How not to market to women
By Orsi Parkanyi
Yesterday, I attended an invite only lunch event exclusively for women fully sponsored by an insurance company (I do not wish to name). Sydney centre location, gorgeous venue, friendly hospitality, drinks, wine, amazing food and divine dessert! A room filled with over 250 gorgeous, young, powerful business women! The highlight of the event was the 1 hour keynote talk given by one of Australia’s most amazing, most inspirational and high profile female entrepreneurs Mia Freedman, and a great goodie bag including her latest book, Mia Culpa.
Doing some mental math based on the little event management experience I have, the costs of the lunch would have been quite substantial! Talking serious, tens of thousands of dollars! The company organising the event must have thought that they would get return on their investment, which made sense, given that the topic was fantastic! Raising awareness of the unfortunate fact that many women are not on top of their finances, and are in fact left in a difficult position after the unexpected happens. Insurance policy, or rather the lack of it, is an interesting topic we don’t necessary talk about in a setting like this, and I looked forward to learning more about it.
Unfortunately, this particular company that really had the opportunity to take advantage of their promotion and make a huge profit out of the event, failed badly. I looked around during the dry, boring, long, meaningless power point presentation sales pitch given by a man after the uplifting Mia-speech, I saw no one who was connected. He was nice, competent, his intentions were obviously good, but just could not sell it to the women present, in that space, at that particular point in time.
To be honest, the experience left me in shock for the rest of the day. I’m certainly not the biggest expert on marketing, but just can’t help to wonder: How? I mean, HOW is it possible to disregard your audience and target market this much if you are in business? How can somebody spend so much money (that could basically feed a whole town for a week elsewhere) and not think the strategy through?
I’d like to acknowledge first, that the company did an amazing job with the event and guest speaker, everyone had a really good time. However, it is a shame they did not do a better job with their sales pitch. I surveyed some of the ladies after the event, and as a result, below, I collected some of the biggest mistakes they made, and some important facts about women they overlooked.
Mistake No1: If you are familiar with Mia and her blog Mamamia, you can imagine that her 1 hour talk was about female problems highlighting the many differences women and men have and emphasizing the strengths and power and beauty of women. In that setting, amongs the energy of 250 women and a hit, emotional keynote speech by Mia, let’s be honest, what man could possible have been able to stand up to the challenge to be credible? Men just did not stand a chance there! Choosing a woman with exceptional communication skills would have been a much wiser choice in establishing trust and connection with the brand and keeping the energy high after Mia’s amazing talk.
Mistake No2: The guy kept giving examples about women in a family setting. If he’d done some research on his target market, he would have come across with the statistics that about 60-70% of the women present were single, separated or divorced. The assumption, that the majority of female business owners who have the time to lunch with their friends on a Thursday are all married and have kids is just far from reality. Moreover, emphasizing over and over again that insurance policy gives security to our spouses and children to women who don’t have a family, is probably not the right selling point and marketing strategy.
Mistake No3: The guy mentioned at the beginning of his speech that one problem is that the typical age women start taking up insurance policies is 49. Following on from this, he decided to invite a woman on stage at the age of 49 to share her personal experiences with the audience in an interview format. What was the point of that move? If you want women to take up policies at an earlier age, why don’t you ask someone young to share why they decided to it?
Mistake No4: Impress us! Take the time to research innovative and new technologies and use them. An idea: use Prezi instead of Powerpoint. If you want to impress – and you should! Especially given having 250 potential female customers in the room! – find something different and exciting to capture attention.
Mistake No5: Probably the biggest mistake of all! There was no official Twitter hashtag # for the event! If you know a little bit about women in business, you’d know that listening Mia speak would make every single one of us share her wisdom on Twitter! What an amazing opportunity you guys have missed out on that one!