Monday, February 23, 2009

Marketing by type?

This week I watched a film on DVD called The Women (amazon link). As the opening credits were rolling, my husband said, "are there any men in this movie?" The answer - nope. Not even one. Of course there were references to men in these characters' lives - the cheating husband, the insensitive boss, overwhelmed father, etc. This movie was made for, about, and by... women.

It made me think about targeting. Marketing to women is not a new idea. Chick flicks have been around for a long time. But this film did something interesting. It played out some individual types of women that marketers could differentiate. If I were to define the main characters as consumer groups, here is what you would get:

The powerful professional (Annette Bening):
Extremely affluent, makes her own decisions, consumes high-end products and services, travels frequently, works long hours, connected 24/7 via blackberry, unmarried urban dweller.

The wealthy suburban mom (Meg Ryan):
Married, teen or tweens at home, may or may not work outside the home, active volunteer, socially and environmentally conscious, maintains a LOT of personal relationships, makes purchase decisions for her family.

The struggling boho mom (Debra Messing):
Separated, raising several children, lives in the city, has bohemian/hippie tendencies, creative, chaotic home life, will do anything to save money.

The literary lesbian (Jada Pinkett):
Outspoken, highly educated, looking for a good time, single/dating, travels in a lot of different social circles, technically savvy.

Note: I've excluded the "hot mistress" (Eva Mendes) and other supporting characters from the list because we really don't learn much about them in the story.

From a marketing perspective, it is interesting to note that (in the film) these different types of women are closely connected, although very different. In "real life" we (perhaps erroneously) assume more similarities among social groups of women. Still, it's hard to imagine a product or service that could appeal to all of these archetypes. So all women may be created equal - but they probably don't all shop together. :)