How to Start Marketing to Men

Last week I wrote a quick article on marketing to women. So you shouldn’t be surprised that I’m going to give equal time to the guys in this article.selling to men

While it’s common to say that women are “ignored” in a variety of segments, I can say that the men have been ignored in just as many traditionally female segments.

Big brands have finally opened up to the possibility that guys like the same things as the “fairer sex” but small business hasn’t quite gotten on board with all that. I mean, have you seen the health and beauty sections of the grocery store lately?  And what about the TV advertising for skin care, deodorant and hair care products that are squarely aimed at the guys?  In fact, if you think about the products and services that you’re selling — YES — even you B2B folks, you’ll find that with a little messaging tweak, you could open up a whole world of opportunities with MEN.

Understand how your “male” customer thinks and feels

So the first of these three things that we need to do is understand how a man thinks and feels. The reason we have stereotypes is because they are often very true.

First, let’s get one thing straight.  EVERY purchase decision is an emotional decision.  It’s just that men relate differently to their emotions. They aren’t as easily swayed by their emotions and they tend to internalize their emotions.  Men are more visual and while it appears (from the outside) that they are feature focused, there are subtle tweaks in your messaging that can really make a difference.

Check out this commercial for Ford Trucks with the Dennis Leary voice over –


Notice how the choice of Dennis Leary (a no-nonesense, plain talking, celebrity recently known for playing an NYPD firefighter on the acclaimed TV series “Rescue Me”)  I mean if there were any more male-triggering symbols in just the voice over, the screen would explode.

Then pay attention to the actual script copy — notice how they’ve matched visuals to features and tightly knit it inside of a lot of emotional triggers.  From the CONTENT, you think it’s about feature, but the context is pure HERO, get it done kinda dude.

You don’t get results like this from just throwing something up on the tube — you get it by doing the work it takes to get there.

Do your research

Next thing you want to do is conduct surveys. Don’t believe everything that you hear and read. Find out for yourself. If you have free space on your web site, assuming you have one, place a survey box on it with some basic questions related to your product. If you’re an offline business, build a mailing list and send out questionnaires. Get as much data as you can. It’s critical to your success.

For example, let’s say you’re selling golf clubs. Golf is a typical thing that a man does in his free time, though women are into it as well. But both have different expectations out of the golfing experience (refer back to how men and woman feel differently) unless of course they’re playing on a pro level.

Ask the prospect what they want most out of a golf club. Is it the feel? Is it how far they can drive the ball over all else? How important is price? Are they more inclined to trust a brand name over a no name brand? And so on.

You can get more information out of surveys then you can by simply trying to guess. Nothing beats going directly to the horse’s mouth for the answer.

Watch the big brands

Finally, and this is so easy to do, is to actually look and see what the competition itself is doing. There is an old rule of thumb in marketing. Your competition will tell you all you need to know about your target market by the way THEY approach that market. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. The successful companies in your niche have already done the leg work. Look to see what the best selling products are in your niche. Then analyze the approach. This is an excellent exercise in improving your own marketing skills as you might see tactics that you might have never thought of before such as using videos or Facebook ads to reach your target market.

What you need to get, more than anything, out of this article is that men and women are indeed different and you can’t market to them the same way. Men, for the most part, are driven by power, money and sex and not necessarily in that order. They need to be in control of their situation at all time. They do not like feeling vulnerable and become very uncomfortable when they are. Don’t try to sweet talk him with how he’ll fall in love with his new Porsche. Just tell him how fast it’ll go and how all the women will be climbing all over him.

In other words, get to the point. What’s in it for him?

Do that, understand his feelings and scope out the competition and you’ll be more than on your way to marketing to a man in a, whether we like it or not, man’s world.
photo credit: PatLoika via photopin cc