“I Am More Than My Age & Life Stage”: Using Psychological Profiling to Better Understand Her

Posted by Tinesha Craig Friday, August 23, 2013 10:05

Many brands have a very surface understanding of their female consumers or customers because they haven’t invested significantly in getting to know her beyond her demographic profile and trackable behaviors.

If you’ve ever had a relationship with a woman as a friend, a partner or spouse, a sister or co-worker you might think women are nearly impossible to understand. Some argue that today’s women are far too complex; and, anticipating what she wants, needs and expects is nearly impossible to surmise. Or, at least this must be what it feels like to be a marketer today. One thing is clear, with rapidly changing business needs, shrinking budgets, increased demands and fragmented media channels marketers and researchers must be overwhelmed. Add to this already stressful array the need to decode seemingly complex female consumers or customers and it is clear why so many brands are struggling to find their way.

Yet, ask many marketers who their primary consumer or customer target is and you will likely hear any one of the following responses: Moms; Women; or more specifically Women 35-45 with children 6-12. If you probe deeper some of these marketers will also add a few attitudinal and behavioral points to help provide a more “complete” picture of their target. For example, they might say “gatekeeper moms with children 6-12-year-olds children” or “heavy female category buyers.” But, is this enough insight? Probably not!

Let’s assume we approach marketing like one might approach dating. When you find someone you want to seriously date you:

  • Take time to get to know her beyond what is on the surface because you can’t tell a book by its cover, right?
  • You look for meaningful connections (e.g., values and personality).
  • At a certain point in the courtship your actions and decisions take into account what matters to her, not just what is good for you.
  • You focus on her and she knows she matters to you!

Are today’s marketers good daters? In the context of how effectively they market and sell their products to women only 9 percent of the women think so. Why?  We think there is a lack of real knowledge of women. Marketers are like speed daters – we court for 5 minutes then move on to the next hot consumer.

Many brands have a very surface understanding of their female consumers or customers because they haven’t invested significantly in getting to know her beyond her demographic profile and trackable behaviors. Some might argue that given the complexity of women, unpacking what drives her decision making and her behaviors is nearly impossible. We disagree…because we did it! Insights in Marketing surveyed 1300 American women to understand her at a much deeper, subconscious level and uncover her motivations and their link to her behavior.  From that study, we uncovered that women fall into one of five distinct psychological profiles which significantly impact the way at which marketers should market to women (for more info on our 5 Female Behavioral Insight Profiles (FBI ProfilesTM), click here).

And, as a woman, I was surprised to learn not only how simple understanding women can be when you understand their values and personality; but how obvious brand mistakes are when you view the world through her eyes. Said differently, when you are truly aware of what matters to her psychologically, and what motivates her, there is real clarity about what to sell, how to sell it and most importantly who to sell it to – we call that “strategic clarity.”  This kind of strategic clarity also enables marketers to foucs their communications strategies, develop products that she will willingly buy, and more effectively spend their marketing dollars.

Often relentless focus on short term ROI makes it difficult for companies to invest resources in meaningfully understanding their consumers or customers. A point we find interesting given the enormous potentially wasted resources that are invested in developing, launching and rebranding efforts (consider the highly publicized missteps of brands like BIC for Her, Abercrombie & Fitch, Susan G Komen and JC Penney). To us the clarity you get from knowing who matters and what matters seems like an investment worth making.

For nearly 25 years, Insights in Marketing has helped brands develop impactful products and marketing strategies that effectively appeal to HER. With our new i-on-Women™ division, we now have even greater insight into the psychology of women. We look forward to sharing how we can use these insights to increase your female IQ and improve the impact of your marketing efforts. Click here to learn more about how we can help your team.

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