Apparently one dog year does not equal seven human years. Turns out it depends on the size and breed of the dog. Also, people do not lose heat faster through their heads, and fortune cookies are not a Chinese invention but in fact Japanese-American that was adopted by China. And, alt-facts are in fact, not alternative facts. They are lies, plain and simple.
If you’ve ever wondered about any of these, I hope I’ve done some of the homework for you.
And here’s another myth to get you all shook up.
Having the same genitals as your audience does not make you an expert in selling, catering and marketing to women. (Hold up, I’ll explain why so keep off that soapbox.)
Wait, wait. Shouldn’t they? I mean they’re women, they think like a woman, they shop like a woman, they live their time-poor, multifaceted lives like women – of course, they get women.
This is the logic of most well-intentioned leaders of business – big, small and juggernaut champions of diversity, who think this is what it takes to connect to the female economy – let’s hire women and they’ll do it! Problem solved.
Multiple happy-faced emoji’s out to you [insert your name here] that you enthusiastically employ women, which shows great clear-sightedness that women as active participants, matter to the life force of an organisation.
But hiring a woman is only the first step – like any area of study or target market, one must not just be it to qualify as knowledgeable. It takes so much more than simply being a woman. Or hiring women into the role to create a female lensed business culture.
Secondly, women have all learned from the same marketing and business hymnbooks as their esteemed male colleagues, with some assimilating so much into traditionalist business culture that they take on their own internal bias against women.
Women have grown up with the same principles and the same playbooks as their male peers. Just think about the majority of our go-to must-read management books written by our brotherhood: Sun Tzu, Napoleon Hill, Warren Buffet, Seth Godin, Charles Drucker, Stephen Covey.
It’s all sage advice but it’s all seen through the lens of male constructs. (And I’m not talking ‘taking down the patriarchy’ here, there is no problem with male constructs besides the fact that they hinder new constructs from coming in and giving us Full Visibility of what we need.)
Kotler – god bless his little brown cotton socks, did not write books when women were the world’s most influential nor fastest growing consumer segment. His theory is better suited to segments of the market that wear rollers in their hair, fluffy slippers and whistle Doris Day tunes while using their Hoover Dial-a-matics.
While my peers are busy arguing over the worth of digital, debating what new social channel or tech will ‘disrupt’ next there’s a much, much bigger question mark hanging over the entire business world – will you be ready for the next curve ball, namely the female economy? And will ‘your women’ be ready?
So CEOs, CMOs and managers, here’s a few things to re-think about the ‘value’ of gender:
- ‘Not my department’ – As soon as I mention ‘women’, I often get shunted from business leaders to the HR department or diversity officers but we forget that the female economy is a lucrative market and growth strategy for our business. It ISyour department and it is every department. Would you do the same for an expert on breaking through to the Chinese market?
- ‘Women’s stuff’ – We’re not talking about ‘lady bits’, we’re strictly talking business opportunity so don’t shy away or squirm. The word “gender” sees men running for cover or eyes glazing over – I get it, we have fatigue on the issue. So it’s time to redefine and recognise ‘women’s stuff’ in a new light – as a big boon for your business.
- ‘Female Opportunist’ – Women wonder if they pursue the ‘female opportunity’ it will marginalise their careers or make them the office ‘femini-nazi’, so they don’t. The ‘gender politics’ confuses the issue taking it from a business opportunity that she wants to up-skill in to improve your business, to one that is purely about her personal politics. Let’s not give her more reasons to stay voiceless.
- ‘Men vs Women’ – Finally, it’s important to have women in your team but a team focused on women should be just as diverse and include men. A man who has tapped into his ‘female lens’ makes a far more effective marketer to women, than a woman who has none. Neither gender is better; it’s based on merit and more on capability. As it always should.
It’s time businesses stopped dropping the ball, and got some new ones. We need to bust these myths and treat the topic of ‘women’ with new lenses. Let’s do away with treating her like a token diversity issue reserved for International Women’s Day; she’s a potent force to be reckoned with and potentially your $28 trillion key towards sustained market success.\