman would rather do lunch with the girls, chat it up at the beauty parlor or get caught up in a good story she can project herself into.

Sales is masculine. Marketing is feminine. If we extend these “men compare, women cooperate” ideas to commerce, we might say that selling — “Buy this, because it's not that” — is a masculine sort of notion. When selling, we ask customers to apply the manly skills of cognitive reasoning to arrive at the best choice.

Marketing, on the other hand — being patient … and caring … and understanding … and compassionate … and making yourself attractive by understanding the prospect’s needs and looking for an emotional connection — might be looked at as a feminine sort of idea.

But all is not black and white (or all boy or girl) when it comes to building a good brand.

Great brands are a healthy integration of both genders. I’m going to go out on a limb to suggest that the healthiest, most attractive specimens of any species possess an integration of both feminine and masculine qualities; a combination of emotional sensitivity and solid, cognitive reasoning — all wrapped up in a package that is graceful and soft, yet powerful and strong.

And I’ll also go so far as to suggest that a strong brand needs to be all of those things, too.

It must appeal to his feminine side with a story that's attractive and emotionally compelling, and to her masculinity by having benefits that are cognitively better than everyone else’s. Package your product with quality and beauty — and deliver unmatched performance.

Integrate all of these qualities and you'll not only become a hit with those on the Earth — but the people on Mars and Venus as well.

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